Tellico Adventure Trail, +SM500+, and TAT_alt

Discussion in 'Southeast, The Lair of the Dragon - The Blue Ridge' started by Baggi'tard, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,197
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    The Farmhouse Inn presents the Tellico Adventure Trail. Four main tracks that total 660 miles and two alternate tracks that total 330 miles. Of course the vast majority are gravel roads, but no way to not mix in a few hot backroads and a few miles of highway as needed. Due to road closures in Dec 2015, I revised several of the loops. The named loops are big bike friendly (the bike shouldn't be the issue anyway), but you should at least have some dual sport tires, not street.

    • Apalachia is 172 miles. This track takes in many of the interesting sites associated with Apalachia Dam, Apalachia Powerhouse, the penstock, and historic McFarland work camp ruins.
    • BlackBear and BlackBearAlternate are 170 miles. You might have great luck seeing bears in either the Cohutta Wilderness in Georgia or Big Frog Wilderness in Tennessee. See current status of Black Bear below.
    • DoublecampBald is 150 miles. Includes some seasonally open (fall hunting) roads north of the Cherohala Skyway, the Doublecamp loop, and Bald River areas. Doublecamp Bald_1 is an alternate when the seasonal roads are closed.
    • Snowbird Tears is 170 miles. Includes several high balds, the Trail of Tears, and the Snowbird Wilderness
    • JoeBrownDog is also about 170 miles and was an original track that includes some of Snowbird and Doublecamp prior to Tatham Gap road re-opening.
    • Trail 81 and Trail 82 (single track moto trails) are also included.
    • In SnowbirdTears, seasonal closures in NC include Joyce Kilmer and Tatham Gap; they are open from 4/1 to 12/31.
    • In DoublecampBald seasonal closures in TN include the section that runs north of Rafter Rd to Citico Creek (Miller Ridge); that area is only open 10/1 to 12/18. Use Doublecamp_1 during other times.
    I've completed a revision to the popular Smoky Mountain 500 track done by @andy29847. The +Smoky Mountain 500+ (+SM500+). Those of you that know ammo, know that +p+ is the hottest! This track is more small and medium dual sport friendly than Andy's version, and takes in a few things I know to be a bit rowdier, and less highway. If you like a more technical challenge, get your +SM500+ track here! I've also added an additional track between Iron Horse and Tellico Plains, the Blue Ribbon track, it takes in the MOST technical riding there is near here. And I've added a day ride loop centered around Suches (or one of the other nearby campgrounds), called the Ranger Loop. See posts on about page 31+ for more info.

    As detailed below the gpskevin TAT track is routed into and through the SMNP, Cades Cove, and the closed road Parsons Branch. If you want to avoid all this miserable traffic, take this Maggie Valley to Andrews alternate track.


    Road Closures (as of 28 July 2017)

    FR311 is still closed south of Buck Bald down to the Hiwasee River (can take Trail 82). Slide repair will take a while, no estimate from FS. Part of the loop through the Cohutta Wilderness area in N. Georgia are still closed (FR64). Use
    BlackBearAlternate track.

    You can PM or post questions here, you can also call the Farmhouse Inn at 423-253-3123. Of course I would love for you to stay with us, but if not, we have many options in Tellico Plains. Even if you don't stay here stop by and sign the Tellico Adventure Trail book, grab a water, sit on the porch and take a break, or buy a T-shirt. We also have craft beer for sale! Stop by after your ride and we can chat by the fire.

    If you don't want to figure out where to ride, or don't like GPS technology, or just like to follow the leader, then we offer the Adventure Package at the Farmhouse Inn. For an additional daily fee per rider, you get lunch, dinner, and two local craft beers. Plus I'll take you on any type of riding you want, paved, on-Trail, or off-Trail. Call or PM for more info.

    PROBLEM:
    So, some of you know I pulled the tracks last year after it was evident some of the "pay to play" tracks had been revised on the free stuff that either myself or Andy (SM500 and SM1000 tracks) have put out. That's "aggravating" to put it mildly. Well you know what's even more aggravating? Having fellow adventure riders have a miserable experience because of road closures or just horrible routing provided by guys that don't seem to either really know or care.
    • For instance that uh, infamous "gps" cross country track provider sends bikes into SMNP and the miserable dead-end road loop known as Cades Cove to ride Parsons Branch, which has been closed for over a year now. That track also follows the old Trans Am Trail, which skips about 95% of the awesome available riding in this area...
    • Seems the Trans Am Trail provider also doesn't feel the need to keep up with the road closures along it's track. So several times this year I helped fellow riders get around road closures that lasted a few months near here, and in N GA. These are published road closures, not just some temporary downed trees, etc.
    SOLUTION:
    In the spirit of the ADV community, provide the tracks and updated information to maximize the riding experience. I already try to keep up with information in my direct area, but I'm going to go back to providing the tracks to people that ask. If you want to help support this effort with feedback, road/trail suggestions, buying a t-shirt, sending me a few bucks in paypal, joining a trail organization, attending public access planning meetings, or having a beer together then great. If you just want the tracks then that's OK too. Why? Read about the Trans Euro Trail and see what they've accomplished and are providing for free, pretty impressive and inspiring.

    I'm really hoping people will help me add on and expand the area the tracks cover. I already know some ideas for going further east and providing some MUCH better routing for those on the "gps" route from the NC shore. The "other" TAT now doesn't go any further east than Andrews, I can improve that too. I also have about 2600 miles of stuffed mapped out within TN and I'm thinking about putting that out (much of it needs proofing, so I need your help).

    So, if you want the tracks, please contact me.

    The current Tellico Adventure Trail (revision 7) overview:

    TellicoADVTrail_R7.jpg

    and +SM500+ overview:

    +sm500+.jpg

    and Maggie Valley to Andrews alternate to gpskevin TAT:

    Maggie_Andrews.jpg
    #1
  2. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,197
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    BlackBear and BlackBearAlternate; going CCW from Tellico Plains, starts off with some good fun backroads to south of Reliance, then up to Benton Mountain and Oswald Dome, and Chilhowee Mountain overlooks of the Ocoee River. The entire loop south of 64/74 through Big Frog Wilderness (TN) and Cohutta Wilderness (GA) has NO gas stops. You may want/need to fill up at a gas station or two along 64 before turning south unless you have a supertanker.

    Continuing east along US64/74 to Ducktown you can see the Olympic whitewater venue, maybe even see a few boaters if the water is running. Ducktown has plenty of gas. Then back north through Isabella (gorgeous name, sad sad little "town") and Farner. Check out the Apalachia Dam in Farner, and the huge pipe that transmits water to the power station. On Apalachia track you can check out the power house, penstock, and McFarland ruins.
    #2
  3. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    Apalachia; warmup on a few backroads on the way to Starr Mountain (get bonus miles if you can find any White Cliffs resort hotel ruins). Then we go back west north of the Hiwassee on the way down through Farner on the way to some awesome examples of NC backroads. Some gravel, some two-track, some paved, all a lot of fun around the Candy Mtn area. NC just has a style of backroad that different than TN and they are really fun.

    Then we'll head back west through the area between Hiwasee and Ocoee Rivers. Ride Lost Creek, McFarland, Kimsey Hwy, Smith Mtn road, etc. You can ride Trail 81 off this loop. Along McFarland road you can stop and see the McFarland "Aztec" ruins of a small construction village from when they were making the tunnel for the Apalachia penstock. The cleanout tunnel is still there, as an access point to the penstock. Ride down and see the powerhouse. Ride down another spur road and see the penstock daylight across Turkey Creek. Smith Mtn road is probably the most technical in this area, being rocky, with small ledges and less maintained or traveled than the others. You can also catch Trail 82 at the TN/NC border on the way north to Coker Creek. Finish up the day on the infamous Witt Road. Or run the opposite direction and start your day on Witt Road. :evil

    Gas shouldn't be too much of a problem. Available in Reliance, Greasy Creek, along Hwy 68 and I think in NC. Might have to run a couple miles to nearest town.
    #3
  4. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    SnowbirdTears runs to Robinsville and Andrews North Carolina. We start off running through Rafter on the way past Bald River falls. Check out the view from Whiggs Meadow (close to 5000 feet) on the TN/NC line before continuing on to the Little Snowbird area. Gas is available at Thunder Mountain on the Skyway, and Andrews.
    #4
  5. wawarides

    wawarides where's Laura0107?

    Joined:
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    Location:
    SC Midlands
    That was a huge amount of work, and most appreciated! :clap I've ridden numerous times in the Tellico Plains and Murphy areas but the Cohutta Wilderness is still on my bucket list. Not for much longer, though. Thanks again!
    #5
  6. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    A few picture highlights along BlackBear

    Gas in Reliance TN
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    Chilhowee Mtn, Ocoee River overlook (looking toward Big Frog and Cohutta Wilderness')
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    Views from Cohutta and Big Frog Wilderness
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    Buck Bald
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    Trail 82
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    #6
    slime likes this.
  7. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,197
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    Apalachia Power Station construction ruins along McFarland Road

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    Apalachia power station (from the north side, you'll get there from the south)
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    NC on the way back, northeast of Farner.
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    And of course finishing up on Witt Road

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    #7
    slime likes this.
  8. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    North River Road
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    Whiggs Meadow
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    Action on the Tellico River.
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    #8
    slime likes this.
  9. Cogswell

    Cogswell Spudly Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Oddometer:
    7,587
    Location:
    Riding with my pal Richard Cranium
    Nice job putting this together. :clap

    I have ridden a lot of it, but looks like I have more exploring to do now.


    Mike
    #9
  10. Tobes2102

    Tobes2102 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2014
    Oddometer:
    168
    Location:
    Knoxvegas
    Great job Bagg!! I rode Witt/fingerboard/lost creek/McFarland to Ditney mtn road to Kimsey Saturday. Ditney is really cool...really no maintenance on it so very little gravel. You can haul ass. I've stuck to the fsr's mostly because I am by myself on a 990 adventure. I would like to do the trail 81 and 82 with it. Whatya think? What's the ride on 81 and 82 like?? I would love to come up and stay at the farm house and entice you with a case of beer for a ride.
    #10
  11. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
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    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    F-in A Bubba! I work/ride for beer. However, my beer tastes tend toward the extreme, so a case might cost you more than $100. However a few choice bombers or 750ml Belgians and I'm good! I ride by myself a lot too so don't venture onto the extreme off-FR stuff much. I rode Trail82 from Hwy 64 to Buck Bald recently and it was fine tho. there's another double track between N River Road and the Skyway I'd like to try, but gotta be with somebody.

    Smith Mtn Road is maybe even less maintained and used than Ditney, so it's fun too.
    #11
  12. Tobes2102

    Tobes2102 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Knoxvegas
    PM me, I live near the casual pint and can get some decent stuff and I am serious. I am pretty much good to ride this week through Sunday. Basically anyday of the week is good. Just give me a few days notice and I will be there. BTW...my wife told me yesterday I was awesome ....SO..just saying. Let me know, I'll pull chalks and be on the way.

    #12
  13. philp38

    philp38 Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2006
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    3,269
    Location:
    Decatur TN
    A friend of mine did some research on this area. This used to be the old McFarland concrete mixing plant.
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    #13
    slime, ModalGuy, Zooka and 1 other person like this.
  14. Tobes2102

    Tobes2102 Been here awhile

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    Pretty amazing that nature has done such a good job reclaiming. Although I have to doubt the plant we see near McFarland was that large or active. BUT....who knows??
    #14
  15. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
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    Location:
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    Tobes2102 and I wanted to check out some of the single track. We went for Trail 81. DON'T GO! Right now the trail is blocked in four places with fallen trees. one was fairly easy to get around, the other three not as much. Three over or around, and one under. The first tree we went over we lost control of his Husky 650 on the skid plate and it managed to slide down the tree a foot or two (which is a LOT on the steep slope) before we finally managed to drag it back up and get it over. Very soft loamy soil on this trail too. Not even a handlebar width under this tree, but we managed to shimmy them under. There is really not very many places to turn around and bail out of this trail either. Seems most of the blockages were toward the north end (one actually several hundred feet up the trail from McFarland Road is all. We rode from south to north and got a long way in before running across the trees. Thinking I might go back with chain saw and do some trail cleaning.

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    #15
  16. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sarasota, FL / Sylva, NC
    Same thing happened to me about 5-6 years ago. I had ridden 82 numerous times, no sweat. I brought a couple newer riders from Florida up for some dual sport riding and we spent a day over around TP. We ran 82 and a bunch of the gravel, then decided to do 81 late in the afternoon. From south to north, and no one had been down it since the last storm. Big mistake. Some trees we were able to get the bikes over, but towards the north end we into a big tree across the trail at the bottom of a long downhill. All 3 of us slid into it, no stopping by the time we saw it. We took all our gear off and drug the bikes underneath, then suited up and got a little ways down the trail and came to a bigger tree down. We had to dig out some of the bank to get the bikes underneath. I bet that one tree took over an hour. If there had been a way to turn around we would have done it. Soaking wet with sweat, we geared back up and within 10 minutes ran into the 3rd downed tree. Same process all over. Didn't come out on gravel at the north end until after dark, and didnt get back to TP until very late. The Tellico Cafe was still open so we had a hot dinner, I had a dry t-shirt to wear and used my Frog Togg for a windbreaker for the trip back cross the Cherohala (we had run River Rd over tht morning). It was cold and foggy and basically they just followed my taillight across. Got back to my home in Sylva after 2 AM. I spoke with Mike and Tom afterwards and I heard they did a cleanup day after that.

    I hadnt wanted to go back to 81 since then. But I was over there for MMM in March, and started getting the itch again. But that was a very wet weekend so I stuck with gravel. I had never thought about spending the night over in the TP area and making a 2-3 day trip out of it. I've always wanted to explore the Cohutta Wilderness. I ride alone most of the time, so have been hesitant to get too far into something I can't get out of LOL. That day on 81 I would have probably been walking out if I had been solo. Thanks for the routes, maybe I can get back up here next month :D
    #16
  17. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

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    Location:
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    Had a great turnout of local (E TN) ADV riders today. We met at the bakery, about half trailered and parked at the Farmhouse. Nine of us headed out for a few hours in the Cherokee National Forest.

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    #17
  18. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

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    We are hosting our second around the world traveller today. Nick is English and headed across the US on the Trans America Trail (the "other" TAT, :rofl) and then down to Brazil for the Dakar Rally. His bike has already covered much of Europe and northern Africa. This is awesome adventure bike porn, KTM 690 Enduro R fitted with all sorts of Rally Raid and Adventure Spec equipment...

    Nick's ride report is here..I'm subscribed !
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1001057

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    #18
  19. Tobes2102

    Tobes2102 Been here awhile

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    Knoxvegas
    Sweet ride
    #19
  20. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

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    Posted a revision 1 file on the first post. There were some minor errors here in town where the streets don't really go through and connect anymore (new highways cut them off). Other than that... :freaky
    #20