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The Toad 12-11-2012 01:11 PM

Tellico Plains - Redux
DISCLAIMER - This is my first "not real time" RR. I was looking thru some pics and got reminded of some great riding we (wife and I) did in Tennessee back in October (8 weeks ago). What follows is more of a recap in words and pics.:D

It had been almost a year to the day since I first traveled down to Tellico Plains to explore some of the back roads in the area. I was alone that first time as my usual riding partner was busy tending to a new rider in training

(Nearly) needless to say the riding there was GREAT. So much so that I vowed to return this year.

This time around I would be joined by Kris and we would spend 3 days re-visiting some routes as well as discovering some new GREAT back roads.

Day one began with giving the bikes a good once over, chains, tires, nuts and bolts. Since Kris hasnt been on two wheels much since baby came along I plotted out a "not so challenging" route for her introduction to riding in the Cherokee National Forest. This would lead us into North Carolina by way of the Joe Brown Highway. The name may be a little misleading. This particular "highway" is no more than a dirt and gravel route cutting its way into the Cherokee National Forest.

<img src="" alt="Lodge" />
Getting ready to head out for Day 1

Heading south on Joe Brown we came to Trail 82 (single track), a mutli use trail that heads thru the forest and empties out on the Hwy 68 a few miles in. It wasnt on the route, but I couldnt resist the urge to investigate it a little.

<img src="" alt="82" />
Heading up to the to Trail 82
<img src="" alt="joe brown" />
A little further down Joe Brown we crossed into North Carolina
<img src="" alt="Buck" />
A top Buck Bald (former location of a fire watch tower)

From Buck Bald we headed back to Tellico. We encountered almost no traffic along the route, sans a few bear hunters.

The following morning we headed out River Rd, a paved 2 lane blacktop that traces the Tellico River past Bald River Falls. It is a great paved route that is as picturesque as any place imaginable. I said it before and I will say it again, its like a ride not even Walt Disney could have imagined.

<img src="" alt="Bald River Falls" />
Bald River Falls
<img src="" alt="River Road" />
River Rd

We looped around on North River Rd and Sycamore trail and then west on Forest Service Road 126 and deep into the mountains towards Wauchessi Lookout Tower that sits atop, you guessed it... Wauchessi Mountain. The riding was superb, a great mix of smooth twisty pavement and not so smooth but equally twisty dirt. There were a few more technical challenges today, not the least of were the ride up and then down from the lookout tower. Both really require all appendages and brain to be fully in sync. For me anyway, being "in the moment" is what its all about. No time for thoughts of anything other than: brake, clutch, throttle, clutch, edge of cliff, clutch, blind switchback, brake, throttle.. well you get the idea.

<img src="" alt="FSR126" />
Fosrest Service Rd 126

<img src="" alt="Lookout" />
Kris points to Lookout tower (note is way, way out there)

<img src="" alt="up and away" />
Kris climbs towards Wauchessi

<img src="" alt="tower" />
Kris point to lookout tower (its much closer now)

<img src="" alt="behind" />
The road behind

We left Wuachessi and headed back towards home base. We again today encountered almost no traffic (aside from Bald River Falls). Again only a few bear hunters, but no bear.

The following day we took the short ride down Hwy 68 to the infamous Witt Rd. Never heard of it? Well, 4 or 5 water crossings (depending on where you start counting), countless switchbacks, endless ruts and large rocks that demand your attention all under a canopy of forest so dense you are given the sense that the world is far, far, far away (which it may as well be). In other words, one of the BEST ROADS EVER!

The water was a bit deeper this time than last. With the last crossing causing great pause as we speculated whether or not it was better to turn and run, or stay and fight. We opted to fight. The water was really only a secondary concern on the last crossing. This is the tricky one. Long, deep rock shelves parallel to travel are at the bottom. Getting a front tire caught up in one would not be fun. The water just about came over both of our boots as we made the crossing one at a time.

From there we continued on Witt towards Hwy 68 and Kimsey Mountain Hwy. Kimsey is another great gravely road that climbs and twists into the mountains. We again crossed into North Carolina and turned back towards Tellico. We rode the last stretch out on Hwy 68, a pristine two lane that has more twists than a slinky.

<img src="" alt="Witt rd" />
This is a puddle

<img src="" alt="witt rd" />
This is not a puddle

<img src="" alt="Kimsey" />
Kimsey Mountain Hwy

3 great days of dual sport riding. Two thumbs, wait make it four thumbs up :thumb:thumb:thumb:thumb


fastdirt505 12-11-2012 03:22 PM

Looks like some great riding up there. I would love to get my woman on a DS, but we'd probably get irritated and leave each other in the forest. Good for you though. That might be a destination for a 3 dayer coming from GA. I too would have to hit that single track trail. It looks so inviting.

aldntn 12-11-2012 03:28 PM

Some of my favorites!
Although I avoid water on my WeeStrom. Otherwise, anything called a road. I rode the Kimsey Highway this fall after google mapping the area. I had never heard of it before that:

Kimsey Highway

Great riding. Many great rides in this area.


DestinationUnknown 12-11-2012 04:04 PM

NIce RR. I love the area around Tellico Plains and to the east. I've only done pavement riding in the area, no offroad riding, Looks like a blast. Love to try it eventually.

Mtn Man 12-11-2012 04:51 PM

Welcome to the garden spot of the world! We have some great riding and good folks, come back often. :clap

bomose 12-11-2012 05:17 PM

I love riding that area. Thanks for the article aldntn.

Fireman1000 12-12-2012 09:00 AM

Well, I've been riding there for 10 years, and you've mentioned some new roads I haven't explored yet. Thanks. BTW, where did you stay?

The Toad 12-13-2012 11:08 AM


Originally Posted by Fireman1000 (Post 20233126)
Well, I've been riding there for 10 years, and you've mentioned some new roads I haven't explored yet. Thanks. BTW, where did you stay?

We stayed at the "Lodge at Tellico".

Walt and his wife run the place and its really a haven for those on two wheels.

If you find yourself looking for a place to stay in Tellico, I would highly recommend it. Walt knows all the back roads and can help you plot a few great routes.

Other roads well worth mentioning:

Old Furnace

You can use Google maps, but for some reason MapQuest seems to be a bit more up to date or accurate anyway. I found that out last year when I was putting together an article for RoadRunner magazine about riding in the area. Dont know if that holds true for everywhere? But MapQuest is best for Tellico area.


Mtn Man 12-14-2012 08:11 AM

If you go to Tellico you have to visit Mike at Tellico Outfitters, he can mark a map for you and provide rides that will keep you busy for several days.

By the way, the bride and I enjoy Buck Bald so much that was where we got married! :lol3 In the middle of the service two "Good 'ol boys" came looking for their coon hound ... makes for a good story now but it was a little problematic when it happened. Thirty folks on top of the mountain having a quite private type wedding and two fellows blowing whistles, yelling for Bo ... "damnit Bo get your ass up here" :rofl

Fireman1000 12-16-2012 08:29 AM


Originally Posted by The Toad (Post 20241547)
We stayed at the "Lodge at Tellico".

I was putting together an article for RoadRunner magazine about riding in the area.

I subscribe to RoadRunner, and I remember reading that article. I remember thinking I need to go explore more of these roads.

Cliff-77 12-16-2012 03:53 PM

Tellico area
I ride those roads regularly myself,can't seem to get tired of it,have a second home close to Murphy,NC.Used to come over to Tenn.byway of Davis Crk Rd,closed now for const.Tellico OHV area was a fun place to ride till that got closed.

Kenbike 12-20-2012 02:06 AM

If you get into Tellico, make sure you stop at Tellico Grains, it is one of the best bakery's I have ever visited. I usually get breakfast and lunch to go they head into the back country. That is a great area and stay at Walt's.

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