Cherokee National Forest

The Ocoee/Tellico district of the Cherokee National Forest is located in Polk and Monroe Counties, east and northeast of Chattanooga in the Appalachian Mountains. Hiking, biking, paddling, running, camping, horseback riding, and hunting are all popular activities in the area.

The Tanasi trail system provides the intermediate to expert level mountain biker over 35 miles of single-track trail to explore on two wheels near the Ocoee Whitewater Center. There’s an additional 20 miles of trail at the Chilhowee Recreation area for both hikers and bikers to explore. Note, there is a $3 day-use parking fee at both areas.

Overnight accommodations are provided at more than 30 developed campgrounds in the Cherokee National Forest. Visitors can stay at developed campgrounds with large, level campsites, tables, fire rings, electricity, and bathhouses or primitive campgrounds with minimal site amenities. Most campgrounds are on a first-come, first-served basis. However, reservation services are now available for several popular campgrounds in the Cherokee National Forest including Parksville Lake Campground, Indian Boundary, and Chilhowee Recreation Area, along with others. Reservations can be made at or by calling (877) 444-6777.

Over 600 miles of non-motorized trails traverse Cherokee National Forest including nearly 150 miles the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.)  Take a day hike or hike several days on the national forest trails system. 

Horseback Riding
The Little Citco Horse Trail system offers more than 15 miles of backcountry trails in the Citico Creek Wilderness section of the Cherokee National Forest. The Trailhead is located at the Young Branch Campground, near Vonore, Tennessee, about 2 hours northeast of Chattanooga. The campground accommodates up to 25 horses and 35 people in 7 campsites. Sites can be reserved.

Covering a combined 298,456 acres, the South Cherokee Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Region III is open for hunting small and large game, including wild hog, black bear, whitetail deer, turkey, and grouse. All hunting areas are managed in cooperation with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and all hunters are subject to TWRA rules and regulations.

Cherokee National Forest is home to both the Hiwassee and Ocoee rivers. Each has diverse paddling options like whitewater rafting, kayaking, and playboating on moderate to difficult rapids as well as flatwater sections and lakes suitable for calm kayaking, canoeing, tubing, and paddleboarding.






Hours and Cost

Open Daily

Cost: Free, unless posted otherwise. Some areas require a $3 day-use fee, which can be purchased on-site with cash or in advance online. Camping fees vary based on location and length of stay.

Pet Friendly

Yes, on a leash


Cherokee National Forest—Tellico Ranger District

250 Ranger Station Rd.
Tellico Plains, TN 37385

Cherokee National Forest—Ocoee Ranger District

3171 Highway 64
Benton, TN 37307


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