Appalachian Trail Community: Unicoi County, Tennessee

Unicoi County, with Erwin being the county seat, has multiple recreational, historical and cultural significances. The name itself, Unicoi, is derived from the Cherokee word meaning fog-like, and if you have hiked through the dank, red spruce forest on Unaka Mountain, you have experienced first hand why it was given. Approximately 50% of Unicoi County is made up of Cherokee National Forest lands, through which the Appalachian Trail and the wild Nolichucky River run and where the newly acquired and protected Rocky Fork Tract sits. The A.T. passes many notable and scenic spots through its 288 miles in Tennessee; in Unicoi, places like Big and Little Balds, the Nolichucky River Gorge, Beauty Spot and Unaka Mountain all hold special places in hikers’ hearts.

The ATC works with a Unicoi County Design Team to process their application for designation as an Appalachian Trail Community, as well as host community focused workshops such as Balancing Nature and Commerce and an Entrepreneurs Training.  These workshops provided significant movement in Unicoi County asset mapping and action planning in support of the county’s recreational treasures and promoting a sustainable tourism economy as a gateway to the Cherokee National Forest and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.


Hiking Trails of Unicoi County