Nestled about a half hour west of Knoxville along the banks of the Tellico Reservoir, this scenic trail system skirts the eastern shoreline of Tellico Lake and features nine interconnected trails that stretch more than 30 miles. The trail system was designed as a joint venture between the Watershed Association of the Tellico Reservoir (WATeR) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The footpaths are a favorite among hikers, trail runners, birdwatchers, and photographers. There are benches scattered throughout for users to take in the picturesque views of the lake and for observing the plentiful wildlife and wildflowers. Numerous bridges (28) cross the many streams and coves. The most impressive is the 85-foot steel and concrete bridge that rises 15 feet above Coytee Cove (Sinking Creek Branch Trail). Along the trails, stiles have been built to assist you over fences and benches are scattered throughout for users to take in the picturesque views of the lake while observing the plentiful wildlife and wildflowers. A nice boardwalk in one trail section will keep you from getting your shoes wet. Three signed boat landing areas allow easy access to the trails for paddlers. Segments of the trail are self-guided interpretive trails for environmental education. There is adequate parking at the five trailheads along with a kiosk and trail map.
Note: The trails are on public land that is open to hunting, check TWRA for dates.
Canal Branch Trail: The 1.5 mile Canal Branch is under construction. It will extend southward from the Canal Trailhead (soon to be built near the US 321 canal bridge) which is the northern terminus of the East Lakeshore Trail. Offering some fine lake views, the Canal Branch junctions with the Baker Hollow Branch at Mizell Trailhead (soon to be built on Jackson Bend Road).
Baker Hollow Branch Trail: This 3.2 mile trail connects with the Davis Ferry Branch near Antioch Church Rd. (Future Trailhead location). It features large trees, the Mizell Bluff overlook, steep side hills, and many fine views of the lake, especially in the winter.
Davis Ferry Branch Trail: This 3.3 mile trail extends north from the Glendale Trailhead 2 miles to the current north terminus of the East Lakeshore Trail at the Windriver (previously Rarity Pointe) Golf Course. The degree of difficulty is easy.
Glendale Branch Trail: The 2.8 mile Glendale Branch extends south from the Glendale Trailhead to an intersection with the Coytee Loop interpretive trail. This trail is 3 miles via Power Point and 2.2 miles via the Shortcut. From the Glendale Trailhead to Power Point is 1.2 miles. The Powerline Point Loop interpretive trail is 2.2 miles and goes from the trailhead to Powerline Point and returns via the Glendale Shortcut Trail. The degree of difficulty is easy.
Glendale Shortcut Trail: This 2.2 mile loop allows hikers to walk a loop around Powerline Point and return to the Glendale Trailhead. The degree of difficulty is easy.
Coytee Loop Branch Trail: The Coytee Loop Branch extends north from the Coytee Trailhead 2.4 miles and includes a 1.6–mile self-guided interpretive loop trail that incorporates eight learning sites marked by lettered posts along the trail. There is a bench about half-way around the loop looking out over scenic Tellico Lake. The degree of difficulty is moderate.
Sinking Creek Branch Trail: This 4.5 mile trail extends south from Coytee Trailhead to Sinking Creek Trailhead and features several bridges. Most impressive is the 85-foot steel and concrete bridge that rises 15 feet above Coytee Cove, adjacent to the trailhead. The degree of difficulty is moderate.
Lotterdale Branch Trail: Extending south from the Sinking Creek Trailhead, the trail is 3.8 miles to the entrance road into Lotterdale Campground. Trail features a variety of hiking experiences through beautiful forest areas and open pasture along the lakeshore. Parts of the trail traverse along East Coast Tellico Parkway. The degree of difficulty is moderate.
Jackson Bend Branch Trail: From the Lotterdale Campground entrance road, the Jackson Bend Branch Trail extends 5.1 miles to the Peterson Road Trailhead. This branch showcases a variety of landscapes and scenic views and includes an elevation gain of more than 200 feet. A 1/4 mile connecting trail to the map kiosk at the campground entrance provides ready access to the East Lakeshore Trail for campers. The degree of difficulty is moderate.
Morganton Branch Trail: From the Peterson Rd Trailhead the 3.0 mile stretch of the Morganton Branch trail extends to the southern terminus of the East Lakeshore Trail at Wildcat Pointe Trailhead. A variety of interesting and scenic lake views reward the hiker especially along the Baker Creek arm of Tellico Lake featuring a 140' boardwalk. Before reaching Wildcat Pointe Trailhead the trail ascends to a ridge with an elevation of approximately 200 feet above the summer lake level providing excellent views of the lake in the wintertime. The degree of difficulty is moderate.
HUNTING: The trails are on public land that is open to hunting. The most active seasons along the trail are deer and turkey. For hunting season dates and additional information, visit the Tellico WATer website or the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) website - deer hunting regulations for Unit B pertain to the trail area. Even though visibility is quite good in the woods, it is suggested that as a safety precaution, hikers should hike in groups and wear fluorescent orange or bright colors, visible from front and back, while using the trail during hunting seasons.