The state of Tennessee is studded with fascinating historical and cultural attractions. Getting your bearings and deciding what to see first, though, can be challenging. A great way to get the most out of your Tennessee expedition is by following one of the state’s topnotch trails or byways. Below, you will find four popular routes to help you get the most from the spring season.
Ring of Fire Trail - Ghost Stories and Music Legends
A trail of music, history and landscape, the Ring of Fire will capture your soul like a heart-wrenching country ballad. Dotted with wineries, small towns, farms and villages, this route offers opportunities to stop by local berry farms, roadside markets and fresh produce stands. Or, stop at a trading post, watch a craft demonstration, or cast your fishing line into a quick running stream.
Cotton Junction Trail - From Sweet Spots to Teapots
This country was founded on cotton and this trail takes you through West Tennessee’s breathtaking cotton country. The Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange and the Cotton Museum of the South in Green Frog will show you the ginning process from boll to bale and how this crop has shaped the area’s culture and economy. You will also find a drive-thru tour at the Tennessee Safari Park in Alamo with over 80 animal species, as well as the hometown of Tina Turner in Nutbush. You won’t soon forget the food, friendly people and unique slice of West Tennessee life you’ll experience on the Cotton Junction Trail.
Promised Land Trail - From Pilgrimage to President
Not only will you experience Tennessee’s rich pioneering history in Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson, but also great food, shopping and other unique offerings all along this trail. Make a stop at a U-Pick Farm, and pick your own strawberries or blackberries, practice your golf-swing out on the course, discover Tennessee’s wineries, or find the perfect treasure to take home from an antique store. While you’re in town, stop for delicious homemade ice cream, catch a drive-in movie, or listen to bluegrass bands play music as you wander through some of Tennessee’s beautiful historic downtown squares. Whatever you do, just be sure to spend time reveling in Tennessee’s “Promised Land;” after all, there’s really no need to hurry.
Rocky Top Trail - Smokey Peaks to Crafts and Creeks
The Rocky Top Trail truly captures the adventurous spirit that fills the peaks in this scenic region with a journey through the majestic Smoky Mountain peaks, rivers, caverns and rapids. Be sure to start your trip on a musical note with a live broadcast performance of WDVX’s “Blue Plate Special,” featuring bluegrass bands every weekday at noon from the Knoxville Visitor Center. Continuing south to Maryville, you’ll see the Sam Houston Historic Schoolhouse, the oldest one-room schoolhouse in the state. If you have a taste for subterranean adventure, explore the Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend, and then catch your breath with a leisurely trip down the Little River Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.