Little Tennessee River Greenway

North Carolina

19 Reviews

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Little Tennessee River Greenway Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: Macon
Length: 4.9 miles
Trail end points: Siler Farms Disc Golf Course (Franklin) and Little Tennessee River Greenway, 123-145 Arthur Drake Rd (Franklin)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6032513

Little Tennessee River Greenway Description


From woods to wetlands to meadows, the 4.9-mile Little Tennessee River Greenway passes through a variety of habitats as it follows the scenic banks of the Little Tennessee River. Part of the North Carolina Birding Trail, it meanders along the river as it makes its way through the small city of Franklin. A network of dirt trails off the path offers a more strenuous experience for mountain bikers and hikers. Other features include a disc golf course, exercise stations, a monarch butterfly garden, a playground, and a splash pad. Plans call for adding about 1.5 miles to the greenway on its southern end to reach the Macon County Recreation Center.

Most sections of the greenway have Cherokee names to honor the Indigenous peoples who lived in three ancient villages that were located along the banks of the river. Other historical features include a section of the early-20th-­century Tallulah Falls Railroad, as well as a section of an abandoned airport runway. In addition, a section called the Tartan Trail recalls early settlers from the 1700s.

About the Route

Starting at the south end behind the Macon County Public Library, where restrooms are available, the trail heads north and passes by the open meadow of the Walasi Trail Circle, where you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the river and wildflowers in the field. Moving north on the Tartan Trail, the greenway passes by a community garden and part of the disc golf course before crossing the covered Nonah Bridge in 1.4 miles. Just 0.2 miles farther, the trail crosses the river again on the 1890s steel-truss Nickajack Bridge.

Next up is a section of the Tallulah Falls Railroad Trail, which follows a train route that carried passengers between Franklin and Cornelia, Georgia, from 1907 to 1946. In 0.8 miles, the trail crosses over the river. the 120-foot-long wooden Tassee Bridge, which offers a picture-perfect view of the confluence of the Little Tennessee River and its tributary, the Cullasaja River. Restrooms are available at the Tassee Shelter. Here, the greenway heads north on the Old Airport Trace—a section consisting of about 2,700 feet (0.5 miles) of an old north-south airport runway used from 1946 to 1968.


Parking and Trail Access

The Little Tennessee River Greenway runs between Siler Farms Disc Golf Course (Franklin) and Little Tennessee River Greenway, 123-145 Arthur Drake Rd (Franklin).

Parking is also available at:

  • 862 Ulco Dr (Franklin)
  • Wesley's Playground, 573 NE Main St (Franklin)

See TrailLink Map for all parking options and detailed directions.

Little Tennessee River Greenway Reviews

excellent greenway

Graveled roads as well as paved. Reminded me of the creeper as well as Chattanooga greenway combined. I would recommend this greenway …absolutely gorgeous!! Wish it could be longer. We rode 11 miles, but it’s so beautiful, you could ride it twice.

Nice Trail

9 miles out and back. If you do the circle at the end, you can get to 10. Mostly paved with some gravel/dirt sections. But beware! Several areas where it looks like it might be easier but you end up in a parking lot or dead end and have to go back.

Worst bicycle trail we have ridden on. Partly paved then turned into gravel then into dirt. Trail is not marked and several times we went the wrong way and had to turn around. When we reached the end we had no idea which way to go, NO SIGNS

Worst bicycle trail we have ridden on. Partly paved then turned into gravel then into dirt. Trail is not marked and several times we went the wrong way and had to turn around. When we reached the end we had no idea which way to go, NO SIGNS

Walk while RVing

Loved this trail along the River. Peaceful, safe and friendly Tennesseans along the trail ¿


Beaitiful day! Well kept tail, some packed gravel. Two bathrooms, lots of bridges and a butterfly garden! AWESOME DAY!!¿

Beaitiful day! Well kept tail, some packed gravel. Two bathrooms, lots of bridges and a butterfly garden! AWESOME DAY!!¿

very and well maintained trail

We bike the trail. We saw that the lead in on the bridges had asphalt ramps so there was a smooth flow. Lots of citizen involvement is on the trail. We put in at business 441 called Frog.

Great Western NC Greenway

The Little Tennessee River Greenway might be one of our new favorites to ride. I would say 80 percent of the trail is asphalt and the remainder is hard pack gravel. Three beautiful bridges, numerous benches and picnic tables are available to take a break on. The trail is advertised at five miles long. We did not ride the portion on the northern end as it requires you to cross a divided highway in town. We parked at the Tassee Park Greenway entrance and there is a really nice pavilion there with clean bathrooms to boot. If you are in the western portion of NC I highly recommend you give this trail a try. Let me add that I must disagree with a few other reviews about dangerous areas on this greenway, we didnt encounter any. I have pics and video posted on my Facebook page @bikesbeerand grub.

April 2, 2017

The trail is mostly asphalt but there are several annoying, and potentially dangerous for cyclists, sections on of sand and gravel that could easily be paved by those in charge. A very nice restroom attached to a pavilion (up a few stairs) is not marked. Thankfully a trail walker told me about it. Lead ins to most bridges are rough with a lip too tall for bikes to tackle. Construction on the highway bridge in Franklin separates the trail making it difficult to navigate between the segments, but hopefully this will be fixed soon. marked and can easily be missed; I found it thanks to

dandy don 54

Not marked very well. We lost interest and returned to car.

Kids loved it

We road the whole the entire path. And my kids loved it. Only a couple large hills that the kids needed to walk up, other then that it was perfect for our first outing. The path was well maintained and ez enough for an 8 year old to ride and enjoy. We love following the river and crossing over it several times. Fun,easy and cheap.

Scenic ride for beginner mountain bikers

If you're looking for an adventurous off road mountain bike experience go someplace else. My husband and I have ridden this trail several times and this trail is as advertised. After parking your car you have to cross one road walk your bike across the bridge crossing other road go behind the strip mall and then you'll be on the trail yes there is an industrial area in the beginning but it's small but soon you are distracted by a nice bridge. There are some uphill climbs mostly paved and there are benches along the way for a rest since you were following the river you may be able to look and see some fish as well.
At the parking lot The roads splits and that is why you have to cross two roads you get to the strip mall in about three minutes. Enjoy the trail

Best for hiking and mtn biking and geocaching

Starting at the north end at the intersection of Riverview and Highway 28, the trail is paved through marshland and along the Little Tennessee River for a mile or so to Big Bear Shelter at Main Street. A short detour across the bridge and a few yards of gravel brings me to the paved Old Airport Trail section, which travels about a mile to the Tassee wooden bridge back across the river. Another short gravel section and back onto the pavement. The next couple of miles has a short gravel strip and two more bridges (wooden covered bridge and trestle bridge). A short gravel strip through the old Talulah Railroad cut and back onto pavement for the southern terminus and loop. Couple of miles of dirt singletrack bike trails are located at the south end and can be accessed from the back of the Macon County Library or from the greenway. The greenway is also the home of Frisbee Golf and more than a dozen Geocaches.

Where is the access?

The covered bridge looks very pretty from the main highway bypassing Franklin, but we were extremely frustrated by its lack of access. If you build something in sight of the main thoroughfare where the most traffic can see the attraction, why in the world do you not create an access point? Terrible planning.

Not as Advertised

Ttail description says surface is asphalt. Based on this information I took my road bike there to ride. Actually the trail surface is partially asphalt with several stretches of rock and gravel and not favorable at all to road bikes. This is a good trail for walkers and runners but a poor trail for serious bicyclists.


Drove over from Gatlinburg to further my wife and my goal of biking in every state of the US. {19 so far). The one mile section west of 441 was a nice short ride. Crossing 441 to get to the rest of the trial was trying because of the traffic and locating the trail once we crossed. Also disappointed to find portions of the trail are not paved but 1 inch gravel. This made it somewhat difficult on our hybrid bikes. Road bikes would have to be walked. We didn't mind the several hills on the trail since it gave a bit of variety, we have definitely biked much better trails. And perhaps we are spoiled living near the Little Miami Bike Trial in south/weest Ohio

easy, fun ride

A group of 6 seniors, we biked this easy, mostly flat paved trail. 3 really interesting bridges.

Nice Ride

Rode this trail 07-20-11. Trail is closed at hwy 64 due to bridge construction. Not sure of a completion date. Both north and south ends are open. Trail is flat and runs along the river. Beautiful scenery along the river and the trail bridges are fun to navigate. Going South from the parking area at Hwy. 441 which by the way has a small water park, you cross the Hwy. 441 bridge (lots of room for improvement at the bridge crossing, not well marked and dangerous in my opinion) the trail continues behind the strip mall. The rocks in the parking lot will have road bikes walking. There is a Bike shop in the strip mall here for repairs if needed. Before you cross the bridge there is a quaint coffe shop with very charming, helpful people behind the counter. My understanding is this trail was put in with personal donations of land and labor and is a credit to the citizens of Franklin.


"Northern end is industrial and not the most pleasant part of the trail, but the southern end follows sweeping turns in the river and leads into the country. It is very beautiful along this stretch. There are several bridges that cross the river including a transplanted iron trestle bridge and a wooden covered bridge. The trail goes under 64 and leads into mountainous pastureland. Didn’t know cows could climb until I was on this trail.

Between these two bridges are several picnic areas. The park benches are mostly dedicated to the memory of deceased relatives. What a touching way to ensure immortality for a loved one. Beats the heck out of a tombstone that no one ever sees.

Trailheads are difficult for a stranger from out of town to find. Could use better signage."

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