Ken Yager: Explore Tennessee Driving Trails

Wholesome Family Entertainment

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Man taking in it all in on a bluff on the Pie in the Sky Trail. (Ronnie Phipps/Big R Photos)

Wholesome Family Entertainment

An editorial by Senator Ken Yager

NASHVILLE, (August 29, 2016) — With fall just around the corner, take the time to explore Tennessee. And you won’t have to go far. I recommend you stick to the seven counties of the 12th Senatorial District. Of the 16 driving trails in Tennessee, three meander through the 12th District in some of the most beautiful areas of your state.

These driving trails are intended to get tourists out of the cities and into the Tennessee countryside. Rural East Tennessee and the Upper Cumberland offer some incredible scenery, history and great eateries. You will pass through adventure tourism districts which promote the outdoors so go to www.tnvacation.com/tntrailsandbyways, download the map of your choice and you’re on your way! Just follow the brown and white signs.

Perfect for navigating on a mobile device, an app of for each trail is available for free in the app store, and even includes a soundtrack for your travels featuring some of Tennessee’s finest musicians powered by Pandora.

Here are the three trails in our neighborhood:

Pie in the Sky (Rhea). Although Chattanooga is the jumping off point, travel through Rhea County where you can explore the cite of the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial,” including a top notch Scopes museum in the basement of the historic courthouse in Dayton. In season, you’ll also have the chance to sample fresh strawberries. In Spring City, stop by the historic museum and depot and take in a live performance at the Tennessee Valley Theatre.

Top Secret (Pickett, Fentress, Scott, Morgan, Roane and Campbell). Where some of East Tennessee’s beautiful scenery awaits stopping by places like Secret City (Oak Ridge), Hometown of Temperance (Harriman) and Utopian community of Rugby. Stop by Bradbury community near Kingston to hear foot stomping bluegrass any Saturday night. In Scott County, you’ll be impressed with the Heritage Museum’s exhibits about the area from prehistoric time until today.

White Lightning (Campbell). You guessed it! This trail gets its name from its history as a moonshine corridor. See a moonshine exhibition at Hampton Inn in Lafollette or spot Elk at the Hatfield Knob Elk Viewing Tower, and don’t forget to take in the view from McCloud Mountain. If you have time to stay a while, McCloud Mountain Restaurant, Lodge and Skywalk has everything you need to take in just one of the grand views our state has to offer.

Through these driving tours, you have the opportunity to not just look during your travels, but to learn too. The beauty of the nature, community and history of this area runs deep so get in your car and hit the road. Tennessee’s waiting to see you.

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