The replacement of the wooden steps on both sides of the Coytee bridge is complete and the bridge is back open!
The purpose of the East Lakeshore Trail project is to provide a recreational and educational hiking experience along a portion of the east shoreline of Tellico Lake. It is the product of a successful partnership between WATeR and the Tennessee Valley Authority and has been designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a National Recreation Trail. The trail is open all year.
The East Lakeshore Trail is located on TVA property but in many locations it runs adjacent to private property. The trail is well marked and it is important to stay on the trail at all times and not wander onto privately owned property. Lawns and driveways are there for the landowners and not for shortcuts or alternate routes. Please respect private property the same as you expect people to respect yours.
Video narrated by trail builders Bob Martin and Melbourne Fisher. Produced by Tellico Village POA under the direction of John Cherry and Joe Bogardus.
(Click on the picture to see the video.)
The concept for building a hiking trail on the east lakeshore of Tellico Lake began in 2002 and was solidified with a formal cooperative agreement between WATeR and the Tennessee Valley Authority in 2003. Construction of the trail was accomplished mainly with volunteer labor. The project involved initial trail layout and years of trail construction including the installation of footbridges, fence stiles, stairs, water bars, scenic view benches, trail blazes and directional signs. The completed East Lakeshore Trail is 31 miles in length and is maintained year-round by WATeR volunteers. The trail consists of 9 segments.
From north to south they are:
Canal Branch (1.5 miles)
Baker Hollow Branch (3.2 miles)
Davis Ferry Branch (3.3 miles)
Glendale Branch (2.8 miles plus a shortcut trail of 0.28 miles)
Coytee Loop Branch (2.4 miles)
Sinking Creek Branch (4.5 miles)
Lotterdale branch (3.8 miles)
Jackson Bend Branch (5.1 miles plus a 0.25 connector trail to Lotterdale Camp Ground)
Morganton Branch (3.1 miles plus a one mile spur trail along Wildcat Ridge)
The length of each trail segment was determined by use of a calibrated measuring wheel.
East Lakeshore Trail (ELT) is located along the east shoreline of Tellico Lake opposite Tellico Village and Rarity Bay. The north end of the trail begins next to the barge canal connecting Fort Loudoun and Tellico Lakes. The south end of the trail ends at Wildcat Pointe on the East Coast Tellico Parkway, about one mile north of the 411 bridge. Trailheads with explanatory kiosks are present at 9 parking sites (most are paved) next to roads that provide access to the trail. For access to the trail by boat, please see the trail map.
Directions to the Trail
From Tellico Village
Travel north on SR 444 toward US 321. Make a left turn onto the ramp for US 321 North toward Maryville. After crossing the bridge over the canal, look for the gravel road on the right if you wish to go to the Canal Branch Trailhead parking lot, or continue on US 321 North to Jackson Bend Road for the Mizell Trailhead, or to Antioch Church Road for the Antioch Trailhead, or onto SR 95 for the Glendale Trailhead, Coytee Trailhead, and other trailheads at the southern end of the East Lakeshore Trail (see the trail map, and watch for ELT signage).
From I-75 (Lenoir City Hwy 321):
Take exit 81 to US 321 and into Lenoir City. Continue on US 321 through Lenoir City and across the bridges over the Tennessee River and the canal that connects it to Tellico Lake. See the trail map for access road(s) leading to the desired ELT trailhead parking area, and watch for ELT signage.
From Maryville (Hwy 321):
Take US 321 south from Maryville toward Lenoir City. After entering Loudon County, take a left onto TN Hwy 95 to reach most ELT trailheads (see the trail map), or continue on US 321 to Antioch Church Road or Jackson Bend Road to reach the Davis Ferry or Mizell trailheads. Follow signage to trailheads..
From Vonore and Route 411:
Travel north from Vonore (or south from Maryville) on US 411 to reach the East Coast Tellico Parkway, and travel north on the parkway. See the trail map for access roads to the desired trailhead.
Volunteers are needed year-round to maintain the trail. There are two ways volunteers can contribute: 1) as part of a work crew that removes large tree branches and fallen trees from the trail, and that repairs the many trail bridges, stairs and steps, fence stiles, edging timbers, signs, and benches; 2) by “adopting” a section of the trail to walk at least once a month, removing smaller fallen branches and clearing encroaching vegetation (e.g., grasses, vines), trash, and “tripping” hazards from the trail, and reporting on the Trails tab major problems such as fallen trees that a work crew will fix. If you interested in either of these volunteer activities, please leave a message on the Trails tab on this website, and you will be contacted.
If you wish to report a trail safety issue, please leave a message on the Trails tab on this website. If you need to report an emergency, please call 911. There is cell phone coverage on the trail, so please bring a cell phone when hiking on the trail. Note that the WATeR website provides a map of the trail, and that the trail has mile marker posts with a number giving the distance to the post from the start of the trail at the Canal Branch kiosk. As with all hiking trips, please let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
For your own safety, please stay on the trail at all times. The trail is bordered by private property and may be crossed by TVA-permitted roadways to boat docks and houses. Please respect private property and do not approach farm animals or pets.
The most common safety issues on the trail are falling down, dehydration, bee stings, and allergies. If you have balance and/or blood-pressure issues, please hike with a friend. If you are allergic to bee stings, please carry medication. Dehydration can be avoided by bringing a bottle of water with you. Ragweed is present along some sunny parts of the trail, and poison ivy is present in many sections. If you are allergic to either, please carry medication.
There are several hunting seasons in Tennessee. You may wish to wear blaze orange or other easily visible clothing (from both front and back) during these seasons. However, to our knowledge, there have been no reports of anyone being shot while hiking the East Lakeshore Trail.
Trail Branch Descriptions & Maps (from north to south)
Canal Branch – about 1.5 miles:
The 1.5-mile Canal Branch is the northernmost trail section. The trailhead kiosk is located close to the canal that connects Tellico Lake with Fort Loudoun Lake, and it is accessed only from northbound US 321 a short distance south of the US 321 bridge over the canal, where an unsigned small gravel road leads downhill to a large unpaved parking lot. The Canal Branch goes south to the Mizell Trailhead close to Jackson Bend Road. Notable along the trail are woods with large pines, several TVA power line cuts with many tall flowers that bloom in the fall, a very large southern magnolia tree, and two small coves that offer lake views. The trail is easy to hike, but the open sunny sections can be hot during the summer months.
Baker Hollow Branch – 3.1 miles:
The 3.1-mile Baker Hollow Branch begins at the Mizell Trailhead kiosk located at the end of the Canal Branch and downhill from the Mizell parking lot off Jackson Bend Road. The trail goes past Mizell Bluff and around two large coves, Mizell cove and Baker Hollow cove, and ends in a TRDA picnic area (with tables, restrooms and a parking lot) at the end of Antioch Church Road. The Mizell Bluff overlook, with its view across Tellico Lake to the dam, is outstanding. Notable along the trail are many huge oak trees at the north end of the trail, excellent views of the coves and lake, and a lakeshore bench with a view of the Wind River boat dock. Hiking the trail is moderately strenuous, but there is good shade in the summer.
Davis Ferry Branch – 3.2 miles:
The 3.2-mile Davis Ferry Branch begins at the end of Antioch Church Road in the TRDA picnic site, where it enters woods with large oak trees. The trail crosses Antioch Church Road and stays between the road and the Wind River golf course. It crosses the golf course on paved cart paths, then proceeds alongside a ravine toward the lake, across a small peninsula, and along the east side of Powerline Cove. Notable along the trail are a large TVA powerline cut with many tall flowering plants in late summer, a shoreline bench with views of the Tanasi Clubhouse and three old farm silos in the lake, and moderately strenuous uphill and downhill sections through both young and mature woods. The trail ends at the Glendale Trailhead on Glendale Community Road.
Glendale Branch – 3 miles:
The 2.8-mile Glendale Branch begins at the end of Glendale Community Road, where there is a kiosk and parking lot. The trail follows the west shoreline of the small Glendale cove and the larger Powerline cove, around Powerline Point, then south in woods that are uphill from, and close to the lakefront. The Glendale branch ends at the north end of the Coytee Branch loop trail. The Glendale section is notable for the Powerline Point loop trail with its mature hardwood forest and signs identifying some trees by name, two TVA powerline cuts with wildflowers, many lake views, and a lakeside bench with views of Tellico Village, 3 farm silos, and Tellico Dam. An interpretative guide has been written for the Powerline Point (Cove) loop trail. The hiking is moderately strenuous. There is a “shortcut” across Powerline Point that cuts 0.6 miles (the loop) from the length of the Glendale Branch.
Glendale Shortcut Trail:
The Glendale Shortcut allows hikers to walk a 2.2 mile loop around Powerline Point and return to the Glendale Trailhead. The degree of difficulty is easy.
Coytee Loop Branch – 2.4 miles:
The 2.4-mile Coytee Loop Branch extends from the south end of the Glendale Branch to the Coytee Trailhead parking lot off Coytee Road. It is hiked most conveniently from south to north, starting at and returning either to the Coytee Trailhead or to Coytee Road. The Coytee Loop Branch is notable for the loop trail, which passes through a mature forest with many very large oak trees, some rock outcrops, and good views of the lake. Signs label some of the trees with both common and scientific names, and an interpretative guide has been written for the loop trail. The loop trail is moderately strenuous, but the remainder of the Coytee Branch is flat and easy to hike.
Sinking Creek Branch – 4.5 miles:
The 4.5-mile Sinking Creek Branch lies between the Coytee Trailhead on Coytee Road and the Sinking Creek Trailhead on the parking lot at the intersection of National Campground Road and the East Coast Tellico Parkway. The Sinking Creek Branch follows the south side of Coytee Cove, up across a bluff, around two small picturesque coves (Hannah Ferry and Owl Hollow) and along the north side of the Sinking Creek inlet into Tellico Lake. The trail is nearly always shaded by trees, and offers excellent views of the coves and Tellico Lake. One of the best easy walks on the entire East Lakeshore Trail is that from the Coytee Trailhead, across the large TVA bridge, northwest to the Coytee Cove beach area, and back. The trail here is shaded by trees and overlooks Coytee Cove. At Coytee beach there is sand and a bench to enjoy the view across Coytee Cove and Tellico Lake. Hiking the Sinking Creek Branch is easy to moderately strenuous.
Lotterdale Branch – 3.8 miles:
The 3.8-mile Lotterdale Branch lies between the Lotterdale Campground entrance road and the Sinking Creek Trailhead at National Campground Road. Although this trail begins and ends with hiking in the open along the East Coast Tellico Parkway, most of the trail passes through either pinewoods or a mature mixed hardwood forest. Many orb-weaving spiders (triangulate orbweavers) spin webs across the trail, but the spiders are no danger to humans. Hiking the Lotterdale Branch is easy to moderately strenuous.
Jackson Bend Branch – 5.1 miles:
The 5.1-mile Jackson Bend Branch lies between the Peterson Road parking lot next to the East Coast Tellico Parkway, and the Lotterdale Campground entrance road. The trail has several steep uphill and downhill areas, and the hiking is moderately strenuous to strenuous. In return the hiker is rewarded with bluffs that have views of Tellico Lake, Jackson Bend Island and Rarity Bay, a hardwood forest, and a variety of habitats from wetlands and ponds to rock outcrops to farmland to shaded lakeside logs with turtles.
Morganton Branch – 3 miles:
The 3.1-mile Morganton Branch and the 1-mile Wildcat Ridge Spur Trail are at the south end of the East Lakeshore Trail, between the Wildcat Pointe parking lot and the Peterson Road parking lot. From the Wildcat Pointe trailhead the trail goes steeply uphill where it meets the spur trail. The spur trail is on a ridge with good views into ravines on both sides; the area is a mature mixed hardwood forest. At the end of the spur trail is a bench with views across the lake to the Route 411 bridge. The rest of the Morganton Branch is notable for views across Baker Creek and Tellico Lake. Hiking the Morganton Branch ranges from strenuous at the hilly south end, to easy along Baker Creek and Tellico Lake, to moderate as one nears the Peterson Road trailhead.
Thank you for hiking on the East Lakeshore Trail.
If you wish to report something especially interesting, an unusual or rare plant or animal sighting, a safety concern, or a suggestion or question, please leave a message on the Trails tab.