BALD RIVERS24O, 37 mi, 116 ft/mi
Tellico Plains, TN
Starting and ending at the Cherohala Skyway near the town of Tellico Plains, TN.
37.3 miles, 4,352 ft elevation gain, 116 ft/mi. Counter-clockwise direction suggested.
Gravel and paved country road. Preferred bike rank: cyclocross/gravel, rigid MTB, hardtail, full suspension.
Bald River is a great sub-24 hour overnight (S24O) with the main gravel climb on day one followed by a gradual descent on gravel/pavement back to the car on day two. This is a beginner friendly route with prime opportunity for dogpacking or towing kids. About half the route follows the Tellico or Bald River which offers great river-side riding with swimming holes and plenty of primitive campgrounds to choose from.
- Dog/kid trailer friendly
- Swimming in Bald River
- Waucheesi Vista
- Five Campgrounds
- Tellico Fish Hatchery
Parking is at a river pull-off on Cherohala Skyway near Tellico Plains, TN. Once rolling you will quickly get off the pavement onto smooth gravel and begin your 11 mile climb, peaking at the Waucheesi Bald. To gain the Bald, you will ride a short out-and-back but it’s a tough climb with a dog/kid trailer. It’s tempting to skip this vista but those that ride up are rewarded with a panoramic view of the Unicoi Mountains. After the climb you will come to the first camping option along the river (Holly Flats). Continue onwards for a more gradual climb followed by a short descent to the Green Cove Lake turn off. This is another out-and-back to a peaceful lake. From here, climb back up to the route and continue on to the Fish Hatchery where your steady pavement descent back to your car begins. This is a quiet country road with camping and swimming options along the way. You’ll pass Baby Falls and finally the 90ft Bald River Falls. If you’re looking for some great local food after your ride we highly recommend Kats Deli a few miles down the road towards Tellico Plains.
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