The Cherokee National Forest is located in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina.
Where is this Forest?


Welcome to the Cherokee National Forest


The Cherokee National Forest is your destination for outdoor recreation.  Enjoy a scenic drive through the mountains, the pursuit of wildlife, the thrill of whitewater, a night under the stars, or solitude on a backcountry trail.

Begin planning your visit by selecting "Recreation" in the left menu. 

Cherokee National Forest Vicinity Map

Located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of east Tennessee, the Cherokee National Forest is divided into northern and southern sections by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The 650,000-acre forest is the largest tract of public land in Tennessee and adjoins other national forests in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. 

Vicinity map of Cherokee National Forest with legend.

Cherokee National ForestGreat Smoky Mountains National ParkCherokee National ForestFrancis Marion-Sumter National ForestChattahoochee-Oconee National ForestNantahala National ForestPisgah National ForestDanial Boone National ForestGeorge Washington-Jefferson National Forest

 Visitors come to explore the more than 600 miles of trails including 150 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, hundreds of miles of cold water streams, 7 whitewater rivers, 3 large lakes managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority, 11 congressionally designated Wilderness areas, 30 developed campgrounds, 45 developed day-use sites and the abundant populations of wildlife.  The national forest provides habitat for 43 species of mammals, 154 species of fish, 55 species of amphibians and 262 species of birds. 

Enjoy your visit.  Please do your part to conserve these exceptional places.


National Forest Seasonal Road Management Schedule

UNICOI, TN – September 2, 2013 ... US Forest Service officials at the Cherokee National Forest recently announced the annual schedule for opening and closing certain roads through May 11, 2015. These roads are located in the northern portion of the Cherokee National Forest (Cherokee Wildlife Management Area) in Cocke, Greene, Washington, Unicoi, Carter, Sullivan and Johnson Counties.

Certain roads in the Cherokee National Forest are systematically closed to motorized vehicle use to help protect wildlife habitat, decrease wildlife disturbance and reduce road maintenance costs.   However, some of these roads are temporarily opened for short periods to provide seasonal public access for various uses including fall color viewing, hunting, and other uses. Roads may be closed earlier than scheduled due to poor road conditions...See Schedule

50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act 1964-2014

Graphic of 50 Year Wilderness Act Logo

50 YEARS OF AMERICAN WILDERNESS: On September 3, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Wilderness Act. This historic bill established the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wildlands for the use and benefit of the American people....more

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Fall Color Report #5

Image of fall color on the Cherokee

October 20, 2014.  Weekly Fall Color Viewing Report #5.

Snorkeling In The Cherokee NF

Snood and snorkel

Guided snorkeling programs are designed for organized groups of 12-20 people, ages 12+.  Photos...


Brook Trout Restoration

Graphic showing trout release

In east Tennessee the Appalachian Mountain range has approximately 625 miles of cold water (trout) streams. Most of these...more

Fall Color Report #1

Image of fall color on the Cherokee

A very slight hint of color is starting to show in a few places throughout the 650,000 acre Cherokee National Forest (Forest) at elevations above 3,000’.

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