Small Business - The Selma Times‑Journal (2024)

As early as the 1500s, people were living in and exploring the Tennessee Valley by foot, by horse or along the rivers that connect the region. In the Tennessee River Valley, there are many types of trails ranging from national historic trails to blueways. Trails are a way for people to engage with the region and to experience personalized adventures. Explore the mapguide to learn more about trails in the Tennessee River Valley.

NORRIS, Tenn., May 30, 2024 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Trails in the Tennessee River Valley provide a deeper understanding of the region's history and geography. Many of the original explorations, dating as far back as the expeditions of Hernando DeSoto (1540), Daniel Boone (1757), Donelson (1779), and Lewis and Clark (1804), were by foot, horse, or along the waterways. What is less known is that some of these same trails have been preserved for future generations to appreciate the solitude and challenges found in this beautiful, but geographically challenging region of Appalachia.

What is less known is that some of these same trails have been preserved for future generations to appreciate the solitude and challenges found in this beautiful, but geographically challenging region of Appalachia.

Foot travel pathways such as the planned 300 mile Cumberland Trail are providing modern day explorers opportunities for discovery unlike any other mode of transportation. The beauty of footpaths is that the trail route generally provides solitary hikes through a variety of terrain and scenic vistas. The North Chickamauga trails on Signal Mountain are conveniently located near Chattanooga and offer some of incredible views of the Tennessee River Valley Gorge. At the other end of the trail in Obed Wild and Scenic River, are waterfalls, rock pools to cool off after a day of hiking, and dark sky full of stars.

Along the shorelines of Muscle Shoals Reservation Trails are historical reminders of the Civil War and the industrialization of this region with the building of Wilson Dam. In 1921 prior to the TVA, Henry Ford and his partner Thomas Edison visualized building a model town and an automobile factory in this location. While that vision did not occur, Franklin Delano Roosevelt leveraged Wilson Dam and this area as the foundation of TVA and the New Deal. Today the seventeen miles of trail are held in conservation for native species and public recreation. The Muscle Shoals National Recreational Trail system is part of the northwest loop of the North Alabama Birding Trail. It has received Wildlife Habitat Council's Conservation Certification for the enhanced wildlife habitat that the area provides.

Another history laden trail is the Natchez Trace which travels through Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, and is advertised by the National Park System as 10,000 years of history. The trace served as an important travel corridor for Native Americans, early settlers, slaves and tradesmen between the two western frontier towns of Natchez, MS and Franklin, TN. The scenic byway trail is open for motorcycles, biking, hiking, and driving tours.

At mm 313 of the Natchez Trace, a shady picnic area with several picnic tables and grills sits next to Bear Creek near the Alabama-Mississippi state line. Bear Creek is one of the many paddling blueways in the Tennessee River Valley. Beginning in Tishomingo State Park, the float way provides a six mile paddle or float along the scenic boulder strewn river. Views of sandstone bluffs, forests of hardwood, and wildlife make for a serene paddle. The Valley is a destination for paddlers, from whitewater to flatwater, who recognize the miles and miles of blueways provide unhurried, uncrowded experiences.

Not all great hikes start in the woods. In center of Knoxville is the Cradle of Country Music Trail, an urban walking tour that honors the rich legacy of music history in the Tennessee River Valley. Long before Nashville became known as "music city," singers and writers flocked to Knoxville to perform on WNOX's Merry-Go-Round Show or on the Cas Walker's Farm and Home Variety Show. Legendary performers including Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins, Jimmy Martin, Bill Monroe, and the Everly Brothers boosted their careers from their time performing on the shows. The Cradle of Country Music walking tour begins at the WDVX studios on Gay St. Daily, WDVX continues the long tradition of live music by hosting a live event, the Blue Plate Special. The self- guided walking tour will take you through the streets of Knoxville, where so many young performers came to seek music fame.

Say river cruise and most people think about massive crowded ships or expensive sternwheelers trips along the 652 miles of the Tennessee River from Knoxville to Paducah, KY. This same journey is possible for smaller pleasure crafts, sailboats, pontoons, cabin cruisers and even by jet skis. A tool to help you plan a customized bucket list trip on the river is Quimby's Cruising Guide. Your trip will take you through nine locks and dams and past iconic cultural and heritage sites. Or explore one of the trails featuring local foods and beverages as another way to explore the region.

National Trails Day is more than a celebration; it is a way for people to embrace the opportunity to explore, learn, and understand the history and culture of a region or place.

The Tennessee River Valley is the watershed of the Tennessee River extending some 900 miles across portion of seven states. Explore the online mapguide to learn more about these trails or to find additional trails

Media Contact

Julie Graham, TRV Stewardship Council, 8655850811,,

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Small Business - The Selma Times‑Journal (2024)
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