The Little Tennessee Greenway
The Little Tennessee Greenway reflects all that is wonderful about Franklin NC. The real beauty lies in walking it. Here are interesting facts that will enhance your walk along the Franklin NC Greenway.
Suli (pronounced sue lee) Marsh is north located at Riverview Sreet and Arthur Drake Roads. Its name is Cherokee for buzzard. The boardwalk access acrosses the marsh.
Morris Trace runs along a river section that was badly degraded by river dredging operations for many years.
At the southern end of MorrisTrace, at the intersection of NE Main Street and the Little Tennessee River, you will find Big Bear Park. In addition to a picnic shelter, restroom facilities, and a barbeque pit, it houses a premier playground with units for infants to older youths. A water spray unit is a great attraction during the summer months.
Directly across East Main Street from Big Bear Park sits the headquarters for the Greenway-- FROGquarters. The FRiends Of the Greenway and community volunteers operate Frog Quarters. It is an information center for the Greenway. The FROGs operate a gourmet coffee bar and gift shop focusing on local arts and crafts. A reference library of nature books is open to the public, courtesy of the Macon County Library.
Current access to the next trail section after Big Bear Park requires Greenway users to cross under two town bridges to reach the opposite side of the river where the trail continues. Old Airport Trail begins a short way from East Main Street after passing behind East Franklin Shopping Center.
The Old Airport Trail derives its name from the original Franklin Airport that occupied the site. After crossing a small footbridge over Cat Creek the visitor will find Rotary Picnic Pavillion. Passing the pavillion, one will see a series of Adult Exercise Stations. These two projects were contributed in celebration of Rotary's centennial anniversary in 2005.
A Butterly Garden with a meandering pathway sits just beyond the pavillion. From spring through fall one can sit on the bench and watch these lovely insects flit from flower to flower doing their thing.Going south the Old Airport Trail wanders through a beautiful wetland area that is a haven for birds, butterflies, geese, rabbits, turtles and beavers. The wild flowers and native river cane abound along with the rare Virginia Spiraea along the river.
The trail ends at Salali (pronounced sa-la-li) Lane parking lot and the Tassee Bridge across the Little Tennessee. Salali Lane can be accessed from Highlands Road next to the Flea Market by entering Fox Ridge Rd and turning right at the Greenway sign.
Tassee Bridge is a beautiful arch bridge spanning the Little Tennessee and has been the site of numerous weddings and one memorial service.
Tallulah Falls Railroad Trail commences on the west bank of the river after crossing Tassee Bridge.
This historic railroad served residents and local commerce from the late1800's to mid 1900 between Franklin and Clayton, Ga.
Tassee Park is reached after passing under Wells Grove Road highway bridge. This park has a picnic shelter, restrooms, a fishing pier and boat launch.
The Tallulah Falls RR Trail follows closely the old railroad bed. One of its prettiest sections runs through a railroad cut in a mountain, giving the walker a sense of solitude and peace. It seems far removed from town and troubles, among the ferns and other shade plants.
Nickajack Bridge is a transplant from the Cullasaga Community. The bridge links the Tallulah Falls RR Trail and Traders' Path, the next section.
As the shortest trail section, the name Traders' Path honors the first Anglos into the region—traders. Deer hides were at a premium in England for the manufacture of shoes, book bindings and leather aprons in the 18 th century. Traders traded for hides with the Cherokees, often coming by boat along the Little Tennessee. The picturesque Nonah (spruce) Bridge returns the walkers to the west side of the river and the start of the Tartan Trail.
Tartan Trail picks up along the old railroad bed again, and terminates at the junction of the Little Tennessee and Cartoogachaye Creek, Franklin's fresh water source from the mountains. Along this section you will see a couple of Disc Golf baskets.
Moving south from the River and Creek walkers will find the only real hill on the trail, rising about 100 to 150' above the river level over a ridge and down into a flat area. The trail stops at a point 4.7 miles (from its beginning at Suli Marsh) on the bank of Cartoogachaye Creek. A short trail through a nice woodland will bring one to the Macon County Library parking lot two tenths of a mile before the current end. This woodland area has a 3 mile mountain bike trail, zig zagging its way around a small area and crossing the foot path. Cyclists may access this trail from the Library parking lot.
FROGquarters is located on the right just before crossing the Little Tennessee River bridge on East Main Street.
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