Erwin is a small town and the county seat of Unicoi County, Tennessee. The town is located in a valley where North Indian Creek meets the Nolichucky River. Just before reaching Erwin, the Nolichucky River passes through a steep and narrow gorge very popular with whitewater rafters. The town is surrounded by the Cherokee National Forest, with the Buffalo Mountain, Rich Mountain and the Unaka Mountains in the background. The Appalachian Trail passes just east of Erwin. The best place to learn about the town's past is Unicoi County Heritage Museum, occupying a charming 90-year-old frame house, offering old-fashioned country store exhibits, Blue Ridge handmade pottery and historic railroad memorabilia.

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1.Nolichucky River

Nolichucky River
© Melinda Fawver

The Nolichucky River is a 115-mile long river that runs through Western North Carolina and East Tennessee. It meanders through the Pisgah National Forest and the Cherokee National Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains and collects water from some of the highest mountains in the Appalachians. Nolichucky River is impounded by Nolichucky Dam not far from Greeneville, Tennessee. The most scenic portion of the river starts as it drops through a deep gorge between the Bald Mountains and the Unaka Mountains. The Nolichucky River Gorge is one of the most scenic rivers in the Southeast. It has more than 25 class II, III, and IV rapids while it runs through nine miles of untouched wilderness, providing opportunity for some spectacular and challenging white water rafting..

Erwin, Tennessee

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2.Rock Creek Recreation Area

Rock Creek Recreation Area
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Rock Creek Recreation Area is a park developed in the early 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps around the Rock Creek and the beautiful area around it. Cooled by fresh air blowing from Unaka Mountain and protected from the blazing sun by large mature trees, Rock Creek park offers a pleasant respite from the hot valley summers. There are picnic facilities, wonderful natural pool fed by cool stream water and a bathhouse, built originally. Camping facilities were added in the early 1960s by the US Forest Service. The park is shaded by tall oaks, hemlocks, maples and rhododendron that create the feel of deep woods seclusion while still offering modern amenities such as electric hookups, RV sites, tent sites and bathhouses. A challenging hiking trail leads into Unaka Mountain Wilderness. There is also an easy bike trail and short scenic nature trails through the woods.

Erwin, TN 37650, Phone: 423-743-4427

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3.Wahoo's Adventures

Wahoo's Adventures
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Wahoo's Adventures is an adventure company offering rafting, kayaking, canoeing, tubing and caving in High Country. Established in 1978, Wahoo’s offers the highest quality outdoor adventures east of the Rocky Mountains. Their Nolichucky Outpost in Erwin, Tennessee is known for its Nolichucky Rafting Adventure, exciting all-day rafting experience suitable for beginners ages seven and older. The rafting adventure is set on the Nolichucky River Gorge, deep in the Appalachian Mountains, as the river meanders between 2,80- foot high steep canyon walls and thickly-forested mountains. Wahoo’s Nolichucky River Outpost is located just a short shu ttle-ride from the river and it provides guests with hot showers, changing rooms, restrooms and a gift shop. All tours include a buffet lunch with fresh cheeses, deli meats, breads, fruits and veggies.

Cherokee National Forest, 1201 Rock Creek Rd, Erwin, TN 37650, Phone: 800-444-7238

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4.Steel Rails Coffee House

Steel Rails Coffee House
© Steel Rails Coffee House


Steel Rails Coffee House in downtown Erwin is a tiny place, modern, bright and colorful, established to provide local business employees with a good cup of java. They use the highest quality coffee beans from all over the world and roast them weekly locally, in East Tennessee. Steel Rails Coffee House offers a large range of coffee drinks, but also smoothies, Italian sodas, Chai tea, herbal tea, Iced Tea, hot chocolate and their own concoctions "NO JOE Frappe". They also offer a delicious selection of pastries to go with coffee or tea. They also have homemade wraps, locally made coffee mugs by Lapella Pottery, gift cards and coffee by the ounce, whole beans or ground.

113 N Main Ave, Erwin, TN 37650, Phone: 423-388-1558

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4 Best Things to Do in Erwin, TN