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Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee – Volunteer Vacations 2022

April 3 - April 9

Trip Navigation

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. The Whigg Ridge Trail is a 2.8 mile long trail from the Tellico River up Whigg Ridge to the FS road just below the top of Whigg Meadow. This trail has not been worked on for over 10 years and is nearly impassible. Volunteers will work with the Forest Service and Benton MacKaye Trail Association to clear the trail and create a loop that ascends the trail up the Sycamore Creek Section of the BMT to Whigg Meadow, where camping is available on a nearly mile high meadow, then descend down the Whigg Ridge Trail back to the Tellico River. US Forest Service Staff will go in first with chainsaws to clear the trail of blowdowns in advance of the work week, then American Hiking Society volunteers will clear small blowdowns and years of accumulated brush and make tread repairs where needed to create access to this forgotten trail.

AHS acknowledges with gratitude that this project takes place on the traditional lands of the ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East) and S’atsoyaha (Yuchi) peoples past and present. We honor the land itself, the Indigenous communities who have stewarded this land for generations, and those who continue to steward these lands today. AHS invites all volunteers to join us in our commitment to support and amplify the work of Indigenous communities as they work to dismantle the systems of oppression that these communities continue to face today.


Forest Service
Benton MacKaye Trail Association


Primitive Tent Sites


Day hiking up to 3 miles each work day.

Project Rating


Minimum Volunteer Age


Maximum Group Size


Area and Attractions

Tellico Plains with full amenities and several very good restaurants is about 18 miles west of the campground on paved River Road. The Tellico River corridor is well known for trout fishing and kayaking as well as road and mountain biking and the nearby Cherohala Skyway is a popular scenic highway over the mountains in the area. Hiking and backpacking are very popular in this area, especially along the Benton MacKaye Trail, a 288 mile hiking trail from Springer Mountain, GA, to the NE end of the Smokies. Several waterfalls are located nearby, including Bald River Falls, which is one of the most scenic waterfalls in all of Tennessee.

Accommodations Description

Volunteers will stay at the Sourwood Campground, located along the banks of the Tellico River about a half mile upriver from Green Cove, a little fishing community. Pit toilets are available at this no-fee primitive USFS campground. Water can be obtained from the river but must be sterilized. There is no electricity and no access to shower facilities, though swimming in the river is a common pastime to wash off. Volunteers need to supply their own tent and personal camping gear including sleeping bag, sleeping pad and personal cup/bowl/mug/eating utensils. Please contact volunteer@americanhiking.org for assistance with gear needs.


Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, TN is the closest major airport. Airport pick up and drop off is available for volunteers and will be arranged upon confirmation of the trip.


Tellico Ranger District, Cherokee National Forest
250 Ranger Station Road, Tellico Plains, TN 37385 United States + Google Map