TN 68
Some good Twisties on TN 68

THE OCOEE LOOP

TN SR 68 south out of Tellico Plains, best described as "East Tennessee country", has a few good twisties here and there.

Take a short detour on SR 294 East if you are not in a hurry. You'll cross into North Carolina, pass through Liberty, and come to Field of the Woods after a little more than 4 miles. We cruised by this place and then had to make a U-turn to get a better look. Here the Ten Commandments are written on the side of a rather steep hillside with steps leading all the way to the top. Nancy thought the pool there was for swimming, but we learned it's for baptisms. We recommend this as an interesting place to stretch your legs, see something unusual, and it's free. Don't jump in the pool.

Continue east on 294 another mile and a half and take a left on SR 1314 which leads to Hiawassee Dam about 5 miles distant. There are some good places to picnic and take a short nap under a tree. The scenic lake and dam are off the beaten track and not a main tourist attraction.

Backtracking on 1314 and 294 you'll take a left on 68 to continue on the loop. Once again you'll encounter some twisties. You'll pass through Turtletown, Harbuck, Dogtown, and Ducktown before reaching US 64.

In Ducktown you can tour the Ducktown Basin Museum if you are interested in mining history (open year round, admission $3.00). I recall traveling through here back in the 1960s and thinking that we were on the moon. A hundred years of metal mining had left the orange, clay hillsides barren of trees and bushes. Rain run-off had scarred the hills and then dried creating giant cracks and craters. It was eerie. Today much of the damage appears to have been cleaned-up and reforested.

We rode into Copperhill for lunch. This border town is divided down the middle with the Tennessee/Georgia state line. On the Georgia side is the town of McCaysville. There are many places to eat and the towns are packed when the Blue Ridge Train pulls in. We had lunch at Patrick's Pub and Grill mainly because of its unique location with the state line passing right through the restaurant. You dine in Tennessee and use the restrooms in Georgia. We had a burger that rated as a "tweener", not the best and not the worst.

Nancy posed for a photo standing on the corner with a foot in each state.
Back on the road we backtracked to the north and headed west on US 64, also known as the Ocoee Scenic Byway. US 64 takes you along the Ocoee River where the 1996 Olympic white water competition was held. The National Forest Service Ocoee Whitewater Center is a great place to get a look at this adventurous sport close-up. There are also short and long hiking trails, great picnic areas, and plenty of parking.

Heading west on US64 you'll hit some great curves, but the traffic can be thick here in the summer months. The wood viaduct that you see high above the river carries water to the next dam to produce electricity. Stop and rest at some of the beaches. After the dam the water opens up into a wide lake with pull-offs to stop at.

If you are hungry at this point you'll need to continue west on US 64 a few miles to feast at the Wildwater Deli and Steakhouse or continue into Ocoee a few miles farther. You will then backtrack on US 64 east bound to catch SR 30 north to Reliance. This is a great road of twisties with minimal traffic.

In nine miles you'll arrive at Reliance, a country crossroads with an old time general store. Take a right here and follow SR 315 north which is not as twisty, but has some great scenery. After about 15 miles take a right on SR 39 and then a right on SR 68 to return to Tellico Plains.

This 75-mile loop (not counting detours) is an all-day trip if you stop to see the sights and encounter average traffic.

 
 
Reliance, TN
This is about all there is still operating in Reliance, Tennessee
Reliance Hotel
The Reliance Hotel on Hiawassee River Road
Reliance Garage
The Reliance Garage
Hiawassee River Road
View of Hiawassee River from Hiawassee River Road near Reliance.
Fields of the Wood
Fields of the Wood with Ten Commandments on hillside.
Copper Hill 1960s
Ducktown mining in the 1960s. The divided highway at right is US 64
Ducktown 2010
Same view just east of Ducktown 2010.
Patricks Pub & Grill
The Tennessee/Georgia State Line in Patrick's Pub & Grill
Nancy on State Line
Nancy with feet in Tennessee and Georgia.
Steel Bridge
Bridge Street bridge in McCaysville, Georgia
Ocoee Lake
The Ocoee Lake
Ocoee Lake
View of Ocoee Lake from Oswald Dome Road
Delano gliderport
The gliderport near Delano on US 411.
Ocoee Loop Map
CLICK HERE FOR PDF PRINTABLE MAP