Details

  • DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2009)
  • Intrinsic QualitiesHistoric
  • LocationTN
  • Length83 miles
Byway Visitor Information
Cooke County Partnership
Statewide Byway Partners
Tennessee Department of Transportation
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development
From high atop Clinch Mountain and the winding shorelines of Cherokee Lake
Ann Cason Photo

Overview

East Tennessee Crossing (Hwy 25E) stretches 83 miles in Tennessee from the Cumberland Gap, southeast to the Cherokee National Forest. It has been used since prehistoric times by pioneer travelers, hunters and tourists alike, and is as well traveled as it is named. The route is known as the Cherokee Warriors’ Path, originally cut by bison and used by Native American tribes to attack each other, trade with each other, and travel from place to place.

Local Byway Partners

Story of the Byway

Drive the East Tennessee Crossing Byway and soak in the richness of the Tennessee landscape. This route follows the original path of the Cherokee Warriors Path, the Wilderness Road across the Clinch Mountain and the Cumberland Gap, the Dixie Highway of the Civil War period and Thunder Road of moonshining lore.

The byway begins with the nationally significant Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and links to the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Museum, with one of the most extensive Lincoln collections in the nation, all dedicated to the Union sympathies of the people of Northeast Tennessee. It offers the Wilderness Road State Park, a re-creation and interpretation of a Wilderness Road trading station and fort. Learn about one of our nations most beloved presidents on the East Tennessee Crossing Byway.

The byway climbs to Clinch Mountain where it looks down across the Great Valley of Tennessee. The byway passes through Bean Station, perhaps the most well-traveled and visited trading post along the Wilderness Road during its heyday that became a posh hot springs resort in the 19th century. In Bean Station, see the original trodden path of the Wilderness Road near the site of the Civil War’s Battle of Bean Station. Davey Crockett lived much of his life in this area. His boyhood home of Crockett’s Tavern Museum is in Morristown, right on the byway. He lived part of his adult life in the area of the historic village of Dandridge, one of the oldest towns in Tennessee and where one can enjoy a one-man show by Mr. Crockett.

The byway continues through Newport, a historic railroad town of the early 20th century and home to some of the finest whitewater rafting in the East. To the south of Newport lies Cherokee National Forest and Martha Sunquist State Forest and the famous site of the Christy Mission, from which the book, plays, TV series and movie were all developed about a young woman who committed herself to educating the mountain people of the region. Immediately to the southwest of Newport lies Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its exceptional interpretation of both the natural and human heritage of this region.

Musical and crafts history and heritage celebrated on the Wilderness Road Heritage Highway in Kentucky is continued along the East Tennessee Crossing Byway where one can visit a number of live music venues and crafts shops. Music can regularly be heard in downtown Tazewell in many locales. Bluegrass and gospel festivals often run throughout tourism seasons. Pottery, wine, agri-tourism, wood arts and quilting are all popular crafts along the East Tennessee Crossing Byway. Sneedville is the center of Melungeon culture, a unique subculture of people found only in Appalachia.

The whitewater rafting of the Pigeon River is among the top in the nation, as testified by the 12 rafting operations that run the river. The Appalachian Trail runs at the south end of the byway. Cherokee, Douglas and Norris Lakes offer several professional angling tournaments each summer including the bass tours. Hiking, fly fishing, power boating, canoeing, horseback riding, cycling, and camping are all popular along the byway. The landscape is dramatic, but accessible. Mountain vistas, river valleys, lakeside drives, farming landscapes, hills and hollers and historic villages are all available along the 12 developed side tours.

Driving Directions

The byway begins at the North Carolina/Tennessee border. Travel northwest on US-25 to Del Rio. In Del Rio, continue northwest through the town of Newport. Pass through Newport and continue on US-25 E through the town of White Pine. Continue heading northwest on US-25 E, and pass through the town of Cumberland Gap. The byway ends at the Kentucky/Tennessee border.

Points of Interest

  • Crocket Tavern Museum

    Located in Morristown, Tennessee, the Museum
    was built on the site of the boyhood home of Davy Crockett.
    It is a reconstruction of the 1790's John Crockett Tavern.

  • Historic Town of Cumberland Gap

    First known as the “Gateway to the West”, then as the strong hold during the Civil War, Cumberland Gap is now known for everything from its specialty shops to the National Historical Park.

  • Christy Mission

    Christy Mission was set in the fictional Appalachian village of Cutter Gap, Tennessee, in 1912. The novel was inspired by the story of the journey made by her own mother, Leonora Whitaker, to teach the impoverished children in the Appalachian region as a young, single adult.

Itinerary

  • Tennessee's Wild Side

    Begin your journey on the byway with the nationally significant Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Museum, with one of the most extensive Lincoln collections in the nation, all dedicated to the Union sympathies of the people of Northeast Tennessee.

    Pass through Bean Station, perhaps the most well-traveled and visited trading post along the Wilderness Road during its heyday that became a posh hot springs resort in the 19th century. In Bean Station, see the original trodden path of the Wilderness Road near the site of the Civil War’s Battle of Bean Station. Folk lovers might enjoy Davy Crockett’s Tavern Museum in Morristown, right on the byway. Stop by a local restaurant or diner for some true, down-to-earth American cuisine.

    The byway continues through Newport, about 30 miles from Bean Station, a historic railroad town of the early 20th century and home to some of the finest whitewater rafting in the East. To the south of Newport lies Cherokee National Forest and Martha Sundquist State Forest and the famous site of the Christy Mission. Spend your afternoon adventuring outdoors, perhaps even venturing onto the famed Appalachian Trail. Hiking, fly fishing, power boating, canoeing, horseback riding, cycling, and camping are all popular adventures in this area.

    Newport is a great place to stop for the night with many fun dining and lodging opportunities before you either head home or continue your adventure into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

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