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As its mountains tower over the Tennessee - North Carolina border, Unicoi County, with its county seat at Erwin, combines wonders of natural beauty with intriguing stories of history and culture. Here, elegant small towns bustle with sidewalk shops and eateries, and locals recount fascinating stories of the past and future.
View and explore the breathtaking scenery from one of the southern Appalachian's highest elevation mountain balds. The balds at Beauty Spot are maintained in a grassy stage, surrounded by rhododendrons and other native mountain plants. Hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail from the scenic overlook of Beauty Spot or have a tailgate picnic at the Unaka Mountain Overlook and take in the scenic mountain views from this vantage point along Unaka Mountain Road. Or try horseback riding in Cherokee National Forest.
You can also explore Rocky Fork. The area is named for the creek that runs through its center and lies within the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee and abuts the North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest. The tract is home to several species in need of conservation including the peregrine falcon, east hellbender, and the Yonahlossee salamander. The tract is also a part of the Unicoi Bear Preserve and contains prime bear-breeding habitat.
Rocky Fork's many resources provide a range of world-class recreational opportunities that have been attracting generations of visitors from across the country. About 1.5 miles of the Appalachian Trail crosses the southwest border of the property, and half the property can be seen from the trail. Sixteen miles of pristine blue-ribbon trout streams, including the waters of Lower Higgins Creek and Rocky Fork Creek, harbor exceptional populations of native brook trout. Rocky Fork also boasts habitat for game animals such as bear, turkey, deer and grouse.