Located in Cherokee National Forest, a steep hike to outstanding views of the mountains.
How to get there
From Erwin, TN
- Take Exit 36 off I-26.
- Turn left on unnamed road across the interstate to intersection with Tenn. 107 in Erwin.
- Turn right on Tenn. 107 for about a mile.
- Turn left on Tenn. 395 (USFS sign to Beauty Spot).
- Proceed 3.2 miles.
- Turn left into the USFS Rock Creek Recreation Area.
- Park near restrooms at Picnic Area.
Same as for Rock Creek Falls trail
Rattlesnake Ridge is USFS #26 Trail. Out-and-back hike starting at Rock Creek Recreation Area parking lot. Proceed to the back of the campground area (behind the tent camping section) to the trailhead common with Rock Creek Falls. Cross the footbridge to the left. Take the split along an old road for about a mile over to Dick Creek Gap - a junction of several trails and old roads. Head up the ridgeline into the Unaka Mountain Wilderness (sign seen after 100 yards) to the top at the Pleasant Gardens Overlook on Unaka Mountain. When you see spruce trees, you are near the top where all the highest mountains in Unicoi County are visible.
Being in wilderness-designated area and not heavily used, the trail may be a little overgrown but is well defined.
Fees, Permits, etc.
Rock Creek Campground is open May 1 through November 1. Campground gates are closed from 10 PM until 7 AM. If closed, then add a mile to hike in from the main gate. Day use area fee is $2 per car. Permit must be visibly displayed in vehicle. Wilderness designated area, thus group size is limited to 14 people.
For more information, see [Forest Service webpage].
The Pleasant Gardens Overlook on Unaka Mountain is called that due to the large number of laurels in area. Beauty Spot can be seen in the distance. The overlook can be reached by forest service roads, but the last section is extremely rocky. (Busted the radiator on a sedan, so high clearance vehicle recommended.)
Dogs are allowed, but must remain on a 6 ft or shorter leash.