Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Walking the Greenway

Throughout the history of the Greenway there has been a wonderful lesson in the value of Dreams.

The real beauty lies in walking it.  Here are interesting facts  that will enhance your walk along the Greenway.

(see Map link at "Greenway Information" to follow this
information from north to south)

Suli (pronounced sue lee) Marsh lies at the northern terminus just off Bryson City Road at Riverview and Arthur Drake Roads. Acquired from the Town of Franklin, its name is Cherokee for buzzard. The boardwalk access across this lovely marsh is possible through theefforts of a volunteer construction crew dubbed The Young Buzzard Construction Company. Headed by Dick Moulton, a retired engineer, Charlie McLaughlin and numerous men and women worked in sleet and mud up to their knees to complete the 300' entrance to the Greenway.

Morris Trace, a name that honors a past Governor of North Carolina, runs along a river section that was badly degraded by river dredging operations for many years. The sand dredging was a local business that was vital in keeping the river from filling
in, but created a weakened bank that was subject to erosion. Damage from past
hurricanes is still in evidence. Stablizing the bank was a challenge during
construction of the Greenway path.

At the southern end of MorrisTrace, at the intersection of NE Main Street and the Little Tennessee River, you will find Big Bear Park. It is named for a fictional Cherokee
character, Yanagwa (bear), from a nineteenth century novel set in our area. In
addition to a picnic shelter, restroom facilities, and a barbeque pit, it
houses a premier playground with units for infants to older youths. A water
spray unit is a great attraction during the summer months. Erected by
volunteers (including Duke retirees) and memorializing a young child lost in a
day care fire in Franklin in 2000, it has become a favorite destination for
children, their parents and grandparents, as well as school and camp groups.

Funding for Wesley's Playground came from a variety of sources, including Wesley's the Town of Franklin, and the NC Recreation and Parks Trust Fund. Many local
businesses and individual also contributed, as well as profits from the Frog
Quarters operation. Donations to FROGs made possible the purchase of materials
for the construction of the barbeque pit built by Southwestern Community
College's Macon Leadership Class of 2005.

Directly across East Main Street from Big Bear Park sits the headquarters for the Greenway-- FROGquarters. The FRiends Of the Greenway and community volunteers operate Frog Quarters. It serves several purposes. First and foremost it is an
information center for the Greenway and a place to house the equipment
necessary to keep the Greenway beautiful. In addition, it is a source of
revenue to support the development of the Greenway. The FROGs operate a gourmet
coffee bar and gift shop focusing on local arts and crafts. A reference library
of nature books is open to the public, courtesy of the Macon County Library.

Current access to the next trail section after Big Bear Park requires Greenway users to
cross under one of the two town bridges, go up a ramp and cross the second
bridge to reach the opposite side of the river where the trail continues. Old
Airport Trail
begins a short way from East Main Street after passing behind
East Franklin Shopping Center. North Carolina DOT will begin construction of a
new replacement bridge later this year and this will allow walkers to pass
under both bridges, come up on the south side of East Main and cross the
bridge, without having to cross any lanes of traffic. Construction in the mean
time may close both bridges and require detours. Watch for “closed” or other
direction signs.

The Old Airport Trail derives its name from the original Franklin Airport that
occupied the site. After crossing a small footbridge over Cat Creek the visitor
will find Rotary Picnic Pavillion built by the Daybreak Rotary Club of
Franklin. Passing the pavillion, one will see a series of Adult Exercise
Stations
on the loop trail contributed by the Rotary Club of Franklin.
These two projects were contributed in celebration of Rotary's centennial
anniversary in 2005.

A Butterfly Garden with a meandering pathway sits just beyond the pavillion. From
spring through fall one can sit on the bench and watch these lovely insects
flit from flower to flower doing their thing.Going south the Old Airport Trail
wanders through a beautiful wetland area that is a haven for birds,
butterflies, geese, rabbits, turtles and beavers. The wild flowers and native
river cane abound along with the rare Virginia Spiraea along the river.

Termination of this trail is at Salali (pronounced sa-la-li) Lane parking lot
and the Tassee Bridge across the Little T. Salali is Cherokee for squirrel, and
Tassee was a Cherokee village at the confluence of the Little T. and the
Cullasaga Rivers. Salali Lane can be accessed from Highlands Road next to the
Flea Market by entering Fox Ridge Rd and turning right at the Greenway sign.

Tassee Bridge is a beautiful arch bridge spanning the Little T and has been the site of numerous weddings and one memorial service.

Tallulah Falls Railroad Trail commences on the west bank of the river after crossing Tassee Bridge.

This historic railroad served residents and local commerce from the late1800's to mid 1900 between Franklin and Clayton, Ga. ( see link to Tallulah Falls RR) The engine was reversed downline and backed into the terminus at Depot St.

Tassee Park is reached after passing under Wells Grove Road highway bridge. This park has a picnic shelter, restrooms, a fishing pier and boat launch. LBJ Civilian Conservation Job Corps students built the barbeque pit and helped in pouring the slab for the shelter floor. They also built picnic tables and benches that are in the
shelters and along the trail. Funds for the play equipment here was donated by Andy
van Teeckelenburgh in memory of two of his relatives; APAC-Harrison
Construction Company; The David Linn Foundation; and the Federated Women's Club
of Franklin. Tassee Park may be accessed off Wells Grove Rd at Ulco Drive, near
the lumber yard.

The Tallulah Falls RR Trail follows closely the old railroad bed. One of its prettiest sections runs through arailroad cut in a mountain, giving the walker a sense of solitude and peace. It seems far removed from town and troubles, among the ferns and other shade plants.

Nickajack Bridge is a transplant from the Cullasaga Community. A wonderful old, one-lane supension bridge it is sorely missed by the Cullasaga Community, but everyone appreciates its new home on the Little T Greenway. The bridge links the Tallulah Falls RR Trail and Traders' Path, the next section.

As the shortest trail section, the name Traders' Path honors the first Anglos into the region—traders. Deer hides were at a premium in England for the manufacture of shoes, book bindings and leather aprons in the 18 th century. Traders traded for hides with
the Cherokees, often coming by boat along the Little T. The picturesque Nonah
(spruce) Bridge returns the walkers to the west side of the river and the start
of the Tartan Trail.

Tartan Trail picks up along the old railroad bed again, and terminates at the junction of the Little T and Cartoogachaye Creek, Franklin's fresh water source from the mountains. Along this section you will see a couple of Disc Golf baskets, part of a 9
“hole” Disc Golf Course to be completed in 2010. Competitive events will bring
many college students and other adults to the area.

Moving south from the River and Creek confluence walkers will find the only real hill on the trail, rising about 100 to 150' above the river level over a ridge and down into a flat area. The trail stops at a point 4.7 miles (from its beginning at Suli Marsh) on the bank of Cartoogachaye Creek. A short trail through a nice woodland will bring one to the Macon County Library parking lot two tenths of a mile before the current end. This woodland
area has a 3 mile mountain bike trail, zig zagging its way around a
small area and crossing the foot path. Cyclists may access this trail from the
Library parking lot, once the sewer project is completed.

FROG planners hope to one day extend the Greenway around a U bend in the Cartoogachaye Creek and end up at the County Recreation Park on 441 south. This completion will allow foot and bike travel from the center of Franklin to the Rec Park for citizens wishing to use the Park's swimming pool, ball fields, tennis courts, and picnic facilities, and to view the recently completed Veterans' Memorial.

The Bartram Trail Society hopes to use the Greenway as a portion of its famous
trail into northern Macon County once this last section is completed.