The 44 mile mixed-surface Hiwassee Footbridge route is set in a fascinating and gorgeous area along the state designated class III scenic Hiawassee River. The gravel climbs are ballistic and the scenery is spectacular. Two long paved descents worthy of an aero-tuck will delight your inner roadie.
The Hiwassee is a State of Tennesse designated class III scenic river. This is an outdoor paradise and the route only starts to take advantage of what’s available.
Highlights of the route include the 450 foot long footbridge from which the route takes its name, a ride through a gorge and a 1200 foot climb from the “Hi” to the top of Buck Bald on a gravel shelf road known Old State Highway 68. Do not miss the opportunity to visit the summit of the bald with its 360° views of the surrounding mountains.
Expect well groomed gravel and light traffic dominated by groups of touring motorcycles when on pavement. The ice cream shop at mile 17 shouldn’t be missed on a hot day.
The area also offers fishing, kayaking/rafting, many campgrounds and the Hiawassee Scenic Railroad operates along the river. Incorporating the Hiawassee Footbridge route into a multi-day excursion for family and friends would make a great weekend getaway.
- Free parking is available at Big Bend Recreation Area on the north bank of the Hiawassee River. This is a busy site and additional parking is available further along Powerhouse Rd. As a last resort, one can park at the boat ramp in Reliance.
- There is a store stop at mile 17.
- Loss Creek crosses Fingerboard Rd at mile 34. This is your best bet for filtering water after crossing the river at mile 20.