The Appalachian Trail becomes this gravel road near Interstate 40.
County seat: Newport
Cocke County is one of seven east Tennessee counties that contains parts of the Appalachian Trail, which runs 2,175 miles through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. There are people who have hiked the ENTIRE Appalachian Trail; it takes about four to six months.
In Cocke County, the Appalachian Trail crosses Interstate 40, which means that, here, the best known footpath in America crosses one of the busiest interstates in America. Now, one would think that this contrast would merit a plaque, or a sign, or something. But we're sorry to say that the only clue that the Appalachian Trail goes under Interstate 40 is a white speck on the traffic sign, meant to assure hikers of the way.
The fire tower at Mount Cammerer
Having said that, we strongly recommend hiking the trail in Cocke County, because it is here, on the Appalachian Trail and along the Tennessee/North Carolina border, that you would find the fire tower at Mount Cammerer. It's a good looking fire tower, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression.
Also regarding Cocke County: You may have seen a television show called Christy
, about a woman who leaves her home to go teach in a fictional place called Cutters Gap. Well, it really happened in Cocke County
. The novel Christy was written by Catherine Marshall. She wrote the book based on the experiences of her mother, Leonora Whitaker Wood, who in 1910 left her home in Asheville, North Carolina
, to teach at a Presbyterian mission in Del Rio, Tennessee
. The book tells about the many hardships that “Christy” (Wood) encountered and how her faith in God helped her overcome them.
PHOTO: Asheville Citizen-Times
Finally, Cocke County was the home of one of the finest writers of stories and books about Tennessee. Her name was Wilma Dykeman; among her best-known words were The French Broad, The Tall Woman
, and Tennessee: A Bicentennial History
. From 1981 until 2002, Dykeman was the official Tennessee state historian, a post now held by Walter Durham of Sumner County.
to read Dykeman's 2006 obituary in the Asheville Citizen-Times.
The Cocke County Courthouse
And here is a photo of the Cocke County Courthouse.