Old Copper Road

Copperhill, Tennessee 37317

Old Copper Road

Old Copper Road Professional Review and Guide

"This is an easy trail, great for beginner riders and fun for just about everyone. The trail follows the last existing segment of the Old Copper Road which connected the copper mines in Copperhill with the railroads in Cleveland.

It is mostly flat and follows right beside the upper Ocoee River with its swimming holes and rapids. You'll start and finish at the site of the 1996 Olympic whitewater slalom course which is now home to the Ocoee Whitewater Center. Highlights: Designated bike trail, pea gravel, roots, rocks, Ocoee River."

More Old Copper Road Professional Reviews and Guides

"This nearly level day hike starts at the popular Ocoee Whitewater Center in the Cherokee National Forest. Trace a restored section of the Old Copper Road, once used to transport copper ore from Ducktown to a rail line in Cleveland. Today you walk alongside the rocky Ocoee River, passing open sunning rocks and beneath wooded flats, tracing the same route of those 17 decades distant. The path is level, well marked, and easy, making it fun for anyone.

From the 30-minute courtesy parking area in front of the whitewater center, pick up a concrete trail winding downhill toward the Ocoee River. Look for a sign indicating the Old Copper Road Trail near the huge footbridge crossing the Ocoee. Come alongside the river then immediately cross Laurel Creek on a series of flat stepping stones. The pea gravel path shortly comes to the Blue Hole, a deep river pool popular with swimmers. By the way, water releases from the upstream Apalachia Dam can come without warning, so if you sense the river rising, head for shore. Large sunning rocks are scattered about . The river here is dam controlled and most often has low flow, exposing an inordinate number of reddish rocks. Keep upriver on the wide, level path shaded by shortleaf pines, holly, mountain laurel, and river birch."

"Few trails in Appalachia can be ridden as easily as this 2.4-mile out-and-back doubletrack (4.8 miles total), which follows the first road built into the Copper Basin. What it lacks in difficulty and technical challenge, though, is compensated by its scenery and history. So much copper was found that it sped construction of a road to Ducktown, TN, six miles east of the Ocoee White Water Center trailhead.

Old Copper Road went from the Copper Basin to Cleveland, TN, a distance of 33 miles, where the copper was off-loaded from mule teams and loaded onto trains. All but the remaining 2.4-mile stretch was paved. The trail is being restored to the road's original 1851 construction. The trail follows the Ocoee River, squeezed between Little Frog Mountain and Licklog Ridge."

Old Copper Road Reviews

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This is a fabulous hike that is easily accessible from the Whitewater Center. I have hiked it twice – it is a fairly easy hike; it is probably rated as moderate just due to the fact that it’s not super-short and there is a bit of incline in some places. The trail is very well maintained. My first hike was on Black Friday 2017, when I participated in a group #OptOutside hike sponsored by the Hiawassee Ocoee State Park. That was great, because the park ranger shared interesting facts about this history of the trail, which actually was used to transfer copper out of mines in Ducktown many years ago. My second hike was in early spring, when the foliage was just starting to fill in. I look forward to going back to see the fall foliage this year.
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If you are new to riding and looking for an enjoyable ride, check this one out. There are lots of rocks and roots on the trail to help you get the feel of your suspension and several stretches of smooth graveled path to allow you to ride at speed. If you are experienced, it is a great warm-up for some more challenging trails close by (check at the desk of the Whitewater center for maps of new trails across the river) or a simple ride if you are short on time trying to squeeze in one more ride on your way out from the numerous trails in the area. Either way it's a good trail for what it is: short, fairly simple, and beside the river.
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A great place to get familiar with single track riding. A fair amount of rocks and roots to test your ability to unclip your shoes in a hurry. Average speed along the trail was around 5 mph, with a few bursts up to 15. Watch for hikers and swimmers. There are several swimming holes along the trail. Time out and back: 1.5 hours.

Old Copper Road Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
80 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
1 hour - intermediate level
1,200 feet
Trailhead Elevation
1,280 feet
Top Elevation

Activity Feed

Oct 2018