Visitors to Tennessee can now steer themselves back in time to a world of bootleggers and moonshine, where country music has its roots and Daniel Boone led pioneers to settle the wilderness. The White Lightning Trail, part of the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program, is a mapped driving route beginning in Knoxville.
Officially launched on June 25, the trail includes 160 tourism sites in nine counties. The trail allows drivers to experience Knoxville and the surrounding area like locals, with stops at arts and crafts shops, restaurants, parks, and marinas as well as famous landmarks like the Knoxville Zoo, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, and the Cherokee Warriors’ Path. Museums dot the entire trail to provide a comprehensive look at local history, while kids will enjoy outdoorsy stops like a berry-picking farm and a corn maze.
The trail also celebrates the ironic American pride in its Prohibition-busting bootleggers who peddled “White Lightning” moonshine. The trail winds down the back roads bootleggers used to transport contraband whiskey by night, allowing modern day travelers to follow in their 1920s stock-car skidmarks.
Part of the route covers the East Tennessee Crossing, a National Scenic Byway with incredible views of the Cumberland Gap.
Music lovers should note that the trail meanders through the hometowns of legendary country music crooners including “King of Country Music” Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, Carl Smith, and Kenny Chesney.
Photo: driving outside Knoxville, Frank Kehren via Flickr
- Nat Geo Expeditions