Baker Hollow Branch (East Lakeshore Trail) - Hiking

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The Baker Hollow Trail is a 3 mile route one way, which follows along the eastern shoreline of one of the most picturesque lakes in east Tennessee: the Tellico Reservoir. Part of a larger system of trails, the East Lakeshore Trail, Baker Hollow is dominated by upland hardwoods and pines. History is plentiful along the Tellico Reservoir, as this area was once occupied by Cherokee Overhill villages and early settlers. This hike takes you to Mizell Bluff where the view to the north of the Cumberland Mountains will leave you wanting to explore the other 30 miles of trails in this corridor.

Written by

Suzanne Fisher


6.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

21.5 miles


2 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

2 hours

2-4 hours


All Seasons

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits




The East Lakeshore Trail is a National Recreation Trail made up of nine contiguous trail sections (ranging from 1.5 to 5 miles) along 30 miles of the eastern shore of Tellico Reservoir. Once farmland, it was retained by TVA along the Little Tennessee River as it swelled to form Tellico Reservoir following completion of Tellico Dam in 1979. A walk back through history awaits both hikers and runners as you trace this land. The most recent addition to this trail system is the Baker Hollow Branch. This easy 3 mile route takes you along the shoreline, through the forest, and back into several hollows before providing a spectacular view of the water with the mountains in the background from the top of Mizell Bluff. 

What Makes It Great

The views of the water and the mountains make this a great trail. The East Lakeshore Trail is at a gateway to both Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest. If you love to hike, bike, or paddle, then pack up all of your gear because there are so many outdoor recreational opportunities. If you decide to paddle down the Little T, you can hop out and tackle the trail because there are three signed boat-landings along other branches of the East Lakeshore Trail. Another great thing about this trail is that it is easily accessible during the winter months when trails in the Smokies are often closed due to icy road conditions. This trail is loved by locals, but you won’t find the crowds that you find in the Smokies. Mizell Bluff makes this branch of the trail system special. The first few hundred feet of the Baker Hollow Trail run along an old county road bed that existed before the creation of Tellico Reservoir. Around 200 feet into the trail, you will see several large oak trees and steps on the right leading to the Davis Ferry Branch Trail. Stay on the Baker Hollow Trail and follow the white blazes through the upper hardwood/pine forest. Along this portion of the trail, look northwest across the lake to see Tellico Dam—1.4 miles away, the forested Tellico Dam Reservation, and Hall Bend Habitat Protection Area. Follow your gaze to the northeast to see Mizell Bluff in the distance, a rock cliff located in the bend of the original Little Tennessee River. The trail follows the contour of the land around Baker Hollow and skirts young forests that were once agricultural fields along the top of the ridge. After the first mile, you will cross the longest foot bridge on the East Lakeshore Trail system at the back of Baker Hollow. All of the trail is hand-dug by volunteers and by the Watershed Association of the Tellico Reservoir up until this point of the trail. Once you cross the footbridge, this leads into a recently completed section of the trail by the US Forest Service, Trails Unlimited. The land around this portion of the trail was farmed around the turn of the century before the creation of Tellico Reservoir. The chert rock along the trail is indicative of areas where topsoil was removed and no trees existed to keep it in place. Cross the second footbridge at the back of a hollow on the second mile of the trail and walk a half- mile to the overlook at Mizell Bluff, a gain of roughly 130 feet. From the spectacular panoramic view atop the bluff you can see old silos that once served a farm now covered by Tellico. You can also see the earthen dam and several of the rip-rap covered saddle dams for Tellico Dam from this view point. Once you have soaked in enough of the view from the bluff, follow the white blazes and make sure that you don’t follow the old road bed that cuts over to the right. The cut-off to the parking lot where you left your buddy's vehicle will be a little over a half-mile beyond the bluff up the trail. If you stay on the trail and continue straight ahead, you will go onto Canal Branch trail that leads 1.5 miles down to the man-made canal linking the Little Tennessee River to the Tennessee River at Fort Loudoun Dam.

Who is Going to Love It

This is a quick trail offering great views and is perfect for families and hikers/runners wanting to get in a workout at the beginning/end of the day. Combine this trail with Canal Branch or Davis Ferry Branch to increase your distance. 

Trail runners will appreciate the relatively new tread, as portions of this trail were recently completed in 2014, while the first portion from Baker Hollow trailhead was completed in 2013. The trail hasn’t suffered much wear and there is no need to worry about stumbling over roots. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Coming from I-75, take exit 81 to US 321 south to Lenoir City. Baker Hollow trailhead- travel southeast on US 321, seven miles to W. Antioch Church Rd on the right. The trailhead is 2.2 miles down W. Antioch Church Rd where the road ends near Wind River Marina. Mizell Branch Trailhead- a parking lot is currently under construction, but you can park along the road shoulder until it is completed in spring, 2015. From I-75, travel 5.1 miles southeast on US 321 turn right onto Jackson Bend Rd. Marked trailhead parking will be a half-mile down the road on the right.

Continue past the golf course to the Baker Hollow Trailhead at the end of W. Antioch Church Road. Do not block the gate to the marina. If you plan on hiking one way (3 miles), it is advised to leave one vehicle at the terminating trailhead and drive your hiking buddy back to their vehicle at the trailhead you left from. Alternatively, you could hike roundtrip back to your vehicle. A parking lot is planned for spring, 2015 for the Mizell Branch Trailhead, which is the terminating trailhead for this hike. 

The trail is on public land, open to hunting. Hikers should consider wearing fluorescent orange while using the trail late September through mid-January. 

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Baker Hollow Branch - East Lakeshore Trail

Loudon, TN,
35.765549, -84.235622

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