Monroe County was once called the “Cherokee Indian Territory”, where the National Capital of the Indian Nation was located. This special place “Chota” was located near the mouth of the Tellico River on the Little Tennessee River near historic Fort Loudon. The Indian nation covered 40,000 square miles and had a population of 25,000. According to Cherokee law, Chota was also known as a Peace Village meaning that no blood was shed within its borders.
In 1800 there were many whites of both sexes to marry Indians thereby obtaining land in what was then called the Interior. The Privacy Act of the Tennessee General Assembly created Monroe in 1819, from part of the Hiwassee Purchase from the Cherokee Indians.
Sequoyah Birthplace Museum is Tennessee’s only Native American-operated historical attraction. The art, myths, and legends of the Cherokee life are explained in modern state-of-the-art exhibits in the museum.
Located on Hwy 68 between Sweetwater & Madisonville you can find the Lost Sea and take a guided tour and boat ride. Lost Sea is the world’s largest underground lake. Designated as a Registered National Landmark, the earliest known visitor to the cave was a saber-toothed tiger, whose fossilized remains are now in the Museum of Natural History. A guided walk to the bottom of the cavern is rewarded with a trip in a glass bottom boat.
The Monroe County School System serves approximately 5,500 students on twelve campuses in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade. Monroe County is a predominantly rural county nestled in the foothills of the Cherokee National Forest and the Smoky Mountains. It is the fifth largest county in area in the state and includes the towns of Madisonville, Sweetwater, Tellico Plains and Vonore.
Hiwassee College is a private four-year, residential, liberal arts college, founded in 1849 and affiliated with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. The unique College is ideally located in Madisonville, TN between Knoxville and Chattanooga and adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The campus occupies 60 acres within a 400-acre area owned by the college.
The Hiwassee River is known for its fishing, the Hiwassee is regularly stocked with trout. A mile section of the river, from the railroad trestle at Reliance to the Big Bend parking area, is a designated trophy trout fishing area.
Coker Creek Village enjoys panning for gold, music, horseback riding, mountain biking, and whitewater rafting.
Tellico Lake is a great place for recreation. Picnic areas, overnight camping, and marina facilities occupy its 373 miles of shoreline.
The Cherohala Skyway passes through Monroe County and was opened and dedicated in 1996. The road has been designated a National Scenic Byway. This spectacular road crosses through the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee and the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina. The name “Cherohala” comes from the names of the two National Forests: “Chero” from the Cherokee and “hala” from the Nantahala. The Skyway connects Tellico Plains, Tennessee, with Robbinsville, North Carolina, and is about 40+ miles long. Take an unbelievably beautiful ride on a wide, paved 2-laned road with elevations ranging from 900 feet above sea level at the Tellico River in Tennessee to over 5400 feet above sea level at the Tennessee-North Carolina state line at Haw Knob.