41 Miles / 2100 Feet of Climbing
Explore the varied scenery of rural East Tennessee as you ride between two small towns, stopping at a farmers market and winery along the way!
Potential Route Modifications: This route can be shortened to 32 miles and 1600 feet of climbing by skipping the Delano Road detour to the winery and farmers market. You can also lengthen this route and add some variety to it if you have a bike suitable for gravel roads. Two optional gravel loops are described at the end of the narrative below.
We love this route, as it offers a glimpse into the rural character of our region, bridging two small towns and providing a variety of settings in between, including a farmers market and winery!
We've mapped the route starting at the Farmhouse Family Restaurant in Etowah since it offers easy access to the backroads and provides a great place to refuel after the ride! There are of course several other good restaurants in Etowah that make great finish lines, and you can also ride this route in reverse, starting and finishing in Benton with a pit stop in Etowah halfway through. Kathy's Cownty Kitchen makes a good start/finish in Benton.
While the Farmhouse does have plenty of on-street parking around it, it's not open in the mornings. So if you start your ride early, you may want to pop into a nearby gas station for a pre-ride restroom break before launching your ride from the restaurant.
We should also note that this route has a number of turns on the front end. It looks like a lot in this narrative, but it's really not too bad when riding. The turns are all pretty straightforward and the roads are low traffic. And once you get past the first four miles of turns, it's clear sailing all the way to Benton!
Once you get going, follow Union Avenue over to 13th Street and take it to 14th Street via a quick left/right jog on Green Street. 14th Street will give you a nice little uphill warm-up before dropping you down to Tanner Body Shop Road/County Road 801 where you'll take a left. (The roads on this route are sometimes marked with the county road number and sometimes with the street name, so we will use both to identify them.)
Shortly after, you'll turn right at the stop sign onto Parkstown Road/Co Rd 802. Parkstown Road runs due west and intersects once again with Tanner Body Shop Road.
Turn right on Tanner Body Shop Road and follow it to Pinehurst Road/Co Rd 813 where you'll turn left and work your way uphill to the stop sign at Wesleyanna Goodsprings Road/Co Rd 609. Take a left here (use caution as it's a little hard to see traffic on your right side) and look for New Bethel Church Road/Co Rd 790 on the right. The turn comes in about half a mile and there's no stop sign.
New Bethel Church Road runs straight west for about a mile before coming to a "T" intersection with Bradley Road/Co Rd 784. Once you reach this point, you are officially in the country and the scenery will noticeably change from neighborhoods to farmland.
You'll turn right on Bradley Road and launch straight into a pretty good climb. As the road bends to the left, the hill crests and you'll roll down to Co Rd 783 and a beautiful pastoral view.
Once you turn left on Co Rd 783, you're good to go for miles without having to make any more turns. The only interruption you'll have over the next eleven and a half miles is a slight left/right jog as you cross Bowater Road/TN 163. Otherwise it's just miles and miles of gorgeous farmland and rolling blacktop.
A couple of miles after crossing the Hiwassee River, you'll drop down into civilization and come to a "T" intersection with Town Creek Road in Benton. Turn left here and roll down to Main Street where you'll take a left and go to the traffic light at Hwy 411. Crossing to the other side of Hwy 411 will take you to a gas station for a quick pit stop, or to Kathy's Kownty Kitchen for a more substantial lunch break.
Once you're done with your break, head back across Hwy 411 on Main Street and then turn right onto Town Creek Road the way you came into town. However, this time instead of staying on Town Creek Road go straight up School House Hill (which is definitely a hill!).
Stay to the right at the top of the hill and follow Grammar Lane down to Etowah Road, where you'll turn left. Etowah Road runs parallel to Hwy 411 and becomes McClure Road after you cross over Grove Road. Be sure to veer left at mile 18.7 to stay on McClure Road. Soon after this bend in the road, you'll come to a "T" intersection with Patty Road.
Turn right on Patty Road and follow this beautiful road a couple of miles and back across the Hiwassee River until it brings you back to Dentville Road, which is the long stretch of road that brought you into Benton on the first half of the ride. (It was called Co Rd 783 when you turned onto it early in the ride.)
Turn right onto Dentville Road and a mile and a half later turn right onto Delano Road. This is a great road that rolls through beautiful farmland and leads to both the Delano Community Farm Market and to Savannah Oaks Winery.
In season, the produce at the Farm Market is amazing and well worth a stop. It's also very popular so keep an eye out for vehicles both on Delano Road and on the little road leading to the market. Please note that this is Mennonite country, so please make sure your jersey is fully zipped up and be respectful with your camera. (The farmland scenery at the market is definitely photo-worthy but please don't take pictures of people.)
About a mile down the road from the Farm Market is Savannah Oaks Winery. (As with the Farm Market, use caution riding up the driveway to the winery.) Savannah Oaks is a great place to take a break as it offers free daily wine tasting, along with Amish-made butter, cheese and meats. It has a nice view from the front porch and is definitely worth the detour!
After a fun visit to the market and winery, follow Delano Road back to Dentville Road and turn right. In half a mile turn right again onto Linsdale Road. (The street sign is sometimes missing from this road, so be looking for the turn. It's the next road up from Delano Road.) Like Delano Road, Linsdale Road will take you through beautiful farm country along with some nice wooded sections. It runs for a little over 3 miles before coming to a "T" intersection with Bowater Road/TN 163.
Bowater Road will be busier than the rest of the roads you've been riding, so proceed with caution when you make the right turn onto this road. Fortunately you won't be on Bowater very long (less than a quarter mile). Take the first left you come to, which is Coghill Road/Co Rd 850. Coghill Road may also have a little traffic (relatively speaking) so keep an eye out for passing vehicles.
A mile after turning onto Coghill Road, turn left onto McAllister Road/Co Rd 804, which will immediately head uphill. It's a short climb though, and you may want to stop towards the top of the climb at the church parking lot, which offers a nice view of the mountains behind you. You'll spend the next three miles on McAllister Road which is a beautiful road with some nice views of the mountains along the way. Just be sure to take a left at mile 38 to stay on McAllister/Co Rd 804. And also be prepared for the toughest climb of the ride about half a mile after this turn!
McAllister Road will bring you to a "T" intersection with Tanner Body Shop Road/Co Rd 801, where you'll take a left. Take Tanner Body Shop Road straight through the four-way stop with Parkstown Road/Co Rd 802, and then take the next right onto 14th Street (which may not have a street sign).
This neighborhood should look familiar as you retrace your steps through the left/right jog on Green Street to 13th Street and then back to the Farmhouse on Union Ave where you can relax and recover with some fine Southern comfort food!
Optional Gravel Loop 1 (adds 4.5 miles): At Mile 9.3, turn right onto Friendship Church Road, and then right again onto Buckner Road just past the church. Continue on Buckner Road until it "T's" into Piney Grove Road/Co Rd 750. Turn left onto Co Rd 750 and then left again in about a mile and a half onto Chestuee Road. After two miles on Chestuee Road, turn right onto Wooten Road and then left onto Frog Hollow Road, which will bring you back to Dentville Road where you'll turn right to continue on the regular route.
Optional Gravel Loop 2 (adds 0.2 miles): At Mile 22, turn right onto Columbus Road and follow it 3.5 miles until it intersects with Delano Road. Take a left onto Delano Road and then an immediate right in order to continue north on Columbus Road. (Or take the detour to the winery and farmers market, and then continue north on Columbus Road.) Columbus Road intersects with Linsdale Road a mile later where you'll turn right to continue on the regular route.