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Quanassee Path trail sign along natural area.

The Quanassee Path immerses visitors in the history of the Cherokee who lived in Clay County. It enables people to exercise their mind and body, while also bridging the gap between past and present.

The Quanassee Path

Hayesville, NC

Clay County

The Town of Hayesville is honoring the former Cherokee town of Quanassee and promoting active living with an urban walking path through its historic downtown.


Clay County Communities Revitalization Association (CCCRA) is helping preserve Native American Cherokee culture by creating a two-mile Cherokee history path through Hayesville showcasing five historic sites. Commemorated in 2014, this paved trail is marked with Quanassee Path signs and takes pedestrians through historical Cherokee sites. Each site includes a description, brief history, and highlights its importance to Cherokee culture. The trail takes walkers, runners, and bikers through the Cherokee Homestead exhibit, the botanical gardens, past the public library, and down to the Hiwassee River bank. Walkers enjoy a complete tour of historic Hayesville and newer downtown streets.


CCCRA integrated healthy living and Cherokee heritage preservation by making it possible to learn while moving.

CCCRA is an all-volunteer nonprofit with one mission: to improve Clay County. Preserving the Cherokee culture is a key part of improving the community, and in a county where majority of the land area is forested, creating trails is a perfect way promote culture and enjoying the outdoors. CCCRA partnered with Western Carolina University to create the Cherokee Homestead in 2010 and the Quanassee Path in 2014. Incorporating active living into Hayesville was challenging because the community lacked crosswalks, sidewalks, and trails. Integrating trails with Cherokee heritage preservation makes it possible for schools, locals of all ages, and visitors to get exercise while learning about the Cherokee culture.


For other towns, cities, and organizations looking to incorporate walking trails into their communities, use your culture as inspiration. Take a story, an event, or an historic landmark to create a walking path or trail. It doesn’t have to be two miles for it to be impactful. Figure out what story you want to tell, find community partners, and plan your path. It can be as simple as putting signs through a historic neighborhood, or as big as putting in a trail through a forest.




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