Discover the Murphy River Walk and Canoe Trails!
The approximate 3 miles of easy walking trails start at the far end of Konehete Park along the Valley River, and end at the Old L&N Depot by the Hiwassee River bridge.
Enjoy walking through Konehete Park then along the river past the historic Leach Place and the abandoned railroad trestle to the Historic L&N Depot. During much of the year, you can also enjoy the Rustic Loop along the Hiwassee River.
Initiated as a multi-phase master plan concept in July of 2002, the Murphy River Walk project was formally endorsed by the Mayor & Town Council of Murphy, and by the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners, in January 2003. Phase 1 opened in the fall of 2003 at Konehete Park, and a master plan for its future phases was completed by the fall of 2004. Step by step, the River Walk was completed all the way in to the Old L&N Depot on Railroad Street at the Hiwassee Street river bridge in 2010.
Enhancement and improvement activities continue on with the trail surfaces, native landscaping and interpretive markers along the way. The approximate 3-mile trail carries the potential of far reaching benefits to the community- health and recreational enhancements to Konehete Park and the Wellness center facility, economic renewal stimulus for the historic town center, eco and heritage tourism, environmental conservation, cultural and historic preservation, native plant and wildlife education, and more.
The project master plan has been completed from Konehete Park all the way to the Old L&N Depot in town. The approximate 3 mile walking trail (6 miles round trip, or however you wish to take it) follows the Hiwassee River and the Valley River, which meet to form the back waters of Lake Hiwassee and surround the historic town center of Murphy, the Cherokee County seat.
As the seasons change, and as the river and lake waters rise and recede, the River Walk & Canoe Trails tend to change character as well. You’ll find it a beautiful connection with native plant life, bird and fish species, and the waters of two rivers meeting to form a lake. The natural wonders are breathtaking any time of year.
Fund-raising for the care and maintenance of your River Walk is a constant need.
You can help.
Your tax deductible contribution is gratefully accepted at any time, and in any amount, payable to:
attn: Heritage Partners Treasurer
P. O. Box 1152
Murphy NC 28906
Student Projects – Earth Day on the River Walk – photo collage courtesy of Phil Mattox
Watch for the continued progress, as in addition to ongoing trail maintenance and enhancement activities the project team has been focused on the following projects:
•New in 2015-16: Native Landscape Enchancements – in partnership with the Dub & Murray Martin Foundation (grant), and the Hanging Dog Valley Nursery (Johnny & Pam Strawn), you will be seeing even MORE beauty in the River Walk’s natural/native landscape. After all, it’s what the River Walk, and its benefits to this community, is all about.
•New in 2015: Outdoor Performance Pavilion – in partnership with the Cherokee County Arts Council (CCAC), the River Walk is proud to announce the NEW outdoor performance pavilion, located behind the Old L&N Depot and Old Hackney Warehouse. WOW! The June Arts, Rivers & Music festival was its first public event use – the performers and crowd loved it!
•New in 2014-15: On Trail Directional Signage– constructed from re-claimed cedar from trees lost from the Doyle’s Cedar Hill Restaurant property in the tornado that hit a few years back, on-trail directional signage has and continues to be added for identification and way-finding on the various trail segments. The signs are hand-crafted and installed by volunteers.
•New in 2014-15: Covered Bridge, a TVA project on the River Walk – constructed in 2014 by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) under the direction of Kemmy Garrett is the new covered bridge connecting the Fisherman’s Loop with the main trail. The River Walk assumed responsibility for staining the new bridge, as well as its continued maintenance and upkeep.
•3rd printing in 2014: River Walk Map Brochure – with the first and second printings gobbled up, funds from The Cherokee County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) were secured for a trail map brochure update and reprint. The latest brochure/maps can be found here on line (top left links), or in hard copy at the Murphy Visitors Center downtown on Tennessee Street, the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce on the 4-lane, or at the Hiwassee Valley Pool & Wellness Center at Konehete Park, in Murphy.
•New in 2013-2014: The Fisherman’s Loop – clean up of this area just below the Health Dept. was completed in 2013, with an access trail to the Valley River that followed, making way for a new trail loop on the Valley River and a connecting bridge to the trail down the road. Thanks to the Dub and Murray Martin Cherokee and Clay County Trust for the start up grant in 2013 towards the cost of this project.
A Footbridge Over the River [photo courtesy of Nic Oliver]
•New in 2012-2013: Confluence Loop & Hiwassee River Overlook Construction – the Confluence loop at the convergence of the Valley and Hiwassee rivers forming Lake Hiwassee is one of the most beautiful scenic areas on the trail. An overlook deck out on to the Hiwassee River also has been completed, not far from the Old L&N Depot trail head. Grants were awarded by the Dub and Murray Martin Cherokee and Clay Counties Trust toward the cost of these projects.
•New in 2012: Interpretive Signage Stations – The River Walk now features both heritage and ecological interpretive signage along the trail. A grant was awarded in 2011 by the OEO Small Growing Opportunities grant program for the project, and a prior grant from the Cherokee Heritage Foundation for the Leech Place overlook signage.