Barbra McRae Cherokee Heritage Apple Trail

Do you have a favorite variety of apple? There are over 2,500 types of apples growing in the United States, but did you know that several of those varieties were developed by Cherokee people who lived in the southern Appalachians prior to their removal to Oklahoma?


The Cherokee farmers were quick to adopt domestic fruit tree cultivation as soon as the produce arrived on the continent. Thanks to research by Barbara McRae, we know that apple husbandry and breeding were common around Noquisiyi and growers were very focused on their craft, developing new cultivars that proved desirable to orchardists. Some of those varieties include Junaluska, Alarka, Beecher, and Nickajack. 


Nikwasi Initiative will plant several of the cultivars developed by Cherokee farmers, creating a living link to history that will provide visitors with fun and engaging ways to learn, and maybe the chance to enjoy a nice crisp apple too!  


The Barbra McRae Cherokee Heritage Apple Trail will be located along the Little Tennessee River at the half-mile marker on the Macon County Greenway when entered from the Big Bear Pavilion. It will be within walking distance of the Noquisiyi Mound. 

Future Site of the Barbra McRae Cherokee Heritage Apple Trail. 
Shapefile courtesy of Elisabeth Spratt

Thank You

This project is made possible in part by a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership. Learn more about them by visiting their website at


The Percy B. Ferebee Fund • Foragable Communities • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

• Friends of the Greenway 

Tribalseal_final 1.png