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As many of you know, I am a sucker for geographical and map oddities. I am trying to visit all 3,143 counties in the United States, have been to 49 states (Hawaii trip canceled because of COVID-19) and have visited what could be the craziest international border out there.
I also like to seek out places where 3 or more states meet. (Yes, I have been to 4 Corners — where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico meet — and while I’m glad I visited, it is definitely a tourist trap / ripoff 🙂 )
What Is a State Tripoint?
A state tripoint is a place where 3 states come together. Most people are aware of 4 Corners, but fewer people know that there are 61 spots in the United States where 3 states meet together at a single point. Many of them, like IN-KY-OH near my house, are in the middle of rivers or lakes, but 38 of them are on dry land. I haven’t (yet!) planned a trip solely to visit state tripoints, but I do like to stop by when I am near one for other reasons.
By convention, tripoints are listed alphabetically by state, which is why we’ll be talking about the AL-GA-TN tripoint in this post and not GA-TN-AL or TN-AL-GA. The Highpointers Tri-Point Guide also numbers state tripoints, roughly going from west to east. The Alabama / Georgia / Tennessee tripoint is listed there as Tripoint #23.
How to Get to the AL-GA-TN Tripoint
Many state tripoints are remote or difficult to access, but the place where Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee come together is pretty easy to get to, with fairly easy access from Interstate 24. I decided to check in out on a recent trip.
Here are driving directions to the AL-GA-TN tripoint:
- Traveling East on I-24, get off at Exit 152 and follow US 72 south to TN 156 East
- Traveling West on I-24, get off at Exit 161 and follow TN 156 West
Once you are on TN 156, turn south on Macedonia Road and drive about 0.7 miles. Then turn right (west) on Huckabee Lane and go 0.3 miles. You’ll pass the aptly named “Stateline Cemetery.” These roads are rural but paved — my Honda Civic had no problem getting to the cemetery, and there is plenty of parking available. Google Maps takes you right to the spot without any problem. There is a well-marked trail heading off into the woods, with a metal sign near the entrance into the woods.
Why Georgia Keeps Trying to Sue Tennessee
Wikipedia calls the AL/GA/TN tripoint THE Tri-State Corner, which seems a bit ambitious given that there are 37 other state tripoints on land that are, by definition, Tri-State corners.
In any case, the border between Georgia and Tennessee was originally supposed to follow the 35th degree of north latitude. But when the original surveys were done in the 1800s, the marker that was originally placed was about a mile south of that line. So for hundreds of years, people have been living on land “in Tennessee” that Georgia thinks should belong to its state. This wouldn’t be nearly as big a deal, but moving the border back up to the 35th parallel would allow Georgia access to the Tennessee River via Nickajack Lake. Georgia has tried to sue Tennessee several times over the years, but so far it has not come to anything.
Standing in 3 States at Once
Once you make your way to Stateline Cemetery, follow the marked trail. About 150 feet into the woods, the trail branches. You want to follow the path to the left (heading generally southwest). When I was there in 2021, this path was marked with orange ties around the trees. You should be also able to see the following marker:
I believe the Paradise Pointe Resort is a hotel / resort in the NE corner of Alabama whose land abuts this tripoint. There is a large natural stone foundation just to the west of where the tripoint is marked. There is a trail that continues off to the west, and you can see a plastic picnic table up on top of the natural stoneworks, but this is marked as No Trespassing / property of Paradise Pointe Resort.
My son and I were a bit confused because other than the big metal archway we didn’t see an actual surveying marker. The only thing we saw was this, which certainly seemed suspicious:
I decided this had to be the spot so we took the obligatory “standing in 3 states at once” shot:
After getting to our hotel, I did some additional research and found that we’d indeed been at Tri-State Corner and that apparently the marker has gone missing. It has gone missing before — some people say that Georgia or Georgians keep stealing it as part of the boundary dispute …
Been to any state tripoints? Leave your reports in the comments.
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