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Chilhowee Launch
MSL 2,200 ft
AGL 1,350 ft
Glide to LZ 4:1 (Trees all the way!)
Rating/Skills Minimum skilled H2 or H3 Good Flat Slope Launch Skills a MUST!
Wind Directions W, WNW, NW


Season Year round, best in Fall and Spring
Restrictions Obey all National Forset rules.
Radio Frequencies Pilot - 149.700 Park Service Emergency - 151.160
Site Type Club
Fees Yearly $40? US
Contact Southern Para Pilots via there e-Group


<googlemap lat="35.1348" lon="-84.6221" zoom="14">

35.1348, -84.6221, Launch </googlemap>


Chilhowee Mt. Is a slope/slot launch site located in the scenic Cherokee National Forest near Benton, TN, only a 1.5 hour drive from Henson's Gap or LMFP. This beautiful site was once popular with hang gliders, but is now maintained and flown by a friendly and flight-loving group of paragliders. Chilhowee’s XC potential is excellent, the scenery is beautiful, and other recreation opportunities are within a few minutes drive.

For those who like white-water paddling, Chilhowee is within a few miles of both the Hiwassee and Ocoee rivers. The Chilhowee Gliderport, a sailplane club, is located about 7 miles north of the launch. Sailplanes regularly join HG and PG at the site. Finally, there are hundreds of miles of trails for biking, hiking, and horse-back ridding.

Sufficiently skilled hang gliders are completely welcome at the site!


Hang gliding at Chilhowee was pioneered by pilots from Tree Toppers and Lookout perhaps is the early 90’s (persons and dates are unknown). The Southern Para Pilots now run the site and fly it regularly.

Hardly any hang gliders fly at Chilhowee any more, only a few HG pilots have flown the site regularly in the last few years.


Chilhowee is a mountain ridge site with a W facing slope/slot. The south end of the mountain is a plateau a few miles wide, while the north end towards the Hiwassee gorge becomes a sharp peak. Ridges extend for many miles to the north of the site with a few gaps.

Soaring is via ridge and thermal lift. Occasionally a convergence will set up over the plateau and ridgeline. Wonder-winds occur on W and NW wind days.

CAUTIONS: A north wind at Chilhowee can cause dangerous turbulence just in front of launch. The terrain makes a N cross flow almost straight in, but the air is very turbulent.

There are no good bailout LZ’s between launch and the primary LZ (all trees), so watch your position and altitude. Paragliders don’t seem to mind the trees…


Chilhowee is operated and maintained by the Southern Para Pilots (SPP) ( The SPP pays the site insurance, so it is polite to get in touch with a club member if you would like to fly there.

USHPA membership is required. SPP lists the site as a H2; however, Chilhowee really demands an experienced H2 or a H3 with good slope launch skills.

Chilhowee is not an appropriate site for first mountain flights

For shuttle, body rides are no problem. PG guys seldom have roof racks so they wont be able to haul your wing up the hill!

Site Records

Flex wing Distance/Duration – Record unknown, but flights have been made to Maryville, TN and beyond.

Rigid wing Distance/Duration – Record unknown and it is possible that a rigid has never flown this site.

Wonderwind flight small.jpg