Visitors to the Reliance Historic District and scenic Hiwassee River Valley can stay in the historic Watchman's House, built in 1891 on the north side of the river adjacent to the tracks for the new L&N Rail line. The frame cottage was built for use of the railroad watchman, whose job was to watch for signs of fire on the nearby wooden railroad bridge after the coal-fired engines passed over. Barrels of water were kept on the trestle so he could put out any fire that developed. The cottage, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been meticulously restored and furnished in keeping with its historic significance.
The Watchman's House is located in the heart of the Cherokee National Forest on the north side of the Hiwassee River. Nearby hiking trails, including the John Muir Trail, range from easy to strenuous. Webb Brothers Float Service offers rentals of rafts, tubes and funyaks for floating the river, which is also a popular trout fishing spot. Opportunities also abound for picnicking, scenic rides, photography (including spectacular wildflowers as well as scenic beauty), and bird watching. The Hiwassee River bridge has a pedestrian lane.