ERWIN - Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said a family of four that went missing during a Monday evening hike was found safe Tuesday morning.
Hensley said a Washington County man, his wife and their two small children turned up near the Engle's Roadside Restaurant in Erwin at approximately 10 a.m. Tuesday.
The family went to hike the Clarks Creek area, which is located off Tennessee Highway 107 in Washington County, on Monday, Hensley said. The sheriff said the family went to view the waterfalls in the area and have a picnic before it became dark and they lost their way. Hensley said the cellular phone the family had died, and that the Clarks Creek area has several trails.
Hensley said he received a call from Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal early Tuesday morning regarding the missing family. Hensley said officers from his department met with Graybeal and Washington County deputies and, as they were getting a search team together, authorities received a call from one of the missing family's relatives who advised that the missing hikers were safe.
The family had hiked through Clarks Creek, across Rich Mountain, and ended up in the Lower Higgins area of Unicoi County, Hensley said. According to Hensley, after coming out of the woods in the Lower Higgins area, the family walked to the nearby Engle's Roadside Restaurant where they contacted a family member.
Hensley said one of his officers picked the family up from the restaurant Tuesday morning and transported them back to the Clarks Creek area. He said each member of the family was uninjured.
"It turned out to be a good, happy ending," Hensley said.