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SR 71 begins at an intersection with US 41/US 76/SR 3 in Dalton. South of the intersection, the roadway continues as North Glenwood Avenue. The route briefly heads north out of the city. It then turns northeast before heading north for the reast of its routing. In Varnell is an intersection with SR 2. At the Tennessee state line, SR 71 meets its northern terminus, at Tennessee State Route 60.
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