While intestinal Th17 cells are critical for maintaining tissue homeostasis, recent studies have implicated their roles in the development of extra-intestinal autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis. However, the mechanisms by which tissue Th17 cells mediate these dichotomous functions remain unknown. Here, we characterized the heterogeneity, plasticity, and migratory phenotypes of tissue Th17 cells in vivo by combined fate mapping with profiling of the transcriptomes and TCR clonotypes of over 84,000 Th17 cells at homeostasis and during CNS autoimmune inflammation. Inter- and intra-organ single-cell analyses revealed a homeostatic, stem-like TCF1+ IL-17+ SLAMF6+ population that traffics to the intestine where it is maintained by the microbiota, providing a ready reservoir for the IL-23-driven generation of encephalitogenic GM-CSF+ IFN-?+ CXCR6+ T cells. Our study defines a direct in vivo relationship between IL-17+ non-pathogenic and GM-CSF+ and IFN-?+ pathogenic Th17 populations and provides a mechanism by which homeostatic intestinal Th17 cells direct extra-intestinal autoimmune disease.