The U.S. is a scenic paradise offering over 150 Scenic Byways around the country. From Maine to California and everywhere in between, these nationally recognized roadways illustrate some of our country’s grandest views and most historic regions. One of the many popular scenic byways in the U.S. today is the Cherohala Skyway traveling over 42 miles from Tennessee to North Carolina. Along the way, visitors have the opportunity to explore the region’s history in attractions along the way in addition to enjoying some of the most stunning views in the country as you make your way upwards to over 5,000 above sea level.
As you make your way along Tennessee State Hwy. 165 and North Carolina 143 from Tellico Plains to Robbinsville, you will find yourself traveling upwards beginning at less than 800 feet above sea level and peaking at some 5300 feet at the Santeetlah Overlook which is located along the Tennessee/North Carolina Border. The road winds its way along through both the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests which is where it got its name in 1996 when it opened after construction of over 30 years.
The idea of this roadway began at a Kiwanis meeting in 1958 thanks to a man named Sam Williams who bleived that their needed to be a road to connect the two towns as he stated that the current roads were “only fit for covered wagons.” In an effort to promote this idea, he thought up the idea of leading a wagon train along this route and on the 4th of July in 1958, it happened. Thanks to hard work and dedication, the Skyway now exists for millions to enjoy. During the fall, the roadway really heats up as stunning fall colors bring the mountains to life. Bright yellows, reds and oranges accented by a brilliant blue sky make this truly a sight to behold.
The area is known for its natural diversity and visitors enjoy plenty of stops along the way to experience this diversity. Begin your journey at the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center where you can pick up a map to help you explore the sites. Maps and driving conditions will help you gauge your trip. They can also offer you tips on the best places along the way to get out and explore on foot or by water if you enjoy hiking or kayaking.
Waterfalls – be sure not to miss the detour to Bald River Falls on Forest Service Road 210. This popular detour will take you to a beautiful waterfall.
Fall colors – peak colors in this area are usually around late October however, weather patterns will impact the color levels so be sure to check with the Chamber before you go.
Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest – a great place to stop and enjoy the beauty of the forest, this area, a small detour on N.C. 134, is known for its large timber.
A great way to spend the day or even more, Coconut Club Vacations wishes you safe and happy travels on this beautiful road trip in the U.S.