Cherohala Skyway

State: North Carolina, Tennessee
Length: 42.95 miles / 68.7 km
Time to Allow: Allow 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive this Byway.

The Cherohala Skyway takes up just 43 miles but visits both North Carolina and Tennessee. Celebrate the cultural heritage of the Cherokee tribe along with other earlier settlers who gravitated to the Appalachian Mountains in the southern part of the two states. Over the short journey, visit national forests, hiking trails, and beautiful waterfalls. However, the byway does have one issue making many happy that it’s short. You will not find a bathroom, gas station, or restaurant along the way, meaning this really is a one-day byway.

Start in Tellico Plains to begin your short journey. The town offers several waterfalls, including Bald River Falls and Baby Falls. Never have you seen a waterfall as beautiful as the Bald River Falls with water cascading over rocks surrounded by trees. That water pools right into the Tellico River Gorge, creating a natural haven. If you don’t want to get too close to the water, you can visit the falls from nearby bridges for scenic views. Visit Baby Falls for a smaller but just as a scenic waterfall. Try out the trails next to the Conasauga Falls Trail.

Visit the visitors center before leaving for information and restrooms. Check out the Charles Hall Museum for local artifacts, and then go to the Indian Boundary General Store for specialty items and gifts. Stop at the Tellico Grains restaurant for a cupcake or slice of pizza. The Tellicafe offers full meals and dessert ready to make a great place for lunch before heading to the skyway. Take the kids to the Terra Del Sole Wellness and Educational Farm to visit some animals.

Now you are ready to move on to 15 scenic overlooks spanning two states. Along the way, find several hiking trails, including Huckleberry Knob, a gorgeous meadow right next to the Nantahala National Forest. The forest offers half a million acres of pristine woodlands and high elevations of up to 5,800 feet. It’s a great place for boating, trails, fishing, picnicking, white water rafting, and swimming. Also, it’s home to the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi.

One major landmark at the end of the byway in Tennessee is the Tail of the Dragon, where motorcyclist can test their skills. It’s a biker destination with eleven miles of road with over 300 curves, all with mountain vistas and great views. Find the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort, where you can find camping, a motel, and a general store.

End the day at the Santeetlah Gap near the Lake. The area offers a marina perfect for boating and wildland trekking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest offers more outdoor activities too. While it’s a little off the byway, it’s by the Snowbird Mountain Lodge. Find great food, cabins, and tours ready to show you around the area. Enjoy a day out in nature with trails, giant trees, picnics, and much more. The Little Santeetlah Creek runs through as well, offering incredible views.

More Tennessee Byways

You can check out additional Byways in Tennessee by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the Tennessee Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.