Visitors wanting to drive the Foothills Parkway near the Smoky Mountains will want to consider this travel destination as an addition to their driving fun.
“Looking for ridge after ridge of forested mountainside with sweeping mountain views as far as the eyes can see; abundant and unobstructed scenic overlooks around every corner; world class hiking trails, refreshing waterfalls and scenic overlooks; a road featured as one of Discovery Channel’s Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in North America Some call it the “best kept secret.” We call it The Cherohala Skyway – experience it for yourself.
The Cherohala Skyway was completed in the fall of 1996 after planning and construction for some thirty-four years. It was North Carolina’s most expensive scenic highway carrying a price tag of $100,000,000. It winds up and over 5,400 foot mountains for 18 miles in North Carolina and descends another 23 miles into the deeply forested back country of Tennessee. The road crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests thus the name “Chero…hala”. The Skyway is becoming well known in motorcycling and sportscar circles for it’s long, sweeping corners, scenic views and cool summer breezes.
This road enthusiast’s dream connects Robbinsville, North Carolina with Tellico Plains, Tennessee. It can be desolate at night and extremely dangerous in the winter months. There are no facilities other than a couple of restrooms for the entire 41 miles so make sure you have enough gas to make the crossing. There is little evidence of civilization from views that rival or surpass any from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Just some of the things to do include:
* Exploring the scenic Cherohala Skyway with a good chance of seeing some snow accumulation [during Winter months].
* Driving the Tail of the Dragon with the road all to yourself (most winter days are still safe).
* Hiking in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest and other wilderness areas.
* Amazing photographic opportunities around every corner.
* Holiday festivities at Fontana Village which is open year-round.
* Plan a day at Asheville’s Biltmore Estate.
* Go antique/gem/craft hunting when discounts are everywhere.
* Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
* Spend a day in Gatlinburg for amazing holiday displays.
* Golf at several courses that are open year-round with no crowds.”
See the Cherohala Skyway website at www.cherohala.com.
Pictures on this article of Cherohala Skyway come from TripAdvisor. See the TripAdvisor page here.