Scenic Drives

National scenic byways and backroads are the perfect way to explore the Tennessee Overhill. Motorists looking for scenery or motorcyclists looking for curves are welcome.

Cherohala Skyway

TN Hwy 165/NC Hwy 143
www.cherohala.org
800- 245-5428 / 877-510-5765

This spectacular National Scenic Byway connects Tellico Plains, Tennessee and Robbinsville, North Carolina. The road climbs to over 5,000 ft as it passes through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests – which explains its name – Cherohala. It has become a favorite for motorcyclists who love the curves and motorists who love the views. The road is designed for travelers so you will find pull-offs and restrooms at regular intervals. Take time to make photographs or drink in the fresh air and views. There are trailheads with parking for hiking to places like Hooper Bald and Spirit Ridge. The Skyway provides convenient access to the Tellico River, Indian Boundary Recreation Area, and Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.

Start your tour with a visit to the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico Plains where you can pick up a free Skyway Map and learn about other things to see and do along the Skyway. Explore the Tellico Plains downtown to find places to eat and art galleries for browsing.

Travel Tips: Cell phone coverage along the Skyway is very spotty. Snow may accumulate at higher elevations on the Skyway even when the lower roads are clear. Allowing for stops, it takes approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours to travel the Skyway.

Tellico River Road

Forest Service Road 210/Tellico River Road
877-510-5765

Tellico River Road

Located near Tellico Plains, Tennessee, this road winds alongside the Tellico River as it tumbles through the Cherokee National Forest. Along the way, you will pass by the Historic Tellico Ranger Station, built as a CCC Camp and lovingly restored. Bald River Falls provides a spectacular visual treat. Parking is available at the falls so you can linger, make photographs, and drink in nature’s splendor. Baby Falls attracts kayakers from near and far. The Tellico Fish Hatchery is located upriver. All in all, a beautiful drive

Travel Tips: Cell phone coverage is spotty.

Ocoee Scenic Byway

Hwy 64/Forest Service Road 77
877-510-5765

Ocoee Scenic Byway

The first National Forest Scenic Byway in the nation, the byway includes US Highway 64 from Parksville to Ducktown and a side-trip up to the top of Chilhowee Mountain on Forest Service Road 77. The Highway 64 section follows the Ocoee River over the route that was once known as the “Old Copper Road.” Rock bluffs, mountain peaks, and historic sites such as the Ocoee Flume Line and Dams can be seen along the way as well as Parksville Lake (also known as Lake Ocoee). The Ocoee Whitewater Center, built for the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Slalom Events, sits at the eastern gateway to the Byway, near Ducktown. The Ocoee Whitewater Center is an experience unto itself and should not be missed. The Olympic Race Course, biking and hiking trails, native plant garden, and Blue Holes are all part of this impressive center. The Tanasi Trails System even has a bicycle named after it. A restored fire tower and an original section of the Old Copper Road are there too. A visitor center and gift shop provide information and souvenirs. Walking trails wind alongside both sides of the river channel. Shaded picnic areas and tables with umbrellas provide cool places to relax.

The side-trip on Forest Service Road 77 begins at the Cherokee National Forest Ranger Station. The road winds up Chilhowee Mountain to the Chilhowee Recreation Area that includes Chilhowee Lake, a campground and hiking and biking trails. Views from the Chilhowee Overlooks attract photographers and painters.

Travel Tips: Cell phone coverage is spotty.

Hiwassee River Road

Hwy 30/Forest Service Road 108
877-510-5765

Hiwassee River Road

The Hiwassee River is Tennessee’s first State Scenic River. John Muir described the river’s beauty in his journal as he walked along the river on his walk through the American South. You can enjoy this river from the comfort of your car. From Hwy 411 between Etowah and Benton, follow Hwy 30 as it winds alongside the river to Reliance, Tennessee. There, turn left to cross the river bridge, and then turn right onto Forest Service Road 108 (Childers Creek Road). Turn right at the next junction and continue up the mountain to Apalachia Powerhouse for a magnificent river view of “Big Bend” and a ride so close to the river you will feel like you can reach out the car window and wet your hands. A trailhead with parking for the “John Muir Trail” is located on this drive. Commercial outfitters provide rafts and funyaks for those who want to float the river. Fly fishing guide services are available for novice fishermen.