The Cherohala Skyway
Driving Above the Clouds
Driving through scenery that compares to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Cherohala Skyway passes through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests connecting Tellico Plains in Tennessee to Robbinsville in North Carolina. The Skyway’s name comes from a combination of the two forests-Chero, from the Cherokee, and Hala from Nantahala.
It cost $100 million to build and it took over 30 years to complete. The Cherohala Skyway has some incredible views and the scenery is what this Skyway is all about. The Cherohala Skyway is one of 96 National Scenic Byways.
Designed for the traveler to savor all of the area’s natural beauty, the Skyway has very few passing zones so take your time and enjoy all of the wonder views. If you make a few stops along the way, plan on about two hours to travel the almost 50 miles of Skyway.
There are six waterfalls you can visit while traveling the Cherohala Skyway
- Bald River Falls - Turn at Tellico River Rd. # 210
- Coker Creek Falls- Hwy 68, turn at Ironsburg Meth. Church. FDR #22 to FDR #2138
- Falls Branch Falls – Hwy 165 & Trail 87
- Lower Slickrock Creek Falls- North Carolina wilderness area trail #42
- Upper Bald River Falls- Road # 126 Trail # 80
- Ball Play Falls- Hwy 360 to Buck Hwy, Take 1st Rd to the right, go 1 mile take right junction, go 1.5 miles, turn left, approx. 2 mile hike to Falls.
The Cherohala Skyway is a paved 2-laned road maintained by the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The elevations range from 900 feet above sea level at the Tellico River in Tennessee to over 5400 feet above sea level at the Tennessee-North Carolina state line at Haw Knob.
Plan your trip at the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico Plains Tennessee or the Graham County Visitor Center in Robbinsville North Carolina. Grab some brochures and maps and talk to the friendly people about your trip on the skyway. They can help you plan your trip, find good restaurants, locate a waterfall to enjoy, or reserve a campsite.
More Great Motor Tours near the Smoky Mountains
A cost of 100 million dollars the Cherohala Skyway was official opened in October 1996. At that time the US Forest service estimated that five million cars a year would use the new road.