Cherohala Scenic Byway - North Carolina

Quick Facts

Cherohala Scenic Byway - North Carolina

North Carolina

(828) 257-4253

Map Directions

Things To Do



What better way to enjoy the glorious fall colors of North Carolina and Tennessee than a leisurely drive along the Cherohala Skyway? Take this scenic byway through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests in autumn and fall in love with the brilliant colors of the Appalachian Mountains. To see autumn's colors at their peak, plan your trip around the end of October or early November. You'll be astounded by fiery oranges, deep reds, and glowing yellows of more than 120 species of trees native to the area. Notice how the autumn sunlight dances off the light-hued wood of the poplar aspen and its luminescent, quaking leaves.

Drive a couple miles north from the eastern terminus of the byway in Santeetlah Gap, NC, and you'll find the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. This 3,800-acre forest is home to the largest stand of old-growth trees in the eastern United States. The forest was dedicated to the poet, Joyce Kilmer, famous for his poem, "Trees." His famous line reads: I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree. The line is especially poignant when you take in this beautiful land and trees in their shimmering autumn glory. Come hike among the red oak and take in the earthy smells of the forest just before it descends into winter. Get back on the byway and continue your drive through Nantahala National Forest. Full of plunging gorges and towering eastern hemlock, an evergreen that lives more than 500 years, the Nantahala National Forest will leave you with a deep sense of peace and tranquility as you roam the landscape, taking in the region's dazzling colors and sky-scraping mountains.

Map of Cherohala Scenic Byway - North Carolina

Latitude, Longitude: 35.328571, -83.951340



  • Auto/Motorcycle

    This scenic byway is 43 miles in length. Visitors should allow two hours to drive the byway.

  • Camping

    Plenty of opportunities for camping exist along the Cherohala Skyway, including campsites within the Cherokee National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest.

  • Historic Sites

    The Skyway offers the cultural heritage of the Cherokee tribe and early settlers in a grand forest environment in the Appalachian Mountains.


To see autumn's colors at their peak, plan your trip around the end of October or early November.



Start on NC 143 at Robbinsville, NC, and continue on NC 143 until the Tennessee/North Carolina state line. Byway becomes TN 165. Continue on this route 20 through the Cherokee National Forest until the end of the Skyway at Tellico Plains, TN.

Phone Numbers


(828) 257-4253