Cherokee National Forest

Cherokee National Forest

North Cherokee Destinations

TN State Highways 67/321
Follow the shoreline of Watauga Lake, accessing several national forest recreation areas and providing views of the lake and forested slopes of Iron Mountain. Highways 67 and 321 split east of the lake, where both routes pass through farmlands, rural communities and scenic mountain views.

U.S. Highway 421
From Bristol, U.S. Highway 421 winds across South Holston Lake, Holston and Iron mountains, and Shady Valley. Scott-Booher Pond is a quiet stop along the way.

Highway 91
This highway ascends Stony Creek through farmlands framed by Holston and Iron Mountains to the top of Cross Mountain. It then drops spectacularly into Shady Valley, rural farming community known for its extant cranberry bogs. North of Shady Valley, State Highway 133 continues along Beaverdam Creek through the "Shortest Tunnel in the World" at Backbone Rock.

The Unaka Mountain Auto Tour
This 31-mile auto tour (paved highways 107 and 395 and gravel Forest Road 230) loops through the Unaka Range of the Appalachians and climbs from 2,000 to 5,000 feet. This route travels through dense rhododendron and hemlocks, grassy balds and peaks at a misty mountain top.

TN State Highway 81
This route travels through the Nolichucky River Gorge with views of Rich Mountain. Look for great blue herons stalking fish from the riverbanks!

TN State Highway 143
This drive climbs through Roan Mountain State Park to Carvers Gap, with numerous long-distance mountain vistas, picnic spots, rhododendrons and spruce-fir forests.

TN State Highway 19/23
This route is a four-lane divided highway that takes you above the valley floor for panoramic views of homes and farms nestled among the Unaka Mountains.

Paint Creek-Paint Mountain Loop (Forest Roads 31, 41 and 54, and TN State Route 107)
This drive follows the meandering path of Paint Creek to historic Paint Rock at the French Broad River. If you're looking for more variety, wind up Paint Mountain on Forest Road 54 through Lone Pine Gap for scenic mountain vistas. Forest roads are gravel and narrow.

The Brush Creek Loop (TN State Highway 107 and Forest Road 209)
This drive takes you through a narrow canyon with rhododendron covered sandstone bluffs. Stretch and enjoy the accessible interpretive trail at Allen Branch Pond. Access to Weaver Bend Watchable Wildlife Area is along the route. State Route 107 passes Bubbling Springs Shooting Range and Houston Valley Recreation Area (picnicking and camping). NOTE: Forest Road 209 is narrow with a gravel surface.

Forest Road 88 to Round Knob
Spring wildflowers, azaleas and rhododendrons ornament this winding gravel mountain road. Openings in the forest canopy provide spectacular views of slopes of the Bald Mountains. At the end of the road, you'll find Round Knob picnic area, and a shelter.

Foothills Parkway
From Cosby to I-40; a scenic connector from Great Smoky Mountains National Park across Green Mountain.