Cherohala Skyway

Cherohala Skyway (TN Hwy 165, NC Hwy 143) is a 43-mile National Scenic Byway that connects Tellico Plains, Tennessee, with Robbinsville, North Carolina. Opened and dedicated in fall of 1996, this highway starts at 800 ft. in elevation, and climbs over mountains as high as 5390 ft at Santeetlah Overlook on the state border, with 21 miles of the Skyway in southeast Tennessee and 15 miles in North Carolina. The road crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests, thus the name "Chero...hala." Travelers on the Tennessee side are treated to mile-high vistas, brilliant seasonal foliage, the magnificent splendor of the Cherokee National Forest and the Tellico River. The rugged mountains, sparse human population and diverse habitats of Tennessee's eastern border make it home to an amazing variety of wildlife. There is little evidence of civilization from views that rival - or surpass - any from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Skyway winds through parts of the 640,000-acre Cherokee National Forest, the largest tract of public land in Tennessee, with more than 20,000 species of plants and animals. No gas stations, restaurants or other facilities (except restrooms and picnic benches) are available for 36 miles. From the rocky bed of the Tellico River, to the high elevation mountain forests, diverse ecosystems thrive. The average drive over the Skyway takes 2-1/2 hours to drive and enjoy the scenery. Pack a picnic, stop for photos at the overlooks, and take your time.

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