Cataloochee Village in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a best kept secret. yOu won't battle crowds, traffic jams but you will experience quiet beauty, nature Smoky Mountains scenery, flora, wildlife including the elk herd reintroduced into Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Blue Ridge Parkway has some of the most incredible Blue Ridge Mountains scenery. The Parkway winds through the mountains and valleys 469 miles and connects the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. Visitors can enjoy many expansive vistas at pull-outs and overlooks, picnic at picnic grounds, long and short hiking trails, waterfalls and historical and cultural sites.Along the way, there are historic structures, museums, folk art centers, visitor centers, and interesting sites.The highest point on the parkway at 6047 feet is located between the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance at Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Asheville, NC.
The Road to Nowhere
The Road to Nowhere goes north out of Bryson City to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park , along a 6 mile scenic drive overlooking the north shore of Lake Fontana and the Smoky Mountains where the roads enters a 1,200 foot tunnel and suddenly ends, because the road was never completed. Officially named Lakeview Drive, locals named the road “The Road to Nowhere.” Directions: In Bryson City, drive north on Everett Street from the courthouse square to the gated entrance of the Park.
Fontana Dam — Take Highway 28 North just west of Bryson City. Not one mile down 28 is an expansive scenic overlook looking northeast towards Clingmans Dome. Drive through Stecoah and then through a canopy of green woods to Fontana Dam. Continue on to Deal's Gap (see below) for some beautiful views of Cheoah Lake and on to the curvy roads of The Dragon.
Cherokee Heritage Trails website features Cherokee historical sites, information and directions to sites in the north carolina Mountains, Tennessee Mountains and North Georgia Mountains.
The Cherohala Skyway, a 36 mile long scenic highway, crosses over nearly 6,000 foot tall mountains with thick forests in North Carolina and Tennessee. The road travelsup into the Cherokee National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest. The views are awesome and the area still remains pristine and remote. Cherohala Skyway which was completed in the fall of 1996 after being under construction for over 34 years. It is North Carolina's most expensive highway carrying a price tag of $100,000,000. Winding up and over 6,000 foot mountains for 15 miles in North Carolina and descending another 21 miles into deeply forested backcountry of Tennessee. The road crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests thus the name "Chero…hala". The Skyway is becoming well known for its natural beauty and scenic vistas. There is little evidence of civilization from the views that rival or surpass any from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Cherohala side trip-The Joyce Kilmer National Forest in NC. Turn off Hwy 143 just before the start of the Skyway Road. Home to large stands of giant virgin poplar trees. Easy trails.
There are numerous backcountry gravel roads that even the average dual sport rider can challenge safely. These roads are also suitable for jeeps and adventure seeking SUVs. Includes directions and information about Tatum Gap Rd., where the first leg of the Trail of Tears began on Tatum Gap Rd., Winding Stairs Rd., Tellico Gap Rd., and Stewart Cabin/Wagon Train/North River Road adventure trips.
Crossing Deals Gap at the Tennessee/North Carolina state line, the Tail of the Dragon is considered to be one of the world's best motorcycling and sports car roads. Anyone looking for a thrilling ride will enjoy this mountainous drive on US129.
Nantahala Gorge Highway 19/74 west out of Bryson City will lead you through the Nantahala Gorge, home to premier scenic whitewater, whitewater rafting and kayaking. This is a cooling beautiful drive following the Nantahala River with plenty of viewing spots pull-offs and some picnic tables. Eight miles (as the river flows) up the river, turn at the raft launch site and continue up the Wayah Road for a few miles following swift-flowing water past waterfalls and great trout fishing spots. You may continue on to Wayah Bald’s observation tower and on to Franklin NC.