Cherohala Skyway ~ Mile High Legend
Robbinsville, North Carolina to Tellico Plains, Tennessee.

Looking for ridge after ridge of forested mountainside with sweeping mountain views as far as the eyes can see; abundant and unobstructed scenic overlooks around every corner; world class hiking trails, refreshing waterfalls and scenic overlooks; a road featured as one of Discovery Channel’s Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in North America?? Some call it the “best kept secret.” We call it The Cherohala Skyway – experience it for yourself.

The Cherohala Skyway was completed in the fall of 1996 after planning and construction for some thirty-four years. It was North Carolina’s most expensive scenic highway carrying a price tag of $100,000,000. It winds up and over 5,400 foot mountains for 18 miles in North Carolina and descends another 23 miles into the deeply forested back country of Tennessee. The road crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests thus the name “Chero…hala”. The Skyway is becoming well known in motorcycling and sportscar circles for it’s long, sweeping corners, scenic views and cool summer breezes.

This road enthusiast’s dream connects Robbinsville, North Carolina with Tellico Plains, Tennessee. It can be desolate at night and extremely dangerous in the winter months. There are no facilities other than a couple of restrooms for the entire 41 miles so make sure you have enough gas to make the crossing. There is little evidence of civilization from views that rival or surpass any from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Beginning at Santeetlah Gap on the North Carolina side (at elevation 2660 feet), the road quickly twists and ascends to Santeetlah, an overlook at the highest elevation of 5390 feet. Along this highest section you follow the mountain tops for another seven miles to the Tennessee state line.

It can be cold and cloudy riding the mountain ridges, so make sure you dress properly, even in the summer months. We have been caught in pea soup fog, thick clouds, and bone chilling temperatures even in July. The mile-high ride is always a new and unforgettable experience.

At the state line the descent starts into the Tellico River basin. There are more spectacular scenic vistas on the Tennessee side. You’ll pass the turn-off for Indian Boundary Waters which offers great camping and back road dual sport/jeep explorations.

A detour to Bald River Falls on paved Forest Service Road 210 is well worth the short trip. Water cascades over 100 feet onto the rocks below – all which can be seen from the comfort of your motorcycle /car.

The Tellico River, at the lower elevations on the Tennessee side, is famous for it’s trout fishing, and when the water is up, can be quite a challenge for canoers and kayakers. The river leads you to the sleepy town of Tellico Plains where you can fill your tank and feed your belly. We recommend the Tellico Kats Deli where you can enjoy homemade sandwiches on a deck overlooking the river.

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Latest News

Summer Weather Forecasting

Tail of the Dragon, Cherohala Skyway, and Moonshiner 28 summer weather: It is typical throughout the summer months for the weather reports in the mountains of western North Carolina to call for 60% chance of thunderstorms. What this really means is there will POSSIBLY be an afternoon shower. These scattered cells are small and short lived. They occur in the period of 2 pm to 4 pm and then the sun returns quickly drying the roads. There is no need to cancel your trip here because the weather says 60% chance of thunderstorms. Many days we don’t even see any rain when its predicted.

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Cherohala Skyway History

History of the Cherohala Skyway, including Hooper Bald Lodge and the Russian Blue Boar, Tellico Wagon Train, Kirkland Bushwackers and more..

Cherohala Skyway Photos