The Cherohala Skyway, dedicated in October 1996, connects Tellico Plains, Tenn. with Robbinsville, N.C. The 50-mile scenic highway is named from a combination of the Cherokee and Nantahala national forests, which it traverses. The Skyway is designated as a National Scenic Byway by the Federal Highway Administration, one of only 20 such roadways in the nation. The western end of the skyway begins at an elevation below 1,000 feet and follows the Tellico River Gorge for four miles.
It climbs the Unaka Mountains to an elevation of 5,390 feet at Santeetlah Gap before descending toward Robbinsville.
Facilities: Informational kiosks are located at each end of the skyway. Parking is provided at major overlooks and trail access points. Picnic tables, two restroom facilities, and natural history signs at major overlooks are scheduled to be completed in the summer of '97.
Camping and picnic facilities are located nearby in the Cherokee and Nantahala national forests. For information on camping contact the Cheoah Ranger District Office, Nantahala National Forest, Route 1, Box 16A, Robbinsville, NC 28771 (704/479-6431) or Tellico Ranger Office, U.S. Forest Service, 250 Ranger Station Road, Tellico Plains, TN 37385 (423/253-2520).
From Tenn. 68 South in Tellico Plains, TN, turn left (east) onto Tenn. 165. In one mile 165 bears right at a junction with Tenn. 360. This is the beginning of the Cherohala Skyway.
From Robbinsville, NC, take U.S. 129 north one mile. Turn left (west) onto N.C. 143 and follow the signs for 143 for 10 miles. The Cherohala Skyway begins at the junction of 143 and the road to Joyce Kilmer. Turn left for the Cherohala Skyway.
The Cherohala Skyway is Tennessee 165 on the western side of the mountains and North Carolina 143 on the eastern side.
Bald River Falls, Cherokee National Forest; Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, Nantahala National Forest; Cherokee Chief Junaluska's Grave in Robbinsville, N.C., the town where several scenes from the movie "Nell" were filmed.