||It has been suggested that Tennessee State Route 165 be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since September 2013.|
The Cherohala Skyway (sometimes called the Overhill Skyway) is a 43-mile (69 km) National Scenic Byway that connects Tellico Plains, Tennessee, to Robbinsville, North Carolina in the southeastern United States. Its name is a portmanteau of Cherokee and Nantahala, the two national forests through which it passes. Along with multiple vistas and overlooks, the skyway provides easy vehicular access to various protected and recreational areas of the Unicoi Mountains, including the Citico Creek Wilderness, the Bald River Gorge Wilderness, and the remote interior of the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.
Planning for the Cherohala Skyway began in 1958 and the road was completed on October 12, 1996 at a final cost of one hundred million dollars. The western (or Tennessee) half of the skyway follows Tennessee State Route 165 for nearly 25 miles (40 km) from Tellico Plains to the state line at Stratton Gap. The eastern (or North Carolina) half follows North Carolina Highway 143 for just over 18 miles (29 km) from Stratton Gap to Robbinsville. The skyway gains over 4,000 feet (1,200 m) in elevation, rising from a low point of just under 900 feet (270 m) at Tellico Plains to a high point of just over 5,400 feet (1,600 m) on the slopes of Haw Knob near the Tennessee-North Carolina state line. The North Carolina half of the skyway terminates near the south shore of Lake Santeetlah.
- Santeetlah Gap (Mile 0) — junction with Kilmer Road, which accesses Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest
- Hooper Cove (Mile 2) — picnic area
- Shute Cove (Mile 3) — picnic area
- Huckleberry Knob (Mile 9) — short trail to the summit of Huckleberry Knob (el. 5,560 ft)
- Hooper Bald (Mile 10) — short trail to the summit of Hooper Bald (el. 5,429 ft)
- Santeetlah Overlook (Mile 11) — 5,390-foot (1,640 m) view of the upper Santeetlah Creek watershed
- Big Junction Overlook (Mile 12) — View south from the 5,235-foot (1,596 m) gap between Haw Knob and Big Junction
- Stratton Ridge (Mile 16) — picnic area; Benton MacKaye Trail access
- Unicoi Crest (Mile 18) — Tennessee-North Carolina state line, view of the Tellico River valley
- Falls Branch Falls Trail (Mile 21) — short trail through a patch of old growth forest to a 55-foot (17 m) cascade waterfall
- Lake View Overlook (Mile 25)
- Turkey Creek Overlook (Mile 27)
- Forest Service Road 345 (Mile 29) to Indian Boundary Lake campground
- Forest Service Road 210 (Mile 39) to Tellico District Ranger Station and Bald River Falls
- Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center and Charles Hall Museum (Mile 43)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cherohala Skyway.|
- Cherohala.org - official website
- Tellico Plains Chamber of Commerce - Cherohala Skyway info, photos, maps, visitor info
- Drive Among The Clouds - pictures, maps, and information
- Byways.org - from U.S. Department of Transportation
- Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center: A Dream Come True! - the building and dedication of the TN Visitor Center in Monroe County.
- Cherohala.com - commercial site with lots of good information, history, maps, and pictures.
- Tail of the Dragon - tips and information on driving the Cherohala