This North Carolina stretch of road was 34 years in the making, but now you can enjoy it in its full glory. The Cherohala Skyway Ride runs through two national forests and offers some of the state’s most scenic views, making it a great place to explore if you’re ever in the area. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation has officially designated the Cherohala Skyway a National Scenic Byway.
About the Cherohala Skyway Ride in North Carolina
The Cherohala Skyway connects Tellico Plains, TN, and Robbinsville, NC. Construction of the 43-mile road began in 1958 and finished in 1996. The total project cost was a whopping $100 million.
The skyway crosses two national forests, the Cherokee and Nantahala, which gave it its name. As you ride along the road, you will gain over 4,000 feet in elevation, rising from just under 900 feet at Tellico Plains to over 5,400 feet at Haw Knob near the state line. The scenic forest views and dramatic shifts in elevation make the Cherohala Skyway one of the best motorcycle rides in the United States.
Riding Along the Cherohala Skyway
The Cherohala Skyway is 43 miles long, but one suggested ride totals 51.8 miles. The whole trip should take you between two to three hours if you want to ride leisurely, and take in the scenery.
You’ll be riding in a loop, and you can start in Tellico Plains or Robbinsville. To get on the skyway from Robbinsville, take NC 143 west for around 12 miles and follow the signs.
Marvel at the Views From the Santeetlah Overlook
The Santeetlah Overlook is in North Carolina, around seven miles from the Tennessee state line. Sitting at a head-spinning 5,390 feet, the highest elevation on the skyway, the Santeetlah Overlook gives a magnificent view of the surrounding forest. Be sure to snap a selfie or two.
For more nearby scenic views, check out the other 14 overlooks on the skyway. Most of them are close to picnic areas, so you’ll be able to enjoy a quick snack as well.
Check Out the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center
The Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico Plains is another place you should plan to visit during your ride. The center opened in September 2003 as part of the National Scenic Byway program. It’s a great place to learn more about the skyway, inquire about the current road conditions, and get free travel maps. You might even make some new biker friends.
Be sure to pop into the visitor center gift shop as well. The shop is a not-for-profit: All proceeds from the sale of local souvenirs and gifts go toward the maintenance of the Cherohala Skyway.
Venture Further Out for More Adventures
If you want to explore more of the area, the Cherohala Skyway offers easy access to several protected and recreational zones, including:
- The Citico Creek Wilderness
- The Bald River Gorge Wilderness
- The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest
Had a Motorcycle Accident? Call Law Tigers
The Cherohala Skyway Ride in North Carolina is a safe and well-maintained stretch of road, but accidents can happen when you least expect it. If you have an accident, call Law Tigers at (888) 863-7216.
Our team will connect you to an experienced North Carolina motorcycle lawyer in your area. They will review your case and advise whether you can seek compensation. If you are eligible to claim damages, our North Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys will support you through the entire process.