The Cherohala Skyway Through the Great Smoky Mountains
In 1997, a new scenic highway known as The Cherohala Skyway, opened in a remote area where the famous Blue Ridge Parkway failed to go. Stretching forty three miles between Tellico Plains in eastern Tennessee, and Robbinsville, North Carolina, this incredible roadway connects the east and west sides of the Great Smoky Mountains just south of the national park boundary. For much of that distance, it hugs the rugged Tennessee-North Carolina border. The name is a combination of Cherokee and Nantahala, the two National Forests that are crossed by the roadway. Construction lasted for thirty years.
Making the steep descent toward Robbinsville, you skirt one of the “prongs” of Santeetlah Lake, just one of many lakes created by the Tennessee Valley Authority to produce electricity in this formerly inaccessible wilderness.