Scenic Drives in the NC Smokies

Make Swain County your home base for a mountain vacation, and get ready to enjoy some of the most scenic roads in the country. Whether you drive on four-wheels or two, youll love our curvy mountain roads with endless mountain vistas, sparkling rivers and creeks, lush forests and peaceful valleys.

Fontana Lake Dam

Fontana Lake Dam

The massive Fontana Lake is contained by the highest dam in the eastern US. Fontana was built during World War II to provide electric power for the war effort.The Fontana Dam Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from May through October except major holidays. The visitor center has updated maps, videos, and displays about TVA and the construction of the dam.
Location: Off NC Hwy 28 near the Tennessee/North Carolina state line
Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 469 miles from Swain County to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. The Parkway was designed for a leisurely drive with plenty of pullovers to enjoy the incomparable views. Yet it`s the southernmost section of the Parkway, near Cherokee, that provides some of the most spectacular vistas.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The 32-mile drive on US441 from Cherokee to Gatlinburg is arguably the most popular scenic drive in the area. There are numerous overlooks, including the Newfound Gap at the Tennessee-North Carolina state line. And don’t miss the side trip to Clingmans Dome (near Newfound Gap).
Road to Nowhere

Road to Nowhere

Just north of Bryson City, is a scenic mountain highway that takes you eight miles into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and ends at the mouth of a tunnel. On the map, it is called Lakeview Drive, but to the citizens of Swain County it is “The Road to Nowhere — A Broken Promise”. The road was promised to replace old Hwy 288 which was lost to the building of Fontana Lake in the 1930s, but it was never completed.
Location: Everett Street North out of Bryson City
Deals Gap

Deals Gap "The Dragon"

U.S. Highway 129 connecting Western North Carolina with East Tennessee is world-famous among motorcyclists and sports car drivers, for its eleven-mile section with 318 continuous curves. Also on Hwy 129 just south of Deals Gap you may recognize Cheoah Dam where a key scene in the 1993 movie "The Fugitive" was filmed.
Location: US 28 N, 1 hour west of Bryson City
Cherohala Skyway

Cherohala Skyway

The 36-mile highway connecting Robbinsville, NC and Tellico Plains, TN provides views that rival the Blue Ridge Parkway. On the Tennessee end, near Tellico Plains, take the 5-mile side trip (FS Road 210) to the 100-foot high Bald River Falls. This spectacular cascade can be viewed from your car.
Location: Near Robbinsville NC, 1 hr. west of Bryson City
Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

At the North Carolina end of the Cherohala Skyway, don’t miss The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest and the two-mile walk through an old-growth virgin forest with giant Hemlocks and Poplars.
Location: Near Robbinsville NC, 1 hr. west of Bryson City