Bald River Falls along the Cherohala Skyway in TN on Thursday, July 23, 2015. Copyright 2015 Jason Barnette

The Cherohala Skyway is a National Scenic Byway connecting the cities of Tellico Plains, Tennessee and Robbinsville, North Carolina. The 43-mile scenic highway features hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and natural vistas.

National Parks

I felt like I had been driving along the two-lane forest service road for hours, but it had only been fifteen minutes. Some friendly locals in Tellico Plains told me I couldn’t miss the waterfall even through the lush vegetation surrounding it. So I just kept driving slowly around each curve in the road until, […]

My Favorite Time of Any Day in Cades Cove

The long chain of cars slowly inched along the paved loop road the exit, inching forward a few feet at time, like a deck hand reeling in the anchor. The chain of cars moved so slowly it was possible to have short conversations. “Getting anything good?” some would ask, nodding toward my two cameras on […]

There are so many amazing places to hike on the Appalachian Trail, but what if you just don’t have the time? While the AT is known for its remoteness in nature it is also easily accessible at the thousands of road crossings. These three locations in Northeast Tennessee are great places to strike out for […]

A massive wind storm toppled nearly every tree in the area hundreds of years ago, leaving only the stumps behind that made early visitors think of tombstones. Then in 1925 an intense fire burned through the area and the local flora has been slowly recovering ever since. These natural events and two beautiful waterfalls have […]

A large sign welcomes visitors to the “Highest Elevation on the Blue Ridge Parkway Motor Road”. At 6,053′ above sea level the Richland Balsam Overlook is the highest point on the entire Parkway and provides a stunning view of the lower mountain landscapes surrounding the peak. Take a selfie with the sign, enjoy a picnic, […]

The Cowee Mountain Overlook is one of the most stunning overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Located near Richland Balsam, the highest point on the Parkway, Cowee Mountain offers an uninterrupted panorama view of the local mountain landscapes. It’s a favorite spot for sunset photos, day trips, or people just passing through. But it will […]

Linville Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but most people don't know there are actually two trails with scenic overlooks to enjoy the view. The most common, and easier, route is the Linville Falls Trail with three scenic overlooks. But the more strenuous, and rewarding, is the Linville Gorge Trail with a 600' descent to the base of the waterfall. Which will you choose?

That Time I Ran Out of Gas on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Ever see that cutesy meme floating around the Internet comparing the two types of drivers in the world: each see the gas needle almost at “E” and one says “I need to get gas immediately” while the other says “I can go a bit longer.” I’m the one who is always trying to pump just […]

The Sinks at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

In the late 1800’s a massive flood created a log jam on the Little River, locking thousands of pounds of timber in a horrible mess. The timber company came up with a brilliant idea: blast it with dynamite. It freed the logs, but also punched a deep whole in the bedrock, changed the course of […]

I had already been to the top of Clingman’s Dome twice in the past and seen nothing, but I already knew this time would be different. Low level clouds clung to the mountains below. The clouds higher in the sky were beginning to break and the horizon was clear. The sun was starting to beam […]