Thunderstorms across the landscape miles away. Fog on the mountain. Incredible sunsets. These are just a few of the things to be seen from the five best scenic overlooks on the Cherohala Skyway stretching between Robbinsville, North Carolina and Tellico Plains, Tennessee. It’s a beautiful stretch of road, an easy drive, and right in the middle of some of the most beautiful landscapes in the southern Appalachian Mountains.
Never heard of this national scenic byway? Check out my story Three Days on the Cherohala Skyway to learn more about the hiking trails, waterfalls, and recreation areas surrounding this exciting mountain getaway.
At 2,630′ this scenic overlook has a commanding view of the low-lying area northwest of the Appalachian Mountains. It’s a great place to watch summer thunderstorms roll across the horizon and stunning sunsets in the late evenings. Along with plenty of parking, a nice privy restroom, and a few picnic tables this is also a comfortable overlook.
Just around the bend from Turkey Creek is the Lake View Overlook. You might’ve been able to actually see the Indian Boundary Lake at one time but the mountain has grown a little since then so now all you can see are the rolling curves of the forest blanket across the mountain landscapes. It’s also a great place to gaze at the stars with a mostly northern view.
This small, undeveloped overlook features the remains of the foundation of some old house. Standing on the foundation you realize this house had the most stunning view of the mountains. The wide view is mostly to the southeast so it’s great for catching the sunrise.
At 5,240′ the Big Junction Overlook is the highest overlook on the Cherohala Skyway with an actual view of the mountains (the Santeetlah Overlook is the highest overall at 5,390′). The small pull-off only has room enough for maybe three cars so it’s a fight sometimes to get in there, but a deserving fight. The panorama view is breathtaking and with a southwesterly view it’s great for fall, winter, and spring sunsets.
The view from the Shute Cove Overlook is perhaps average at best, but it’s the amenities that make this such a great overlook. It’s the only overlook on the Skyway with a small paved area specifically for wheelchairs that still offers a great view. There is also an observation deck up a short flight of stairs to a wider view of the mountains. At 3,550′ it’s the last overlook (or first depending on your direction of travel) with a view of the mountains before the end of the Skyway in North Carolina.