Spirit Ridge Trail, Cherohala Skyway. Blue Ridge & Appalachian Mtns, Nantahala NF, NC, USA.
On paved Spirit Ridge Trail, walk 0.7 miles round trip through a leafy tunnel of beech, birch, maple, and cherry leaves turning golden and red in mid October on Cherohala Skyway in the Unicoi Mountains, Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina, USA. The Cherohala Skyway traverses the Unicoi Mountains, a subset of the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Long in planning since 1958, the Cherohala Skyway opened to automobile traffic in 1996 – a new National Scenic Byway. The Cherohala Skyway climbs over 4000 feet, starting at elevation 900 feet along Tellico River in Tennessee and reaching 5400 feet on the slopes of Haw Knob in North Carolina. The 43-mile paved road of the Cherohala Skyway follows Tennessee State Route 165 (SR-165 or TN 165) for 25 miles from Tellico Plains to the state line at Stratton Gap, then continues on North Carolina Highway 143 (NC 143) for 18 miles to Robbinsville. Cherohala combines the names of the two National Forests traversed: "Chero" from Cherokee and "hala" from Nantahala NF. The Skyway accesses various protected and recreational areas of the Unicoi Mountains, including Citico Creek Wilderness, Bald River Gorge Wilderness, and Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.Add to Cart Add to Lightbox Download