Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Cherohala offers touch of early fall color

On a recent quick trip to the southern side of the Great Smoky Mountains, wife and I found ourselves needing to take up a day with some kind of activity.

From our base camp at the Microtel Inn in Robbinsville, NC, we decided that we’d make a day of it traversing the Cherohala Skyway beginning just northwest of town and covering a small portion of eastern Tennessee.

We didn’t know what to expect but hoped that there would be a little fall color along the roadway since  it was late September.

We weren’t totally disappointed.

The Skyway, completed in 1996 after 34 years of work, is considered North Carolina’s most expensive highway carrying a price tag of $100 million.

The 23-mile drive offers expansive views, when its not cloudy (as it was for part of our trip).

The name is derived from the words Cherokee and Nantahala since the drive crosses through national forests with those two names.

Recommendations are that those traveling the skyway should take two to three hours, or more, to enjoy it properly, which includes the views and a number of stops along the way.

We also had a side trip visiting a campground.

After a good half-day of touristing, we found that to get back to our home base, there were three options. The shortest way was to return by the skyway. We nixed that. The other two options were taking highway routes, to the north, or to the south, that got us back.

Both of those options were another few hours over roads we were not familiar with.

Nonetheless, we took the northern round-a-bout way and after a few more hours, we were back in Robbinsville.

Next post: Oct. 13, 2015

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