Though The Dragon at Deal’s Gap gets most of the headlines, the Cherohala Skyway is the other big ride in the area that most everyone hits while visiting the Smokies. The Dragon is an action-packed roller coaster ride that will work you into a sweat in half a pass. It’s knee-to-knee transitions, one after the other, are challenging and require maximum focus to navigate in the right riding line. The Cherohala Skyway, over 50 miles long, is a seemingly endless chain of sweepers, with the occasional short straight just for contrast. If you love sweepers, this is your ride. And, if you love forever views of untouched forest, then you’ll enjoy it even more. East to west, the road starts in Tellico Plains, Tennnessee and ends near Robbinsville, North Carolina. The Cherohala tops out at about 5,400 feet in elevation, making it a great place to go on a hot and humid day to cool off. Temperature drops, bottom to top of 20 degrees are common. So, if you work up a good sweat on the Dragon and want to cool down, just stay on 129 south from The Dragon, cruise along a rushing river to 143, turn right and access the Skyway from the west. Grab a bite in Tellico Plains and head on back the way you came. In reverse, it seems like a whole new ride. Bring a camera. You will be using it at one of the dozens of scenic turnouts. The views are endless and the pavement is virtually seamless, especially on the Tennessee portion of the ride.
So, don’t forget this wonderful ride when you come out to visit. I do it once a day, every day I’m in the area. It amazes me and puts a smile on my face every time. Enjoy and ride safe.