Easy Like Sunday Morning: Cherohala Skyway & Fall in Tennessee

November 14, 2018

If there's one thing I love about November, it's the stunning fall colors of nature (& feasting on Turkey Day. Ok, so 2 things). Fortunately for me, I live in a place with seasons (Imma let you finish, FL, but TN has the best sweater weather of all time), and I look forward to fall every year. But really, what girl doesn't?

Every year sometime around mid-September, we wait with bated breath for the first official day of fall. Eagerly clutching our pumpkin spice lattes while clad in a uniform of plaid, jewel tones, and scarves (if you don't own a blanket scarf, you're doing fall wrong), we trek out into the wilderness (or anywhere with a cluster of trees. The backyard? Sure, that looks wild enough) to take approximately 56 posts on Instagram devoted to the glorious fall season, while our husbands and boyfriends roll their eyes and silently judge us. But the real fun doesn't begin until the weather catches up and the autumn goddesses begin to paint the leaves in a stunning palette of red, gold, orange, and yellow. Living in the south, this temperature change usually doesn't occur until sometime early November - and even then, it could be 70° one day (3 days ago) and 51° the next (today)! But when it finally does, and those leaves erupt all over town in a burst of fiery-colored brilliance, you get out & enjoy it.

So naturally, Barry & I had to take a Sunday drive into the mountains to look at the leaves changing (notice I said drive. Not hike. Ya girl was wearing wedge booties). There’s nothing better than fresh (albeit cold!), crisp air and 360° views of regal mountains, and a horizon that looks like an oil painting, stretching out into the distance.

We started our journey along the Cherry Cola Skyway in southeast TN and made a few stops along the way. Ok, so it’s not really called the Cherry Cola Skyway, but it might as well be (it's way more fun that way.) The actual name is the Cherohala Skyway and is a mashup of the names of 2 different national forests (that I probably butcher). It crosses through the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee and the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina, hence the name – “chero” from the Cherokee and “hala” from the Nantahala. The 40+ mile-long skyway is located in southeast Tennessee and southwest North Carolina and connects Tellico Plains, TN, with Robbinsville, NC.

As we drove further up the mountain, you could tell the temperature was dropping a bit, and we were hitting autumn's sweet spot. The more we drove, the bolder and more vibrant the colors of the trees became. But when we started to see the trees thinning, shedding dull brown crispy leaves all over the place (& feel the wind whipping my hair back and forth faster than Willow Smith), we knew we'd gone to far, and started to head back down.

One of the best parts about the skyway are the multiple overlooks dotted up & down the roads, offering sweeping views of the mountains (& plenty of photo ops)!

Good morning, starshine! The earth says hello!

I mean, this view? Yes, please! We stopped along one of the trailheads and hiked down a little ways to snap some more photos of the leaves (do it for the gram, even in wedges). As for my look, I was going for "chic lumberjack." No really, I just thought the buffalo plaid was very fitting for being in the woods. I kept it classic with a pair of my favorite jeans (ie. stretchy), wedge boots, and hair slicked back into a high pony (because wind is not my friend).

Buffalo plaid shirt: last season (similar) | Next Level Skinny Jean: AE | Waterline Wedges: Nautica (similar here for way less)

Cherohala is just one of many spots in east TN for an epic fall foliage viewing. Some of my other (more local, closer to home) spots include:
  • Sunset Rock - Lookout Mountain
  • Snooper's Rock - Prentice Cooper State Park
  • Cloudland Canyon State Park
  • Bluff View Art District (for river/foilage views - & stop in to Rembrandt's so you can enjoy your view with a side of coffee & chocolate)
And if you're feeling extra bougie, you can enjoy a Southern Belle fall river cruise, served with lunch, that will take you up & down the river so you can revel in the picturesque treeline (blanket scarf and PSL sold separately).

So if you find yourself near eastern TN and are looking for a beautiful scenic drive or hike, definitely put a couple of these spots on your fall bucket list, grab your Instagram-hubs by the hand, and get out there to do fall right!

Happy fall y'all!

Post a Comment

Latest Instagrams

© Cake After Midnight. Design by FCD.