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Tennessee Scenic Drives

From mountains in the east to rivers in the west, Tennessee has an abundance of natural beauty. These four scenic drives showcase the state’s best vistas.


Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway

In the Land Between the Lakes area of western Tennessee, the Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway offers views of thick forests and Kentucky Lake. The Tennessee route begins in Dover at Fort Donelson National Battlefield, the site of the Union’s first victory in the Civil War. Other highlights include South Bison Range, home to herds of native bison, as well as The Homeplace, a 1850s-era farm.


Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway

The Cherohala Skyway Scenic Byway connects southeast Tennessee to southwest North Carolina, running through the Cherokee and Nantahala national forests. The route takes passengers through the clouds at 5,400-foot elevations for glimpses of the Tellico River. Groups can enjoy the 100-foot Bald River Falls or stop at the byway’s visitors center in Tellico Plains.


Natchez Trace Parkway

The 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway begins in Nashville, Tennessee, and extends south all the way to Natchez, Mississippi. The parkway is both a National Scenic Byway and an All American Road. The Tennessee portion of the parkway comes alive with brilliant foliage during fall. In addition to the driving route, numerous hiking trails alongside the road give visitors a feel for what travel was like in the early days of the Natchez Trace.


East Tennessee Crossing National Scenic Byway

Humans have been traveling along the East Tennessee Crossing since prehistoric times. The route was used by Cherokee warriors and pioneer travelers; in the 1900s, it was called the Dixie Highway and was the first auto route connecting the North and South. Travelers on the national scenic byway today can enjoy Pinnacle Rock in Cumberland Gap National Historic Park and pass through the Great Smoky Mountains.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.