CHEROKEE – Newfound Gap Road in Swain County is now considered one of the nation’s most scenic byways, thanks to its new designation as an All-American Road. The 31-mile corridor, split between North Carolina and Tennessee, traverses a beautiful stretch of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as it crosses the Appalachian Trail.
The National Scenic Byways Program, established by Congress in 1991, was created to preserve and protect the nation’s most scenic roads, in addition to promoting tourism and economic development. All-American Roads represent the best of the national scenic byways and are considered a destination and reason for travel unto themselves.
Last year, the National Park Service, NCDOT and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, submitted an application to the Federal Highway Administration requesting that Newfound Gap Road be recognized as an All-American road. This past February, that application was accepted. This makes Newfound Gap Road the fifth North Carolina road to be designated as a national byway and only the second to be declared an All-American Road. Prior to this, the Blue Ridge Parkway was the only All-American Road in North Carolina.
Newfound Gap Road was designated as a North Carolina Scenic Byway in 2009 and runs for 16.5 miles, through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as U.S. 441. The corridor then continues across the Tennessee border and connects Cherokee, N.C. with Gatlinburg, Tenn.