Explore North River Road

Rate this Adventure Tennessee North River Road

Added by Mason Boring

  • One of the most accessible, best mountain back-roads in the Cherokee National Forest
  • Best free camping along the river
  • Great swimming holes in the year during warmer months (the river is cold all year!)

If you're looking to get off the beaten path and take the road less traveled, North River Road is your ticket to solitude.

A popular loop for the locals is starting on Tellico River Road, then getting on North River Road to make your way up the mountain all the way to the Cherohala Skyway. Take the Skyway back down the mountain toward Tellico Plains or head on over to Robbinsville, North Carolina.

On North River road, depending on the season, you'll follow the river up the mountain on a dusty gravel road. If there is snow in Tellico, do not attempt North River Road unless you are an experienced winter overlander. (I slid off the mountain back when I was high school so heads up for all you whippersnappers).

In the summer, be on the lookout to find some sweet water holes along the way. If you take the plunge, you better bring your big boy shorts because the river is cold all year.

North River also provides some of the best free camping along the river in the area. There are multiple free spots with no amenities except one campground with bathrooms and picnic tables for a small fee.

Pack List

  • Camping gear if needed
  • If driving the loop only, be sure to fuel up
  • Bring your favorite picnic basket
  • Water shoes
  • Camera
  • Good company
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Swimming

Skill Level:



Year Round


Dog Friendly
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

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Added by Mason Boring

adventurer | laugher | wayfarer | humanist | photographer | woodsman | fan of the underdog | friend of the down and out

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