Road to Nowhere


In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this scenic drive and hike is well known for bringing visitors from near and far. You will enjoy this beautiful scenic drive through lush forests ending in a network of hiking trails for all activity levels and abilities. 

Find this historical area just outside of Bryson City, North Carolina on Lakeshore Drive and explore the Road to Nowhere. 

History of the Road

In the 1940's, a road was flooded by the Little Tennessee River when they built the Fontana Dam and created Lake Fontana. 

A promise was made that a new road would be built to replace the old one. The new road was started and construction went on for a time, but the road project was eventually abandoned and never finished. 

Today, the Road to Nowhere is the 8 mile stretch of road that was built that ends in a tunnel before an abrupt end. Near the end of the road, the path leads off in a series of hiking trails. 
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Along the border between North Carolina and Tennessee is the lush and expansive Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With its plant diversity and rich history of the Southern Appalachian mountain culture, the park is the most visited in America. 

Visit the park for its beautiful waterfalls, black bears, wildflowers, and the popular destination of Cades Cove. 

Be sure to bring hiking shoes, a jacket, and water along with you to visit the Great Smokies. 

The park is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week year round weather permitting. 


Staying in Bryson City for a few day at Deep Creek Campground. Did this one afternoon and I am so glad we did. The road to Nowhere takes you to the tunnel to nowhere which takes you to a very nice hiking trail. The road was very well maintained and the scenery was unbelievable. We pulled over along the way about 7-8 miles on way to the tunnel. There are a few scenic pull over stops that are breathtaking. I was nervous a little as my husband was the driver and it I did not want him to take his eyes off the road as they twist and turn around the mountain. Some people are driving really fast and come in hot at the end of the road which seems a little dangerous. The road ends at the tunnel. We had to park along the side of the road as there is very few parking spots and it has a lot of visitors. Take the time to do the trail coming out of the tunnel (tunnel bypass trail) it brings you back to the parking lot. It is a very easy trail (narrow). It is very easy trail actually. I feel like just about anyone that can walk a couple of miles can do it. Scenic and worth taking the extra hour to do.
Angela K - TripAdvisor
At the recommendation from a local, we drove the road to nowhere into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Along the road we stopped at a view point with great views of the lake and mountains and had a picnic lunch. We continued on the the end of the road where we parked and walked a few hundred feet to the tunnel. It is surprisingly large, and sits in the middle of nowhere. We walked through the tunnel, which was not at all creepy on the sunny afternoon we visited. Most visitors stop at the far side of the tunnel, but we continued on the trail for about half mile. The forest was lush and inviting and the trail well marked. Well worth an explore.
Lori T - TripAdvisor
Saw this place listed on trip advisor. We like to try all the listed things in areas on trip advisor. Definitely worth stopping.. Very cool and worth the short walk to see and experience!!
Jamey - TripAdvisor