Cabin Rentals
in North Carolina

Book Now!

Scenic Drives in the North Carolina Mountains

The truly awesome mountains throughout western North Carolina provide some of the greatest scenic drives in America. Whether looking for a peaceful day trip, a picnic spot overlooking a creek, or a multi-day road trip the scenic byways of North Carolina and its surrounding states have almost unlimited potential. Calling Sunset Farm Cabins your home base for you next Cabin Rental in North Carolina or better yet, your home away from during your next visit will provide access within a short drive of our entrance.

The Great Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Pisgah Mountains and many other locations provide drivers with dozens of options for their next visit to enjoy the outdoors and nature.

Sunset Farm Cabins to Newfound Gap

Time: 2 hours roundtrip
Distance: 27 Miles each way

Newfound GapDescription – This drive departing from your Smoky Mountain Rental Cabin will take you through the famous town of Cherokee and quickly up to an elevation of 5,046 feet at Newfound Gap. This is the lowest drivable pass through the Great Smoky Mountains but will provide long range mountain views throughout the range. We recommend stopping at the Oconaluftee welcome center at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park just north of Cherokee before proceeding north on the 441 as they provide lots of information in the brand new building completed in 2011. Once you reach the top a large parking lot is provided for your convenience to enjoy stretching your legs and taking in the views and cooler temperature. Please keep in mind the elevation change when planning your drive as the temperature will be much cooler than the base and road closures are not uncommon during the winter months.

Map to Newfound Gap

Side Trips

Clingmans DomeClingman’s Dome – The turn to access Clingman’s Dome is .5 miles prior to reaching the parking lot at Newfound Gap. Clingman’s Dome, although requires a fairly steep .5 mile each way hike to the tower provides the most spectacular views easily accessible in the park.

Restaurants to enjoy

Peter’s Pancakes and Waffles – This is the greatest local breakfast restaurant in Cherokee just before you reach the entrance to the park. Look at for it on the right side of the street.

Granny’s Kitchen – 1098 Painttown Road, Cherokee, NC 28719 – Popular country cooking buffet style restaurant located in Cherokee 1 mile east of Harrah’s Casino on highway 19.

Tribal Grounds Coffee House – 938 Tsalagi Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719 – If all you want is some coffee to start the day stop here in the Riverbend Center in downtown Cherokee for a great cup of joe.

Cades Cove

Time: All Day
Distance from Sunset Farm Cabins – 70 Miles

Cades CoveDescription – Cades Cove is an 11 mile one way loop on the north side of the Smoky Mountain National Park that is very popular for viewing wildlife, historic buildings, bicycling and cruising. Cades Cove is one of the best locations for viewing wildlife including White Tail Deer and Black Bears which are not uncommon to see. About half way around the loop a visitor center with restrooms and the Cable Mill historic area offer a great stopping point to enjoy. The area also offers trails to walk if that is something you may desire. Visitors should know that feeding wildlife is against the law and can result in fines and arrest so please keep your distance. Driving from Sunset Farm Cabins is a fairly lengthy drive so plan on spending most of the day if you plan visiting Cades Cove.

Map to Cades Cove

Side Trips

Sugarland Welcome Center


Time: 3-4 hours round-trip
Distance – 49 miles each way

Cataloochee ElkDescription – If you want to see Elk visit Cataloochee! Back in 2001 Cataloochee Valley was a part of an experiment by releasing Elk into the park in this area. Early mornings or evenings provide the best chances to view and visitors may even spot bear, deer, and turkeys which are not uncommon. The area also contains historic buildings dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries which include two churches, a school, and several homes and outbuildings. Be forewarned that getting to this area can be a challenge for some visitors as it contains windy gravel roads with some steep drop offs. The narrow road may require drivers to stop and backup depending on traffic so please use caution. Even though the drive may be an adventure in itself we highly recommend this trip as it very exciting seeing this many Elk up close.

Map to Cataloochee

Side Trips

Maggie Valley

Roaring Fork

Time: 3-4 hours
Distance – 40 miles each way

Roaring ForkDescription – The name Roaring Fork was derived from a mountain stream that is one of the larger and fastest flowing streams in the park. This is a short 6 mile one-way loop road that is great for viewing wildflowers, historic buildings, rushing mountain streams, and old-growth forest. Visitors may also enjoy the Noah “Bud” Ogle self-guiding nature trail that starts prior to entering the Motor Nature Trail and offers an authentic mountain farmstead, streamside tubmill and the Ogle’s handcrafted wooden flume plumbing system.

If you enjoy hiking and waterfalls just beyond the farmstead is the trailhead for Rainbow Falls which is one of the most popular waterfalls in the park. This is a 5.4 mile round-trip hike and considered fairly strenuous so be prepared if you plan on hiking.

Map to Roaring Fork

Side Trips

Sugarland Welcome Center

Cherohala Skyway

Time: 1.5 – 2 hours on the Skyway
Distance: 52 miles to the beginning and 40 miles+ miles on the Skyway

Cherohala SkywayDescription – Since it opened in 1996 millions of visitors have enjoyed this road that has been designated a National Scenic Byway. At a cost of over 100 million dollars to construct visitors can rest assure that it is a spectacular drive stretching through the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee and the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina. The name was derived from combining the two national forests Cherokee and Nantahala to form “Cherohala”. Drivers will experience an elevation change from about 900 feet all the way to over 5400 feet at the state border at Haw Knob all within about 40 miles connecting Robbinsville, NC to Tellico Plains, TN.

For guests at Sunset Farm Cabins that want to experience the Cherohala Parkway planning beforehand can help in making the most of your drive. Since this is 40 miles each way deciding if you want to drive the Skyway there and back the same way or if you want to arrive or return with a different route can save you some time. There is a Visitor Center in Tellico Plains so you may want to start the Skyway at the Visitor Center by arriving by way of a different route. If you decide to start the Skyway in Robbinsville and end in Tellico Plains you may want to return via an alternate route.

Directions to the Cherohala
Download a Map of the Skyway

Side Trips

Lake Santeetlah

Blue Ridge Parkway Cherokee to Asheville

Time: 2-4 hours to Asheville – Return via I-40/74 45 minutes
Distance: 88 miles to Asheville – 54 miles back from Asheville to Sunset Farm Cabins

Blue Ridge ParkwayDescription – The Blue Ridge Parkway is America’s Favorite Drive and just celebrated its 75th Anniversary last year. North Carolina contains mile markers 216.9 at the Virginia/NC state line till it ends in Cherokee at mile marker 469.1 which is about 15 minutes from Sunset Farm Cabins. Millions of travelers each year experience the Blue Ridge Parkway and spectacular vistas at nearly each curve. Although you will not find commercial businesses or residences on the parkway the road does weave through historic towns offering great experiences and exploration. The headquarters are located in Asheville and visitors driving on this portion can stop at a Visitor Center at mile marker 384.

Blue Ridge Map

Side Trips

Biltmore Estate

Notes – Drivers that do not want to drive all the way to Asheville have the option to exit on highway 19 near Maggie Valley which only takes about 30 minutes or to exit on highway 74 near Waynesville which would take about 45 minutes on the parkway. These options would significantly reduce the travel time.

Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap

Time: 2-3 hours round-trip
Distance – 50 miles each way

Tail of the DragonDescription – This is without question is one of the most famous, if not the most famous motorcycle and sports car road in America. With 318 curves within an 11 mile stretch of US129 driving this road is sure to please any adventurous spirit. Deals Gap is located on the Tennessee/North Carolina border and sits at 1962 feet in elevation. The Tail of the Dragon makes up the southwestern border of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and therefore has no development for drivers to worry about. With some of the sharp curves having names like Hog Pen Bend, Killboy, Wheelie Hell, Copperhead Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Beginner’s End, Gravity Cavity, and Brake or Bust Bend one can imagine some of the dangers for riders that do not take serious caution while driving this stretch of highway. Law enforcement has drastically increased over the years and the speed limit has decreased over the years with the goal of decreased the overall accidents. The Tail of the Dragon has been made famous from being included in movies like “The Fugitive” where Harrison Ford jumped from the Cheoah Dam and other media sources which include Thunder Road in 1958, Two-Lane Blacktop in 1971, In Dreams in 1999 and Top Gear in 2010. For guests staying at our Smoky Mountain Cabin Rentals we hope you choose to experience The Dragon but take great caution to avoid any accidents.

Map to The Tail of the Dragon

Side Trips

Fontana Dam

Nantahala Byway

Time: 1.5 hours
Distance – 50 miles

Nantahala BywayDescription – Located just 15 miles down the highway from Sunset Farm Cabins in the Nantahala National Forest this 43 mile stretch passes through the Nantahala Gorge and offers spectacular scenery. This byway will take drivers through the gorge that offers world class whitewater rafting with a number of well know outfitters.

Map and Information

Side Trips


Restaurants to enjoy

Burger Basket – Popular small burger shack on the side of the highway with great prices. Look for it on the left before reaching the NOC.
River’s End at the NOC – Located on the highway and Nantahala River with good food at reasonable prices. The views of the river and rafters make it a great choice.

Helpful Links

North Carolina DOT

Book Online Online reservations now available for all your North Carolina Mountains Cabin Rentals.