State Highway 281 between Sapphire and the South Carolina border is known as Whitewater Way, taking its name from Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall east of the Rockies and one of many waterfalls in this southern region of the Nantahala National Forest. This Scenic Byway passes Gorges State Park, which with a temperate climate and near-tropical rainfall is a virtual rainforest and home to many rare species of plants and animals. The park is new to the State Parks system and still in developmental stages, but visitors can enjoy its plunging waterfalls, deep gorges and lush vegetation.
Length: 9 miles
Drive Time: 20 minutes
For a detailed driving route and map, download the NC Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byways guide.