Of course, it’s exciting to think of all the things to do once you arrive in Franklin, North Carolina – the mountains rise on every side of the valley, calling you to hiking, fishing, kayaking, and other adventures, while the small town coziness rounds out a feeling of relaxation and rest – but have you ever realized that the journey in could be one of the best parts?
Let’s talk about going the long way round from Highlands, Cherokee, and Atlanta.
Highlands is a beautiful mountaintop town frequented by celebrities and locals alike, so if it’s your last stop on the way to Franklin, there are several ways to head down into the valley.
The most frequented route is US 64, which takes about 40 minutes. The views are beautiful, and several waterfalls dot the landscape as you wind up the tight curves and watch the world fall away. It’ll feel like an adventure without ever leaving your car, but if you choose to make a stop, be sure to walk the short trail behind Dry Falls to see a rare angle of the roaring water.
You could also drive down to Georgia and up through Sky Valley, which is only 50 minutes. While it adds around 10 minutes to your trip, drivers who would like a bit of cushion on the mountain roads can enjoy two lanes as they navigate the route’s sharper curves.
Travelling from Cherokee
Is culturally-rich Cherokee your last stop on the way to Franklin? We’ve got routes for you, too.
There are two main ways to travel: you could swing to the east on US 441 and pass through the quaint and lovely town of Dillsboro (about 40 minutes), or you could take US 28 to wind up through the mountains on an exciting stretch of road (55 minutes).
The choice comes down to how adventurous you are. The route through Dillsboro has some construction on US 23, but it doesn’t slow traffic much, and the highway has two lanes each way while traversing the mountains. US 28, on the other hand, takes a bit longer but treats avid drivers to the thrill of hugging each tight curve.
Travelling from Atlanta
Finally, if you’re heading up from the big city, we have routes for you, too!
Most will come up I-985 until it turns into US 23 – it’s an easy way to travel, since it’s a straight shot once you leave I-85 in Atlanta, and takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes. You’ll also be treated to a faraway view of the mountains breaking through the trees, and the North Georgia mountains are a great taste of what’s to come.
If the truly scenic route is what you’re after, stay on I-85 and take the exit for US 76 to ride through national forest land and arrive in Clayton, Georgia. The roads are two-way traffic but not too curvy – just enough to get you ready for Franklin. It adds more travel time than the traditional route, taking about 3 hours, but if you’re willing to spend an extra 40 minutes driving through beautiful forests, US 76 is the way to go.
Wherever you’re from, welcome!
Franklin is delighted to host your next mountain adventure! While you’re here, why not explore some of our housing, dining, and outdoor adventures? Getting here is just half the fun!