Mountain Waters Scenic Byway

The Mountain Waters Scenic Byway is a 61.3-mile drive that winds through the Nantahala National Forest's two river gorges, hardwood forests and countryside. Traveling from Highlands to Almond, the byway follows U.S. 64, old U.S. 64, SR 1310 (Wayah Road), and U.S. 19/74.

Attractions you can expect to find along the route include: Cullasaja Gorge, Bridal Veil Falls, Dry Falls, Cliffside Lake, Van Hook Glade, Wayah Creek, Rufus Morgan Trail, Wayah Bald, Nantahala Lake and the Nantahala River.

Check out the brochure.

At a Glance

Reservations: None
Fees: None
Closest Towns: Franklin, Highlands and Bryson City
Water: None
Restroom: none
Operated By: Nantahala National Forest, Nantahala Ranger District, 90 Sloan Road, Franklin, NC 28734, (828)-524-6

General Information


From Highlands take US 64 W/ NC 28N to Franklin (18miles). Turn left on US 64W. Folow US 64 W for about 6 miles. Turn right on SR 1442 (old Murphy Road) and travel .2 miles. Turn left on SR1310 W (Wayah Road). For 28 miles, stay on SR 1310W, which passess Nantahala Lakes. In Beechertown, turn right onto US 19N/.74 E. Follow US 19N/74E throuh Nantahala GOrge to Almond. From Bryson City Take US 19S/74W and follow US 74W for about 20 miles through Nantahala Gorge. Turn left on SR 1310 E (Wayah Road) and travel 28 miles. SR 1310E passess Nantahala Lake and Wayah Gap. Near Franklin, turn right onto SR1442 (Old Murphy Road) and go .2 miles. Turn left on US 64E and follow 24 miles to Highlands.

General Notes:

Nantahala Ranger District
90 Sloan Road
Franklin, NC 28734
(828) 524-6441


Campground Camping

RV Camping

Group Camping

River and Stream Fishing

Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Viewing Scenery


dispersed picnic areas at pull-offs
Fire Information tables
Difficulty Level: Easy

Scenic Driving

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Elevation : 
3000- 4000 ft