Great Smoky Mountains National Park
107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
HIGHLIGHTS: This hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a short distance from Bryson City, NC and at the end of the notorious “Road To Nowhere”. In the 1930s and 1940s, Swain County gave up the majority of its private land to the Federal Government for the creation of Fontana Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Federal government promised to replace Highway 288 with a new road and the new Lake View Drive was to have stretched along the north shore of Fontana Lake, from Bryson City to Fontana, NC. But Lakeview Drive fell victim to an environmental issue and construction was stopped, with the road ending at a tunnel about six miles into the park. Swain County’s citizens gave the unfinished Lakeview Drive its popular, albeit unofficial name “The Road To Nowhere.”
From the parking area at the end of the road, you immediately walk through a 375 yard long tunnel along a paved road wide enough for two cars. A short distance past the tunnel, it turns in to Lake View Drive (also known as Fontana Rd). Two miles in to the hike you reach the Whiteoak Branch Trail and desend just over a mile to Forney Creek and Campsite #74. Fontana Lake is a short distance from this campsite with excellent views to the south. Don’t expect a lot of privacy here. The area is popular with fisherman, boaters, and horseback riders. The boaters come across the lake and have easy access to this area which is well known for excellent trout along Forney Creek.