Cullasaja River Gorge, Highlands

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Geologic Formation Nature / Park
The Cullasaja River is a short river located entirely in Macon County, North Carolina. It is a tributary of the Little Tennessee River (and in turn the Tennessee River, Ohio River and Mississippi River), into which it flows near the county seat of Franklin. It originates to the southeast, near Highlands, the county's only other town. It flows from manmade Lake Sequoyah, which is fed by Mirror Lake and other creeks and streams originating on the western side of the Eastern Continental Divide, which runs through the east side of Highlands.A two-lane highway called Mountain Waters Scenic Byway, which is the combined route of U.S. 64 and NC 28, runs through the Cullasaja Gorge, which is mostly protected as part of the Nantahala National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service has designated this to be a National Scenic Byway because of the river, and its numerous waterfalls, including:
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  • All the roads leading into Highlands are scenic but this one is especially appealing due to the number of waterfalls and attractions you pass on your way up to Highlands from Franklin, NC. As you near...  more »
  • Unless you're taking a hike, it's hard to see. It's a pretty gorge, but nothing spectacular. Take a pass and keep on driving up the mountain to Highlands.  more »
  • There is a fairly large waterfall about 8 miles from Highlands. If traveling from Highlands, go past the pull off and find a safe place to turn around. You can see the falls from the turnoff. The road...  more »