The U.S. Department of Transportation designated five Tennessee routes as either a National Scenic Byway or All-American Road. These Tennessee routes are added to the collection of 144 American roads that earned a designation based upon their archeological, cultural, historical, natural, recreation and scenic intrinsic qualities.
• Great River Road: This West Tennessee route is rich in history and culture and follows the Mississippi River from Tiptonville to Memphis. The byway is part of the 10-state Great River Road that travels from the headwaters in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.
• Sequatchie Valley National Scenic Byway: Known as Tennessee’s “Great Valley,” this scenic route features the Sequatchie River and is framed by the Cumberland Plateau and Walden’s Ridge.
• Cumberland National Scenic Byway: This route demonstrates the history and significance of the Upper Cumberland and connects landmarks in eight counties between the Cumberland Gap and Cumberland River.
• Norris Freeway: This Knoxville area route frames the town of Norris and Norris Dam State Park. The area is famed for its hiking, trout fishing and boating.
• Newfound Gap Road: This East Tennessee picturesque and historic route connects Gatlinburg with Cherokee, NC. At 5,046’, the route is the lowest drivable pass through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
In earning the new scenic designations, these routes will have greater access to federal grant funding through the National Scenic Byway Program and national marketing from the America’s Byways program. Members of each route seeking designation applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation in June 2020. Previous rounds of scenic designations occurred in 1996 and 2009. Tennessee has 10 nationally designated scenic routes, the fourth most in the country.