Needmore Road Along The Little Tennessee River

Categories: Scenic Drives, Fall Foliage - western North Carolina


  • Scenic drive that connects Macon County and Swain County along the Little Tennessee River
  • Multiple fishing opportunities along the river's edge, especially known for small mouth Bass or 'Smallies'
  • Unique "swinging bridge" offers an awesome experience above the Little Tennessee River below
  • Great opportunity for canoeing, kayaking or just splashing around in the water of the Little Tennessee River
  • The gravel road literally hugs the river bank all the way until it changes to pavement in Swain County near the Nantahala Outdoor Center and white water rafting

The Local Scoop

Needmore Road along the Little Tennessee River is a drive to relax and take your time with, outside of Franklin, NC and nearby the Nantahala Outdoor Center and white water rafting.  This stretch of gravel and paved road connects Macon County and Swain County. The views of the Little Tennessee are as scenic as they come, especially in the early morning or late afternoon during the summer months.  
This road can be rather rough in spots so be aware of that.  If you have a nicer car and don't want to risk getting it dirty, this isn't the drive for you.  However, if you're looking for Smoky Mountain views, white water fun, southeast fishing, or you just desire a scenic drive to either Bryson City or the Nantahala Gorge, this is your road!
We strongly recommend the "swinging bridge" to all who like a little exhilaration from time to time.  It's nothing major, but the swinging from side to side and up and down will be sure to get your eyebrows raised and blood pumping!  Be cautious here, the limit is 4 adults on the bridge at one time.  During our last visit, we noticed some of the boards were a little loose too. 

Tip:  If you're traveling from the Franklin, NC area into Swain County, keep in mind that you will travel all the way to the stop sign (road changes from gravel to pavement) that puts you at U.S. Highway 19/74 near the Nantahala Outdoor Center, white water rafting and Fontana Lake.  Go right for Bryson City, Cherokee, Sylva and Asheville, NC.  Go left for the "NOC" or Nantahala Outdoor Center, Andrews, NC and Wayah Road (another scenic drive back to Franklin, NC).

The Local Directions

From Franklin, NC travel 12.1 miles along N.C. Highway 28 North to Tellico Road and the "Lost Bridge" on your left (see photo gallery). Cross the bridge and bear to the right for another 1.2 miles to "Needmore Road" on your right.  The gravel starts here.  Needmore Road along the Little Tennessee River is 9.2 miles in total distance.

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Nearest City
Macon County
Moderate via NC Highway 28
or US Highway 19/74 
Distance From
Franklin:  13.3 miles
Nantahala Outdoor Center:
13.5 miles