James K. Polk Office Building, Suite 400
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243-0333
Scenic Roadways Coordinator
A scenic byway is a roadway with a story to tell. This story can be expressed through tasty culinary treats, inspiring views, significant structures and historical landmarks, graceful wildlife, outdoor activities and festivals or other unique cultural qualities. Scenic byway status is a means for communities to connect with visitors and showcase what it is that makes their area so special. Scenic byway status can also conserve and enhance assets, attract tourism and provide an organized management approach to the multiple jurisdictions that makeup a byway corridor. Learn more by accessing Tennessee’s Scenic Roadway Handbook here.
National Scenic Byways
The National Scenic Byways Program is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The program was established under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 and prepares the way for the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to recognize certain roads as National Scenic Byways or All-American Roads. The designation of a National Scenic Byway or All-American Road is based on archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic intrinsic qualities. There are 150 designated byways in 46 states, including five in Tennessee, as identifed below.
Sunset on the Tennessee River at Bruton Branch Recreation Area in Hardin County
Photo Courtesy: Cari Griffith Photography
Other Scenic Byways
Tennessee has several scenic roadways that have not yet achieved National Scenic Byway status. These roadways all have an active committee of local leaders and volunteers which plan activities and promote their communities, as well as corridor management plans and unique marketing materials. The other scenic byways are identified below.
More information can be found by contacting TDOT Scenic Roadway Coordinator Mike McClanahan by phone at (615) 741-0803 or by email at Michael.McClanahan@tn.gov.
Discover Tennessee Trails
A partnership between TDOT and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Discover Tennessee Trails, features unique cultural and natural resources that communities across Tennessee have to offer the traveling public. The program includes marketing and promotional items like brochures, a website, and way-finding signage. These 16 trails touch all 95 counties in the state.
More information can be found at Discover Tennessee Trails.
Tennessee Scenic Highway & Parkways Program
In keeping with state statute, TDOT administers the Tennessee Scenic Highway Program and Tennessee Parkway Program. These state programs provide for the conservation of an area’s scenic qualities by limiting the encroachment of new outdoor advertising and junkyards. Scenic Highway routes have limitations of the height of new structures.
Routes in either program should have logical termini; provide an alternative to nearby highly travelled roads; unique historical, scenic and natural qualities; and furnish visitors with a safe and relaxing experience where they can experience the natural beauty of Tennessee.
Information on the Tennessee Scenic Highway Program can be found in TCA § 54-17-114. Information on the rules and regulation of outdoor advertising along Tennessee Parkways Program routes can be found in TCA § 54-17-206. Original routes in the Tennessee Parkway System can be found in TCA § 54-17-203.