Scenic route from Atlanta to Nashville

To get from Atlanta to Nashville via the interstate highway system takes about 4 hours, but if you’ve got some time to spare, you can try some of the back roads through Georgia.

Get on Georgia 52 near Ellijay and Fort Mountain State Park. There’s lots of scenic views, and Ellijay is famous for its apple barns ( and ciders, and many are open year-round. You can get to Highway 52 from Dahlonega, a picturesque small town that was once the center of the first U.S. gold rush, starting in 1829. The town supported 15,000 miners and lasted until 1848, when gold was discovered in the Sierra Nevada mountains and everyone headed west.

Just south of Chattanooga, TN, is Lookout Mountain, which is well worth the visit. You can climb the mountain via well marked trails and see seven states from its summit. There’s also Lover’s Leap, a waterfall that drops about a hundred feet. If you want to stay awhile, also see Ruby Falls, a gorgeous underground waterfall. It’s located not far from Lookout Mountain. Both can be done in a day. The southern end of Lookout Mountain hosts Cloudland Canyon State Park, which has some moderately difficult hiking but gorgeous views.

Once you get to Tennessee, you may enjoy a drive up TN 28 and US127 in the Sequatchie River Valley. Fall Creek Falls State Park (north of Dunlap, TN) is beautiful. Once you get to Nashville, enjoy some of the best live music from multiple genres.

Tickets for Lookout Mountain and Ruby Falls can be bought online here: