Frequently Asked Questions

What's the purpose of the Tennessee Byway program?
The program identifies roadways containing scenic, historical, cultural, recreational, natural, or archaeological significance. Tennessee designates certain roads as a Tennessee Byway to encourage the traveling public to get off the interstate and onto the backroads.

Tennessee Byways also support local economies by inviting the visitor to experience lesser-known destinations.

What makes a byway different from other roadways throughout Tennessee?
Once a road is designated as a Tennessee Byway it becomes part of an elite group of roadways that offer the visitor a chance to take in amazing scenery, enjoy recreational resources, discover Tennessee's rich Civil War history, and learn about the state's treasured places and people.

What is a Tennessee Byway?
Tennessee has three byway classifications: Tennessee Scenic Highway, Tennessee Parkway, and National Scenic Byway.

Tennessee Parkway:

  • Designated by the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation
  • A request from the individual, organization, agency, or group desiring a route be designated as an official Tennessee Parkway must submit a request in writing to the Commissioner of TDOT.
  • The letter requesting the route to be designated as part of the Tennessee Parkway system must detail:
    • The route information
    • A map showing the route location
    • Pictures showing the route's historical, scenic, and/or natural qualities is recommended
  • The request must be accompanied with strong community support, and a description of how the route would contribute to the overall Tennessee Parkway system.
  • The requested Tennessee Parkway designation must connect with an established Tennessee Parkway route and must be a state route.
  • The Commissioner of the Department has the authority to approve or deny a route designation for the Tennessee Parkway system.

Tennessee Scenic Highway:

  • Is designated by means of Legislation. Contact the Tennessee State Legislature to request that a route be designated as an official Scenic Highway.
  • A Scenic Highway does not have to connect to another state designated route and can be a non-state route.

For further information please see Tennessee Code: 54-17-102 and 54-17-202. Please visit link: Tennessee Code

National Scenic Byway:

Under the National Scenic Byways Program, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation designates roads that are a destination unto themselves. The opportunity to apply for such designation happens about every three years.

To apply for National Scenic Byway designation the road must first be designated as a state Tennessee Parkway or Tennessee Scenic Highway and must have adopted a Corridor Management Plan.

For more information on the National Scenic Byways Program please visit link:

What are other important considerations regarding Tennessee Byway designation?

  • Receiving a state designation as a Tennessee Byway is the first criteria to participating in the National Scenic Byways Program.
  • Designation does not: limit road improvements nor does it affects land use controls

Are there restrictions for outdoor billboard advertising on a Tennessee Scenic Highway?

How can I get more information about the Tennessee Byway program?
Please contact:

Pam Monjar, Statewide Program Coordinator