Great, here's a little feedback...
I agree, it is very nice to look at! Nice color balance, typography is clean... Your contours+hillshade look great together (although wondering about elevation labels - TBD I'm sure...?).
I would also agree that the highway and the ONF area boundary overlap a bit too much (I noticed it first near Docker's Gap, wondering what happened to the east (?) boundary. But I like the effect, I think just nudging the black/green off the road would be helpful.
I'm guessing the small dot + line burst are viewpoints? I like that symbol....
I agree, the mileage labels are excellent - not sure if a carrot would be needed, after deciding that the numbers were in fact mileage (which a legend would certainly have cleared up), the numbers were clear enough to me.
Visually I really like this map - maybe that's why I spent so much time looking it over!
Very curious to hear more back story!
Thanks for sharing!