United States Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

Help building an itinerary around Great Smoky Mountains NP in October

Jump to last reply

We are a couple in our 60's and are looking forward to seeing the Fall Foliage on a trip to USA in September and October 2013. We will be visiting family in Indianapolis and want to do some touring from 7 October to 21/22 October, and maybe from 24 to 30 Oct after we go back to Indianapolis from 21-23 October for a family gathering. I have done some research and understand that Columbus Day falls on 15 October, and hence the GSMNP may be overrun with visitors, given that it is a long weekend and the peak of the Fall foliage season. We definitely do not want to be caught in crawling traffic :) as we are going for the peace and tranquility of the great outdoors!

Our tentative itinerary:
Mon 7 Oct: Fly IND to Washington
Tues 8 Oct: Washington
Wed 9 Oct: Washington
Thurs10 Oct: Washington
Fri 11 Oct: Fly Washington to Ashville
Sat 12 Oct: Asheville north to Blueridge Parkway ? up to Blowing Rock
Sun 13 Oct: Asheville
Mon 14 Oct: Drive south of Asheville/Blueridge Parkway to Great Smoky Mountain NP.
Visit Clingman's Dome or do Heintooga Overlook ? Stay around Cherokee or ?
Townsend ? Wears Valley
Tues 15 Oct: Cades Cove ? Sugarland Visitors Centre OR Foothills Parkway
Wed 16 Oct: ? what area of GSMNP. ?Fly out of Knoxville or drive back to Ashville?
The answer would depend a lot on what to do next, I guess
17 Oct - 20 Oct ? Any interesting sidetrips
Sun 21 Oct: Return to Indianapolis

Questions:
1) I have allocated 11 to 16 Oct for Asheville/ Blueridge Parkway/ GSMNP to try to time it for peak colours in the respective areas as forecast by www.romanticasheville.com. Will I be able to avoid the worst crowds by visiting the NC end first? Why does the TN end seem so much more busy? Any suggestions for a more convenient/efficient route to take into account other sidetrips?
2) I am open to suggestions for sidetrips around my dates at GSMNP/ Asheville. Chose Washington mainly because it was the major attraction nearby. Any suggestions for a varied holiday experience would be highly appreciated. We are interested in scenic drives, food, architecture, culture. Not really interested to do Nashville, or the Civil War routes.
3) What are the most convenient airports to fly in and out of? Should we fly out of Knoxville or return to Ashville?
4) We would like to do some easy hikes, no steep inclines, about a hour duration, and a beautiful waterfall or view at the end would be wonderful! I have some knee problem, so need to avoid steep inclines and too many steps or unlevel ground. Any good suggestions for hikes on our route?
5) We have seen some castles/ great homes in UK, France, Italy, Austria, so I am wondering if we should skip Biltmore Estate.
6) DH would be the driver, and he is not comfortable with sheer cliffs and heights, He was ok with driving to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada but did not like the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler at all :). Is the Blue Ridge Parkway very difficult to drive ie narrow and winding with narrow shoulders near sheer drops?
7) Recommendations for accommodation and restaurants would be very helpful.

Thanks for reading my long post and looking forward to all your comments and suggestions.

68 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

  • Announcement:
  • Fodor's 100 Hotel Award Winners Announced
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Sep 17, 14 at 01:05 PM
View all United States activity »
  1. 1 Signal Mountain Lodge, Gardiner and Bozeman
  2. 2 MA to FL on Thanksgiving Day
  3. 3 Trip Report Low Country Honor Flight to Washington DC
  4. 4 Question About Sealodge
  5. 5 Broadway choices
  6. 6 Hawaii: Multi-generational family vacation
  7. 7 San Francisco vs. San Diego
  8. 8 Don't rent from Avis Car Rental
  9. 9 Baltimore Inner Harbor to DC - without a car; with luggage - suggestions?
  10. 10 5 Day Trip to New York in October
  11. 11 Worst Restaurants in America
  12. 12 First trip to Portland, OR - looking for recommendations
  13. 13 Door County or New Glarus, Wis visit 4th weekend in Oct 2014?
  14. 14 Fairbanks Alaska
  15. 15 Safe for female travelling alone to Alaska in early November?
  16. 16 Long Weekend In Austin, Texas
  17. 17 Help with seeing Rocky Mountain National Park
  18. 18 Yosemite Lodging
  19. 19 Colorado aspen updates
  20. 20 Museum of Arts and Design, NYC
  21. 21 Trip Report Trip Report - Yellowstone & Grand Tetons National Parks - July 18-25, 2014
  22. 22 Kauai and Molokai or Kauai and Maui for 10 days?
  23. 23 Road Trip in January - New Orleans to Lexington
  24. 24 Getaway
  25. 25 New England Skiing
View next 25 » Back to the top