Smokies in January?

Old Nov 4th, 2007, 09:20 AM
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Smokies in January?

I'm desperately in need of a little getaway from work and am tentatively planning for one (or more!) for sometime in the next couple of months.

Most of my favorite vacations in the past have been during off season times...January in particular.

I'm looking to spend 3-5 days in the Smokies (possibly Jan 2-5), mainly in the National Park. I'll probably spend part of a day wandering around Gatlinburg since I've never been there, but don't see that as the highlight of my trip. My main interest will be hiking and other nature-related activities.

My question is: am I crazy to try this in January? I plan on making my plans very tentative so they can be cancelled at the last minute if the weather forecast looks very bad. I definitely don't mind hiking in the cold, actually prefer it to the heat and as I mentioned, want to enjoy a little solitude without the crowds that seem to be present in this area much of the year.

Any thoughts? Thanks for your feedback!
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Old Nov 4th, 2007, 03:37 PM
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I love winter in the mountains. There's no reason NOT to do it - unless an ice storm is predicted.
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Old Nov 4th, 2007, 03:53 PM
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Agree. I know people who have gone there around New Year's and it was still very crowded, but we have found that the days right after a holiday (like Labor Day, etc.) are usually a good off season time to go almost anywhere.
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Old Nov 4th, 2007, 05:06 PM
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I think you will probably be alright, as long as you check the weather which I am sure you will. You will have the advantage of good views due to trees being bare. Be sure and make the drive through Cades Cove.

This website might help you plan:
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Old Nov 4th, 2007, 06:35 PM
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I agree. It'll almost certainly be cold in January, but as you sound prepared for that, your only problem is if they're predicting ice or snow the weekend you'll be there. Watch what city you're checking weather for - I'm originally from Knoxville, and on days when Knoxville had almost no problems, it's possible a road or two in the mountains could be closed because of snow. But that doesn't happen terribly often. Most likely you'll have a chilly but hopefully lovely trip!
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Old Nov 4th, 2007, 07:01 PM
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We have crossed over the top of Newfound Gap many times during Dec/Jan. A lot of people do it just for the drive. G/burg is nice but do cross over and spend at least one day on the Cherokee NC side and look around... Sometimes if the weather is bad or threatening the NPS will close the road. Make sure you are on the right side of the Mountain, if not you are in for a long drive.
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Old Nov 5th, 2007, 02:04 PM
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Thanks for the advice everyone! I think I'm going to go ahead and request the vacation days and hope the weather turns out reasonably OK.
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Old Nov 7th, 2007, 02:32 AM
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We often go to the Mts. in Jan./Feb. so our kids can play in the snow. Here in CLT, we rarely get a sniff of it. Enjoy...
Old Nov 7th, 2007, 05:05 AM
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We spent a week in the smokies last January and loved it. We stayed in a cabin in Sevierville. The weather was all over the place. I was actually quite warm when we first got there (40s - 70s). We went into the park one day stopped at visitor center and it started snow flurries. Drove up to chimney tops picnic area and it got whiter and whiter as we drove up. The picnic area was all white with snow and it was one of the most beautifull sights I have ever seen, but its was probably in the 20's. Skiied at Ober gatlinburg and only one slope was open because the weather was to warm to make snow. I heard that the next week they opened all slopes since it got much colder.
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