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Staying in Gatlinburg, want to do Blue Ridge Parkway...

Staying in Gatlinburg, want to do Blue Ridge Parkway...

Old Jul 29th, 2003, 09:39 AM
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Staying in Gatlinburg, want to do Blue Ridge Parkway...

Hello! We are going to Gatlinburg this October and want to travel on Blue Ridge Parkway for a day trip. I heard it is very pretty and the fall foilage is great. My question is how to get there from Gatlinburg and about how far can we go up the parkway-before we have to turn around and head back to the chalet? Are there any must see spots? Short hikes? (I have a 3 year old) Places to eat/picnic along the way? We will probably eat breakfast in Gatlinburg that morning and head to the parkway and hope to be back in Gatlinburg around dark. Thanks for all your help.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 09:42 AM
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Last time I was in Gatlinburg, we took at drive around Cades' Cove. A beautiful area. Check it out.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 10:00 AM
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Try here:

smokey is offline  
Old Jul 29th, 2003, 11:31 AM
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I usually drive up the BRP from the Asheville area. What I do is make my stops along the way and drive a little more than half way (i.e., for an 8 hr trip up and back, drive about 5 hours with the stops and then allow yourself 3 hours to get back.) I love the Folk Art Center outside Asheville, if you make it that far.

The drive is absolutely beautiful in the summer and fall. ENJOY!!
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 05:36 PM
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Timing the foliage is tricky, but the trip should be memorable.

Getting to the BRP could turn into an ordeal given the month. Lots of people travel the Parkway due to the colors during October.

If you want to get to the parkway, then I think taking 441 over the mountain to Cherokee, NC is the best bet. Depending on the traffic, this should take about an hour. Once you pickup the BRP in Cherokee, you can head toward Asheville (about 2 hours due to traffic). You can then head toward Gatlinburg on I40 (which surprisingly, will have nice views). I would estimate this would also take around 2 to 3 hours. I-40 will take longer to return to Gatlinburg, but it will be a smoother ride.

As an alternative, take 441 but instead of picking up the Parkway in Cherokee, go west on 19 toward Bryson City, Fontana Village, Maryville, TN and then on to Gatlinburg. The advantage of this route is you should avoid the crowds of the Parkway and this is truly beautiful country. Things to see along the way would be Cherokee (touristy), Fountain Dam, rafters on the Nantahalla (lunch at Relia's Garden at the Nantahalla Outdoor Center), some huge trees in the Joyce Kilmer Wilderness area.

Have fun.

Mike Honeycutt
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