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Smoky Mountains Road Trip

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497.8 miles: 10 hours, 58 minutes
A trip through the Great Smoky Mountains and the cities straddling the sinuous Tennessee-North Carolina border offers a surprise around every turn. The curvy roads were made for lollygaggers, not the impatient, for those who stop to dawdle and gaze, breathing in the fragrance of rhododendron in the spring and soaking up brilliant colors in the fall.
1
Knoxville, TN to Gatlinburg, TN
46.0 miles: 1 hours, 15 minutes
After exploring downtown Knoxville, you’ll take several roads to the Great Smoky Mountains Parkway, which begins in nearby Sevierville. A destination in itself, the Parkway through Pigeon Forge is replete with scores of factory outlet stores, dinner theaters and country music venues.
2
Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC
35.6 miles: 1 hours, 7 minutes
This portion of US 441 showcases mountain vistas, so plan on a leisurely jaunt on US 441 as you pass over 5,048-foot-high Newfound Gap. Be sure to take in the impressive view at Campbell Overlook just outside Gatlinburg and enjoy the natural beauty of the Chimney Tops picnic area on the Little Pigeon River. The Quiet Walkways along the route offer restful contemplation.
3
Cherokee, NC to Asheville, NC
77.1 miles: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Just outside Cherokee, you’ll turn onto a mountainous road that becomes increasingly steeper. However, the resulting views are well worth the journey; on certain days you can see the characteristic blue haze over the mountains. Glittering Lake Junaluska frequently sidetracks motorists with its pristine waters.
4
Asheville, NC to Chattanooga, TN
208.6 miles: 4 hours, 3 minutes
After experiencing cool and crafty Asheville, you'll begin your return journey through the mountains. You’ll pass through the spectacular Nantahala Gorge and Ocoee, where white-water rafts seem to outnumber cars. Just beyond Cleveland, there's Chattanooga and its many attractions—Chattanooga Choo-Choo included.
5
Chattanooga, TN to Knoxville, TN
130.5 miles: 2 hours, 17 minutes
Most of today's journey between Chattanooga and Knoxville is on the interstate, allowing ample time for touring in either city. Be sure and ride the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway before leaving Chattanooga. Off I-75 near Sweetwater lies the Lost Sea Adventure, where visitors enjoy a boat ride on America’s largest underground lake.