Skip to main content
Header image

Smoky Mountains

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.


Knoxville, TN to Gatlinburg, TN

46.0 miles: 1 hours, 15 minutes

Courtesy of Dollywood Publicity Department

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.

Recommended Stops


Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC

35.6 miles: 1 hours, 7 minutes

AAA/Sherry Mims

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.


Cherokee, NC to Asheville, NC

77.1 miles: 2 hours, 15 minutes Korzeniewski

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.

Recommended Stops


Asheville, NC to Chattanooga, TN

208.6 miles: 4 hours, 3 minutes

Wikimedia Commons/andoldent

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.


Chattanooga, TN to Knoxville, TN

130.5 miles: 2 hours, 17 minutes

Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

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.


Travel Like an Expert with AAA and Trip Canvas

Get Ideas from the Pros

As one of the largest travel agencies in North America, we have a wealth of recommendations to share! Browse our articles and videos for inspiration, or dive right in with preplanned AAA Road Trips, cruises and vacation tours.

Build and Research Your Options

Save and organize every aspect of your trip including cruises, hotels, activities, transportation and more. Book hotels confidently using our AAA Diamond Designations and verified reviews.

Book Everything in One Place

From cruises to day tours, buy all parts of your vacation in one transaction, or work with our nationwide network of AAA Travel Agents to secure the trip of your dreams!