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great smokey mountains 3-4 day itinerary

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great smokey mountains 3-4 day itinerary

My husband and I have never been to Great Smokey Mtns Natl Park so would appreciate some help planning a 3-4 day itinerary in early May.

Where should be fly into?(should we go into one city and home from another?). What are best lodging options? Should we move around? Should I try and get into LeConte Lodge?

Favorite hikes/drives, etc?

Thank you!

Nashville, TN
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1. Re: great smokey mountains 3-4 day itinerary

Hi savytrav,

Unless your a private pilot, there are two close major airports. The closest is McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) and the Nashville International Airport (BNA). For some, it's sometimes cheaper to fly into Nashville, rent a car, and drive to The Smokies. Then back. For others, Knoxville is cheaper to do this. You'll have to do some research to find out which one is cheaper from Minneapolis.


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2. Re: great smokey mountains 3-4 day itinerary

I think it is to late to try to get Lecone Lodge. If not as long as you can hike that much, yes do it!

The closes major airport is Knoxsville. Reserve your rental car now the price goes up the closer it gets to when you want it.

Best lodgeing is diffarent to diffarent people. I prefer a hotel. I like to spend all day in the park not cooking and cleaning on vacation, and if it turns ou to be a bad place I can leave and go some where else.

Drives: Cades Cove, Roaring Fork, Newfound Gap Road and Clinmans Dome Rd off of it,

Foot Hills Parkway, Cherohala Parkway, and Blue Ridge Parkway.

Brewton, Alabama
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3. Re: great smokey mountains 3-4 day itinerary

I think you should stay in a chalet/cabin. We have done both hotels and cabins. If your budget is able to include a cabin, try one. We have stayed 1/2 a week in a hotel and finished the week in a cabin. We did that so we could enjoy downtown G'burg within walking distance. Later in the week we mostly stayed in the park, so a cabin in Clalet Village was a logical place for us.

We drive. If we flew I would fly into Knoxville,TN because it is closer.

Unless you are a conditioned hiker, I would not stay at LeConte Lodge.(I am not)I believe I read where reservations are taken about a yr in advance.Give it a try if it's your bag,though.

Have a great trip.

Cullowhee, North...
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4. Re: great smokey mountains 3-4 day itinerary


Update on airports, Asheville Regional is a heck of lot closer than Nashville, and even Knoxville. If you fly to Nashville, shoot you about the same distance you can fly into Atlanta and the flight would likely be cheaper. You can get to the NC side of the park from Asheville in about 50 minutes.

There is little to no chance you will get into LeConte. That place books up a year in advance. If you have backpacking equipment there is a nice Applachain Trail style shelter which I somewhat frequent. You dont get to hang out with the beautiful people, but you are on top of LeConte just the same.

If you are not camping in the park which I highly reccomend, your lodging options outside the park include towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Townsend and Cosby on the TN side. Maggie Valley, Dillsboro, Cherokee, Bryson City on the NC side.

Off the top of my head for NC side lodging head to www.greatsmokies.com (Bryson City, Swain Chamber), www.mountainlovers.com (Jackson County chamber). On the TN side if you want cabins try www.bestcabinsbyowner.com the Gatlinburg Chamber does not allow individual cabin owners to join, maybe they allow property managers, I am not sure.

I would visit the NPS web site and do a little more trip planning and then look at airports, flights and so on.

3 or 4 days

I would probably take a day and drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway

I would take a day and perhaps hike to Andrews Bald off Clingman's Dome

I am partial to Cataloochee over Cades Cove for wildlife and scenic reasons. Cades Cove has more cultural features and is a bit more crowded.

I would perhaps suggest a waterfall hike, like Rainbow or Grotto Falls off Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail or Ramsey Cascades.

There are many things to do in the park and outside the park in the surrounding National Forests, I tend to think once you come you will plan another trip to do some more.

Hope this helps....

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5. Re: great smokey mountains 3-4 day itinerary

First, you've chosen a great time to visit. Crowds aren't yet at the their summer miserable-ness, the weather is mild, waterfalls are doing well, and blooming plants add a touch of color to the green foliage.

It'd be great if you could tell us a little about your interests. What difficulty hikes are you looking for? (Around how many miles can you do?) Do you want to spend the time to get to things off the beaten path? Are you interested in activities like tubing, fishing, horseback riding, bicycling, or picnicking? Thanks.

With only three or four days I personally would stay in one location.


6. Re: great smokey mountains 3-4 day itinerary

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