We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Help me plan

Deg
Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
48 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Help me plan

Been working on my summer road trip with my 17 year old son. Tweaks and help is most appreciated.

Here's what I got so far.

Fly to Charlotte. Drive to Ashville for evening with relatives.

Day 2 - Drive to Townsend where we are staying two nights. Seems quieter and less touristy. What do people know about driving the back way to Townsend ( going south from Cherokee and ultimately up 129 ) The guy at the hotel said this is an incredible drive. Can some one help route me that way and tell me if it's too long and/or worth it to try. The talk about it as great for motorcycles...is it good for car driving?

Day 3-4. Two days hiking and driving in the Park. Stay in Gatlinburg our third night there.

Day 5 - White water rafting near Gatlinburg and then drive back to Ashville.

Day 6 - Drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway ( Grandfather's mountain/more ) to Boone, NC

Day 7 - Drive from Boone back to Charlotte to fly out.

We don't mind driving and exploring, that's the adventure. None of these drives seem to outrageous.

Additional thoughts welcome!!!

North Carolina
Level Contributor
553 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Help me plan

Tail of the Dragon is the road you are referring to and you can find directions here: www.tailofthedragon.com/maps_directions.html

I have never driven it but plan to do it on our next trip out that way. Not sure why we have never done it; I am sure it is because of my itch to get to Gatlinburg as quick as possible! lol It is a great road for motorcycles but I hear it is great for cars as well. Just be very, very careful with all the curves (318, I think it is!).

When you go to Gatlinburg, I suggest eating at Calhoun's your one night there. There are many other places I would also suggest but if I had just one night, that is where we would eat. My husband would say Best Italian to you though!

I would definitely check out Grandfather's Mountain and also Blowing Rock http://www.theblowingrock.com/

If you are overnight in Boone, go to the outdoor drama, Horn in the West- http://www.welcometonc.com/detail/441.cfm and if you are in Cherokee overnight go to Unto These Hills- http://www.cherokee-nc.com/index.php?page=9

Hope that helps some!

Deg
Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
48 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Help me plan

Thanks for the resturant tip. I put a new post about Tail of the Dragon that might help both of us. Will be sure to see blowing rock on the way back to Charlotte.

Thanks for your help. Other thoughts out there?

vcv
Tennessee
Level Contributor
1,613 posts
157 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Help me plan

If you enjoy relatively narrow mountain roads with lots and lots of sharp curves, the Dragon might appeal to you. I recently drove it, thinking that it couldn't have been as hairy as I'd remembered it from 30 years ago--but it was! If you're looking for scenery, the drives through the park (from Cherokee to Gatlinburg and from Gatlinburg to Townsend on the Little River Road) will offer more (IMO) than the dragon.

Paris, Tn
Destination Expert
for Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge
Level Contributor
2,712 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Help me plan

You'll love Townsend. It is quieter, and less touristy.....but still close to all the places you'll wanna go to. While visiting the smokies, Cades Cove is a "must see." Its a glimps back in time to what life in the Cove was like back in the mid 1800's. Best time too go and see wildlife (bears, deer, and coyotes) is early morn and evening. Also, there's old pioneer cabins, old churches and cemetaries dating back to civil war dates. P.S. make sure to bring a camera

Deg
Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
48 posts
1 review
Save Reply
5. Re: Help me plan

Thanks. I booked two nights at the Riverstone hotel and the owner on the phone was clearly committed to helping a new customer. Cades Cove does sound great and it's on the list. We'll do one moderate hike and maybe a few other smaller hikes and explorations since we have two full days on Saturday and Sunday ( unfortunately our schedule puts us there on the weekend ). Other "must see" on your list? Thanks.

P.S. We've done Yellowstone, Highway 1, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Grand Tetons, Texas hill country, Algonquin Park Canada and some local stuff. I always bring my camera !!!

Paris, Tn
Destination Expert
for Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge
Level Contributor
2,712 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Help me plan

O.K., you twisted my arm.....one more "must see" attraction in Cades Cove is Rich Mountain Rd. It will be the 1st cut-off on your right, after you enter the cove. (you'll see a brown wooden stake sign) Rich Mountain Rd is a one way, uphil drive, (gravel, and easily driven....no RV's or campers)(about a 2 hours drive.) Be advised thid drive takes you out of the park and Cades Cove. So, it will be best to do the Rich Mountain auto tour and Cades Cove individually.

vcv
Tennessee
Level Contributor
1,613 posts
157 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Help me plan

Cades Cove loop closes one morning for bicycles--not sure which day--maybe Saturday--check with the Park Service. When you drive it, get there as soon (or before) the gate opens--not just for the wildlife but for the traffic (traffic jams resemble those in major cities at rush hour!). In Townsend near the park entrance there is a small museum, which focuses on the early history of the area; there is a small fee but the museum is interesting and well worth an hour or two. A nice little restaurant in Townsend on the west side of the highway is Sister Cats (or Katz)--it's set back from the road and has gourmet (sort of) food at very reasonable prices.

Deg
Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
48 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: Help me plan

Calhoun's looks like a steak place...southern chain we don't have here up North. Did you mean something else when you mentioned Italian. Heard from another source about the Pancake Pantry.

leftcoast
Level Contributor
280 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Help me plan

a couple notes for you.

YES - the Tail of the Dragon is fun to drive. Take it slow...you can make yourself car sick. Pull over when you can and let the tailgating idiots pass you.

YES - Townsend is a great place to stay compared with other alternatives in the area. A couple of Townsend restaurant recommendations for you: Little River BBQ and Miss Lily's Cafe.

As another poster noted, Cades Cove is closed to car traffic until 10 am on Saturdays, and also on Wednesdays. You can rent a bike at the Cades Cove Campground - I recommend it - a great way to see the cove.

Charleston
Level Contributor
222 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Help me plan

Deg,

I think your trip looks great. I'd make a couple of suggestions...

One: If I were you, I'd just stay all 3 nights in the same place. Townsend is close enough that I don't think you'll regret doing that. Quite frankly, getting the chance to drive in the park back to Townsend one more night is a good thing, if you ask me. And I don't ever recall that road being crowded in the evening. This will allow you to not have to plan part of that third day getting out by checkout time, and checking into the other place after checkin time. Just an idea.

Two: When you go to North Carolina, check out "Sliding Rock." I've not done this since I was a kid, but I remember it being lots of fun. Don't ask me why I haven't been there recently, there really isn't a good reason. Check out a photo here.. http://www.alleneasler.com/slidingrock.html . You said you like adventure. This is basically a natural waterslide. It only costs one dollar per person to enjoy it. It's located in the Pisgah National Forest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kjlJgEaxRA

Check out the video from youtube:)

Raymond

http://gosmoky.wordpress.com