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Practical overnight stop?

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Canton of Zurich...
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Practical overnight stop?

I will be driving through TN during a road trip, and I just wanted to know if it is practical to stop in the Smoky Mtns overnight. I have never been in the SMs, so I was unsure if it was an easy drive in and out of Gatlinburg from I40. Can it be done easily at night? My plan would be to arrive in the early evening, go for a hike in the early morning, and take off before noon. Thanks in advance!

Townsend, Tennessee
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for Townsend, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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1. Re: Practical overnight stop?

If you want the Smokies and not necessarily Gatlinburg, you can access a lot of the Park and hiking trails right off of I-40 in the Cosby/Greenbrier /Big Creek area in Tennessee. Gatliburg is approximately 30 mins from I-40/Cosby area to the east and 45 mins from exit 407 off of I-40 to the north. Those times without major traffic such as on a weekend in the summer months.

Tombstone, Arizona
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2. Re: Practical overnight stop?

If you drive in through Sevierville and PF into GB, that is the main parkway and will be lighted and easy to drive. There are other entrances, but none as well traveled by most. Never having been to the SM, you are in for a treat, and there are many hiking trails. Stop at the ranger station in the park and get all the info you need.

Hope the weather cooperates and your short visit a great one.

Canton of Zurich...
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3. Re: Practical overnight stop?

Thanks for the recommendations!!! I was planing to use Priceline or Hotwire to book a hotel. What "area" would you suggest for great views, nice hikes, and ease of entry/exit?

Townsend, Tennessee
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for Townsend, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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4. Re: Practical overnight stop?

From Gatlinburg, Sugarlands Visitor Center is about 2 miles inside the Park. From there, you either head up 441 into the higher elevations of the Park and several great hikes, or towards Townsend along Little River Road at a lower elevation. The LRR has a couple of pullouts just 3 - 4 miles from Sugarlands with very nice views of the Smokies. Depending on if you are headed east or west on I-40 consider staying in Gatlinburg or Maggie Valley/Cherokee. The next morning, make the drive up and over on 441, stop at Clingman's dome, and NewFound Gap at the top of the park and hike a short section of the AT out and back depending on how long you want to stay out. Another fun hike on that route is Alum Bluffs on the TN side. Then drop down into TN or NC and head back out to I-40 through Maggie Valley in NC or east out of Gatlinburg on 321.

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5. Re: Practical overnight stop?

It takes an hour to get into Gatlinburg from the I-40 exit 407 during the Summer. Coming in at night will be a little better.

Canton of Zurich...
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6. Re: Practical overnight stop?

For our hotel, do you guys recommend somewhere in Pigeon Forge, Townsend, or Gatlinburg?

Indianapolis...
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7. Re: Practical overnight stop?

Galinburg is right at the entrance to the park, so if you stay here you will be able to get into and out of the park quicker. Also, you get to virtually everything in Gatlinburg by walking, whereas in PF things are pretty spread out and you drive from place to place. For an overnight stop with access to the park I would definately stay in Gatlinburg. Some people will tell you to stay out in PF and take the bypass aroung Gatlinburg to get to the park, but you can waste time doing this, and on a 1-night stay with limited time to sightsee, your time will better spent in Gatlinburg.

8. Re: Practical overnight stop?

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