We'll be coming from Jonesboro, GA on Memorial Day. We're staying at a cabin in Townsend. I want to make sure my driving plan to get there is within reason. We will want to stop along the way for photos and I realize it will take pretty much all day.
From Jonesboro, North on 75 (60 miles), North on 411 to Etowah (84 miles), East on 310\475\68 to Tellico Plains (15 miles). This should be about 3 hours, right? I want this part of the trip to be quick and painless. Is this the best route?
Next, the Cherohala Skyway (East on 165\143). The map shows 50 miles, 1 ½ hours if driven straight through. We'd stop at Bald River Falls. It appears this is not too far onto the Skyway near Tellico Plains. Will it be obvious (signs) where to go? How long should we allow for this stop? 30 minutes?
Continuing on the Skyway to the Joyce Kilmer Forest. Looks like we would take 1127 at the end of the Skyway to get there. Again is it obvious where to go? Seems there are two trail loops, 1 ¼ mile and 3/4 mile. How long would we allow to do both? 1 hour+? Or can we "see enough" with the first one only? Is there somewhere to get a quick lunch around here?
We'd leave the forest on 1134 to 129. Tail of the Dragon, 33 miles. Assuming a couple pull offs, how long would this take? 1 + hours?
Next the Foothills Parkway north to 321. 17 miles total. 30 minutes if driven straight? Stop at Look Rock Tower (45 min). Then 321 to Townsend. I definitely want to get to Townsend before dark so we can find the cabin with no problem.
I figure 3 more hours driving time alone for the scenic part of the day. Does that sound right? Not that anyone has ever driven through there without stopping anywhere. Plus time for the falls, Kilmer, lunch, Tower, and various pull offs (4 hours added on), so 7 hours for the second part and 10 hours total. I know its a long day of driving but is it reasonable? On Memorial Day, I realize it will be busier than usual, but will these areas be congested? Will that be a big issue for time?
I originally thought about doing the Tail of the Dragon and Foothills after Cades Cove (via Parsons Branch) on one of the days from the cabin, but it seemed to make sense to do it on the way up from Atlanta instead (would allow more time for Cades Cove and bring in the Skyway too). We won't be able to do this on the way back home (FL).