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2-day Smoky Mountains Trip

Hollywood, Florida
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2-day Smoky Mountains Trip

I am planning a short trip to the GSMNP from Mar 16-17. It will be just me and my wife. We will stay two nights in a hotel in Townsend and plan to enter the park through Townsend side. We are initially flying from FL to TN and then rent a standard car.

Can you guys give some suggestions as to where to go and which routes to take? I am a mid-level landscape photographer so please consider that too. It might be a silly question but since I am taking a rental car do I have to carry extra gas can as I understand there are no gas stations wihtin the park? \

We are not planning to camp there. Our plan is to visit the park whole Saturday, return to hotel on Saturdya night, go back to park on Sunday and return to FL on Sunday night.

TIA.

Townsend, Tennessee
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for Townsend, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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1. Re: 2-day Smoky Mountains Trip

From the Knoxville airport, head toward Maryville (129 South) out of the Airport for about a mile, then bear left at the fork and follow that road through Maryville and all the way to Townsend. You will not need a gas can to make a one day park visit. From Townsend it is about 10 miles to Cades Cove, then another 40 miles to Clingman's dome from there. For a day trip, those two roads and the stops along the way will keep you busy. The 11 mile Cades Cove loop will offer plenty of landscape photos as will the views from the Newfound Gap and Clingman's dome parking lot. Since you are in Townsend, suggest you get an early start to Cades Cove, hopefully it will be clear and you can catch the sun coming up over Thunderhead. As you return from cades Cove along Little River Road - look for the turn off to Tremont on the right. Several great places for stream photos along that road. The Elkmont area is also popular for photgraphy - many abandoned cabins at the back of the campground. Do stop at the Sugarland Visitor's Center before heading up 441 towards Newfound Gap/Clingman's. GReat visitor center with short film on History of the Smokies and a small nature museum.

Hollywood, Florida
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2. Re: 2-day Smoky Mountains Trip

Great tips tnoutdrsmn ! I have a few questions as I am bustling through the various maps that I downloaded for ther NPS. How do I get to the Clingman's Dome from Cades Cove loop road?

I see the Clingman's Dome is road remains closed in the winter, is that so? Also I see that a road closue is in effect for the Newfound Gap Road (US-441) between Gatlinburg and Cherokee. Will that affect the route you mentioned ?

Also, my trip is actually 2 days, Sat and Sun (returning to FL Sunday night). I am staying in Townsend Gateway Inn.

TIA.

Mississippi
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3. Re: 2-day Smoky Mountains Trip

The best route to Clingman's Dome will be to travel out of Cade's Cove the same way you went in, down Laurel Creek Rd. Keep going forward at the turn to Townsend instead of making that left to return to the hotel. This is where the road becomes Little River Road. Heading south on Newfound Gap Rd after passing the Sugarland Visitor Center ( a must stop in my opinion) will take you to Clingman's Dome, which is now open for the season, and will only be closed due to inclement weather like ice or snow.

The portion of Newfound Gap Rd that is now closed is southward, beyond your turn off at Newfound Gap for Clingman's Dome. That particular closure would only have an impact if you were traveling to the North Carolina portion of the National Park, or Cherokee NC.

Since you have two days to explore, you might consider checking out the Tremont area which is just off of Laurel Creek Rd on your way to Cades Cove. Early mornings provide good photo ops along the creek there. I'd choose the clearer of the two days for Clingman's Dome. At over 6000 ft you can sometimes make the drive only to end up in a bank of clouds. Which is fine for me,...maybe not so great for photos.

Townsend, Tennessee
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4. Re: 2-day Smoky Mountains Trip

The Gateway Inn is a good choice - recently remodeled. Less than 1/2 mile away towards the Park is the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center . In the other direction about 1 - 1/2 miles is the Little River Railroad museum. Cades Cove is open from dawn til dusk and at about the 3 - 1/2 or 4 mile point around the CC loop is a parking lot at the top of a small rise looking back to the East and slightly South with one of the best panoramic views in the Cove. Thunderhead Mountain will be in the background with meadows and woods in front. Very nice visitor center at the mid way point of CC with several structures, working grist mill, cantilever barn, and opportunities for photos. About 7 - 1/2 miles past the Townsend cut off from Little River Road you will see Metcalf Bottoms picnic area on the left. Little Greenbrier schoolhouse is located about 1/2 mile up the road across the bridge. From the school, it is a short walk to the Walker Sisters cabin. With 2 days to visit, CC, Tremont, Metcalf Bottoms and Elkmont could make one day, then Sugarlands, Chimneys picnic area, Newfound Gap and Clingman's dome could make day 2 before heading back to the Airport.

Hollywood, Florida
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5. Re: 2-day Smoky Mountains Trip

Great advices guys. Very detailed. Makes my planning so easy coz I want to do as much as possible in the two days. Thanks. I will post if any further questions pop up in my mind.

Louisville, Kentucky
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6. Re: 2-day Smoky Mountains Trip

You may want to stop at the Townsend Visitors Center and pick up a park map. It's on the main road in Townsend on the right hand side about a mile or so before you enter the park. This will certainly help you get around the park.

If you're looking for detailed information about the park and short walks/hikes where you can get some great shots, there's great information on this site:

http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com/parkinfo.htm

While in Townsend, you may want to check out the Little River Bar-b-q restaurant. It's a local favorte and they have an enclosed patio with great outdoor seating.

Hollywood, Florida
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7. Re: 2-day Smoky Mountains Trip

Thanks for the info lahord59. Thats a pretty good website, very helpful.

I will also check out that restaurant.

8. Re: 2-day Smoky Mountains Trip

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