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Please help with itinerary-Dallas-Smokey Mt NP-Shenandoah NP

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Dallas, Texas
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Please help with itinerary-Dallas-Smokey Mt NP-Shenandoah NP

My husband & I are in our 60s-Love to hike (max 6 miles/day) & drive in the mountains, stopping at pull-outs to take lots of pictures of beautiful scenery. We'd like to take a 2 week driving/hiking trip in late Sept & would very much appreciate itinerary advice especially on Days 9-12

Days 9-12 need

Day 1 - Drive 7 hrs Dallas to Memphis

Day 2- Drive 3.5 hrs Memphis to Nashville - Take in sights

Day 3 - Drive 4 hrs Nashville to Gatlinburg & stay at nice hotel

Day 4-7 Hike & drive Great Smoky Mt National Park (Roaring Forks, Cades Cove, Grotto Falls, Rainbow Falls, Newfound Gap, Clingman's Dome, maybe Charles Bunion or Cataloochee)

Day 8 - Drive Gatlinburg - Cherokee - Asheville NC ?????

Day 9-12 Blue Ridge Pkwy to Shenandoah NP-Skyline Drive???????

Return home - I guess starting Day 12????

Day 13 Drive 8 hrs Asheville, NC to Memphis, TN

Day 14 Drive 7 hrs Memphis, TN to Dallas, TX

Should we take time away from Smoky Mt NP to give more time to BRP & Shenandoah?

How far north do you think we can go to still be able to "smell the roses" & intermix hiking & driving.

Thanks so much in advance....

Dallas, Texas
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11. Re: Please help with itinerary-Dallas-Smokey Mt NP-Shenandoah NP

Thank you dcmsteach...Because of the great feedback & hours of research, we decided we'd rather spend more time hiking & less time driving, still keeping the trip at 14 days....so we're gonna bite the bullet, FLY into Knoxville & RENT A CAR. Plan on staying in Gatlinburg 7 nights & drive leisurely on the Blue Ridge Parkway tsightseeing & hiking he rest of the time - skipping Shenandoah NP & Skyline Drive. Would rather smell the roses & not be totally exhausted every night. (I'm Type A & usually try to do too much so now I'm reining myself back.)

Now re-thinking where to spend the last 6 nights along the parkwat where it might be the most scenic for easy/moderate hiking

Night 8-Pisgah Inn

Night 9 & 10 - Linville Falls Lodge (Wish we could find something nicer heren HELP???

Night 11 & 12 - Harmony Hills B&B in Sparta just north of Doughton Park

Night 13 - Peaks of Otter

What do you all think about this?

Townsend, Tennessee
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for Townsend, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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12. Re: Please help with itinerary-Dallas-Smokey Mt NP-Shenandoah NP

More hiking - good. Less driving - better. Late September - favorite time to be in the Smokies - excellent changes to the itinerary. With 7 days in the Smokies, add a visit to the Arts and Crafts loop near Gatlinburg, http://www.gatlinburgcrafts.com/ In the Park, start with a visit to Sugarlands Visitor Center just inside the Gatlinburg entrance to the park and watch the free, 20 minute film about the history of the Smokies. Later, hike to Greenbrier schoolhouse behind Metcalf Bottoms and then back to the Walker Sister's cabin. You can also drive to the parking lot of the schoolhouse, and save that hike for somewhere else, but it is a nice gradual incline hike from Metcalf Bottoms. Little River Trail behind Elkmont campground follows the Little River up towards the headwaters on an old railroad bed. A 5 mile in and out RT.

Dallas, Texas
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13. Re: Please help with itinerary-Dallas-Smokey Mt NP-Shenandoah NP

Thank you all for your great advice. Because we wanted to drop off the rental car at a different airport than the one we picked it up at, the cost (around $1600) is prohibitive.

DARN DARN DARN....Will have to dream up with a different plan!

Tombstone, Arizona
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14. Re: Please help with itinerary-Dallas-Smokey Mt NP-Shenandoah NP

Driving the Blue Ridge from GB to Shen. Valley can be an enlightening experience, if you utilize all the information affordable on line at the blue ridge parkway web site. Once there, the selections are boundless and it will also help you to plan where you can stay and find gasoline, which is a priority on this route.

Good luck on your planning and hope the weather cooperates.

Dallas, Texas
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15. Re: Please help with itinerary-Dallas-Smokey Mt NP-Shenandoah NP

The trip is back on since I discovered I could cut out $1,500 of car rental cost by driving 400 miles (7 hrs) at the end of the trip from Front Royal (at the top of Skyline Drive) back to Knoxville where I originally rented the car. Those one way car rental fees really get ya!!!! Then Expedia gave me a great package deal combining air & car.

So now I am excited again & can't wait to breath the clean mountain air & hike in the forests!!!!

Nonotec, I will definitely investigate the info available on the Blue Ridge Parkway website.

Thank you folks so much for your help!!!

Tombstone, Arizona
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16. Re: Please help with itinerary-Dallas-Smokey Mt NP-Shenandoah NP

Hello Dallas: You most likely know that the Blue Ridge Pkwy. is about 460 miles start to stop. Yeah, and you probably already know that the Blue Ridge has its own website, with all the information you and your best friend will need to travel thereon. Some of the info. has to do with where you can pull off and stay the night, and of course, where you can get some gasoline.

If you could just review their site, blue ridge pkwy, you will be amazed at how much travel data you can read therein.

Good luck on your choice of itineraries, and good luck on the weather in the mountains and hope this is one of the best ventures you ever had.

Edited: 4:52 pm, September 08, 2013
Dallas, Texas
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17. Re: Please help with itinerary-Dallas-Smokey Mt NP-Shenandoah NP

Thank you nonotec! It is a great website...duly noted.

Any advice on hotels in Gatlinburg? Am considering the Hampton Inn because its right on the Parkway, walking distance to restaurants ....or the Park Vista/Doubletree which looks very interest with the fire pit-envioning sitting there with a nice mixed drink....but because its out of the way I guess we'd have to take the trolley which passes every half hour (because parking in town is such a hassle). Any idea how much of a hassle it is to take the trolley?...or any favorite places to stay in Gatlinburg?

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18. Re: Please help with itinerary-Dallas-Smokey Mt NP-Shenandoah NP

Why do you say the Park Vista is out of the way? It's just a few minutes drive from the Parkway?

Plus, I believe the Green trolley route stops right there at the Park Vista, so go for it!

Edited: 4:37 am, September 09, 2013
Dallas, Texas
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19. Re: Please help with itinerary-Dallas-Smokey Mt NP-Shenandoah NP

Thanks again!

20. Re: Please help with itinerary-Dallas-Smokey Mt NP-Shenandoah NP

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