TRAVEL GUIDE TO BRYSON CITY AND THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS

driving to tHE SMOKIES

Two Roads Temporarily Closed In The NC Smokies, But You Can Take These Alternate Routes

I-40 Update: NC DOT reports I-40 will open Tuesday, April 27.

Due to the October 25 rockslide at the Tennessee-North Carolina border, I-40 through the Pigeon River Gorge will be closed until late April according to the NC Dept. of Transportation.

Due to a March 24 rockslide, a 13-mile section of US 129 in Tennessee is closed until July 31, 2010. You can still ride the Dragon which is open from the NC side at Deal's Gap.

But don't let that alter your vacation plans. there are other routes to Bryson City, Cherokee and the North Carolina Smokies.

FROM NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA – ALL ROUTES ARE OPEN
If you're coming from the South, any part of North Carolina or the Chattanooga area of Tennessee, The road closures will not affect you. Click for directions from these states.

If you're coming through Virginia, Kentucky or Knoxville, Tennessee, you'll need to consider one of the following alternate routes to the North Carolina Smokies—

OPTION 1, through Asheville: Driving south on Interstate 81, take Interstate 26 (Exit 57A) east to Asheville. At exit 31B, take Interstate 40 west to US 74 (exit 27) the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway. Follow US 74 past Waynesville and Sylva to Cherokee (exit 74) and Bryson City (exit 67).

OPTION 2, through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Drive south on Interstate 81 until it merges into Interstate 40. Continue WEST on I-40 to TN-66 (exit 407). Drive south to Sevierville where you'll pick up US 441 South. Continue south on US 441 through Gatlinburg and into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and on to Cherokee, NC.

From Cherokee, there are two short routes to Bryson City: (1) the two-lane US 19 West, or (2) you can continue south on US 441 to US 74 west. Continue on US 74 to Bryson City (exit 67).

Note: US 441 through the National Park reaches an elevation of 5000 feet at Newfound Gap. For current updates of weather related road closings in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park please call (865) 436-1200. Once you hear a voice, dial extension 631 for road information or extension 630 for a weather forecast. Please be aware that road openings/closings may change throughout the day.

Note: At this time, #2 and #3 are the only options, due to the closure of 13 miles of US 129 in Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Transportation has an estimated date of July 31 for reopening.. If coming through Maryville, TDOT recommends taking US 411 to Madisonville, and then State Route 68 south to Ducktown. From Ducktown, take US 74 into Western North Carolina. You may also consider the Cherohala Skyway, which connects Tellico Pains, TN and Robbinsville, NC. (TN 165 & NC 133)

OPTION 1, through Maryville and Deals Gap (closed until July 31): From Knoxville, take US 129 south through Maryville. Continue south on US 129 through Deals Gap and into North Carolina. Just past the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort , turn left on to NC 28 and continue east (passing Fontana Dam) to US 74. Turn left (east) and follow US 74 to Bryson City (exit 67) and Cherokee (exit 74)

Note: US 129 through Deal's Gap is extremely curvy (318 continuous curves in 11 miles). It's one of the nations most popular motorcycle and sports cars roads. Others may find it too curvy.

OPTION 2, through Maryville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: From Knoxville, take US 129 south to US 321 in Maryville. Drive east on US 321 through Townsend, TN. Just east of Townsend, turn right on the E. Lamar Alexander Parkway into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Follow the Little River Road until it merges into US 441. Turn right on US 441 and continue south to Cherokee.

From Cherokee, there are two short routes to Bryson City: (1) the two-lane US 19 West, or (2) you can continue south on US 441 to US 74 west. Continue on US 74 to Bryson City (exit 67).

OPTION 3, through Sevierville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: From Knoxville, take Interstate 40 east to TN-66 (exit 407). Drive south to Sevierville where you'll pick up US 441 South. Continue south on US 441 through Gatlinburg and into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and on to Cherokee, NC.

From Cherokee, there are two short routes to Bryson City: (1) the two-lane US 19 West, or (2) you can continue south on US 441 to US 74 west. Continue on US 74 to Bryson City (exit 67).

Note: US 441 through the National Park reaches an elevation of 5000 feet at Newfound Gap. For current updates of weather related road closings in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park please call (865) 436-1200. Once you hear a voice, dial extension 631 for road information or extension 630 for a weather forecast. Please be aware that road openings/closings may change throughout the day.

OPTION 1, through Chattanooga and the river gorges: From Nashville, take Interstate 26 to Chattanooga. When I-26 ends, south of the city, take Interstate 75 north to US 74 (exit 20) near Cleveland, TN. (This is a loop highway that combines US 74, US 64 and TN 60). Look for signs marking an exit to Ocoee and Murphy, NC). To stay on US 74/64, you will take this exit and continue east past Ocoee Lake, the Ocoee River Gorge, and Murphy, NC. In Murphy, continue east on US 74 through Andrews and the Nantahala River Gorge to Bryson City (exit 67) and Cherokee (exit 74).

OPTION 2, through Knoxville: From Nashville, take Interstate 40 east to Knoxville and choose one of the three options from Knoxville to Cherokee and Bryson City (Click the Knoxville tab above).