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Driving Trails - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Enjoy nature at its finest from the comfort of your motor vehicle. Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers breathtaking views on its many motor nature trails. These driving trails provide pullover areas so you can capture the beauty of the Smokies on camera. There are 384 miles of road in the Smokies. Most are paved, and even the gravel roads are maintained in suitable condition for standard passenger cars. Travel speeds on most of the park's paved roads average 30 miles per hour.

Fall Foliage >>

Road One-way
Mileage
Driving
Time
Location Road Condition
9 30 min. Blue Ridge Parkway Two-way, paved
11 1 hour Cades Cove One-way, paved
6 30 min. I-40 at U.S. 276 Two-way, dead end
Cherokee Orchard Road
3.5 15 min Gatlinburg to Roaring Fork Two-way, paved
15 min. Hwy. 321, Cosby Two-way, paved
Foothills Parkway West
18  30 min. U.S. 321N to
U.S. 129
Two-way, paved
Heintooga Ridge
6 1 hour Balsam Mountain Road Two-way, paved
6 20 min. Bryson City, NC Two-way, dead end
Parson Branch
8 1 hour Cades Cove One-way, unpaved
Rich Mountain Road
7 1 hour Cades Cove One-way, unpaved
8 1 hour Cherokee Orchard Road One-way, paved


Heintooga-Roundbottom Road - This is a driving trail that descends from the high altitudes of the Balsams down into the coves of Roundbottom and Cherokee. Heintooga-Roundbottom Road is accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Cherokee entrance of the Park. Continue all the way up to the mountaintop and make a left turn at the Balsam Mountain Campground sign and continue until the paved road dead ends just beyond the campground. This is a one-way road so once you start there is no turning back. The first fourteen miles are bumpy, winding, and sometimes steep. When you come out of the woods, it looks like the road dead ends into the water. Actually, you drive right through the water on a concrete ford. Park here, take your shoes off, and enjoy the cool mountain water! From this point it's a two way gravel road back to Cherokee. When you dead end into Big Cove Road take a left turn to go to Cherokee!

 

 


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