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  1. Default Great Smoky Mountains Adventure

    Hello all,

    I'm comming to you again for some help on yet another road trip I'm planning, this one to the Great Smokies. This trip will take place from March, 27th to April 2nd, I'm using this as a precursor to my 2 month US trip, later this summer. We're doing this for a few reasons:

    1. See if we can fit all our gear in my Mustang and still have room to move.
    2. We're using exactly 1/10 of our 10 week US Trip, for this 1 week trip, just to see if our budget is realistic.
    3. Smoky Mountains!!!

    This trip will consist of myself and a close friend travelling in my Ford Mustang, We're thinking of darting South to Shenandoah and doing Skyline Drive as well as the Blue Ridge Parkway to the smokies. Camping there for four nights, then driving back to PA, maybe stopping in Lynchburg, TN for the Jack Daniels tour.

    The questions I find myself having difficulty finding answers to are:

    1. Whats the best campground in the Smokies?? In your own opinion. We'll be in a tent and do not need electricity, although it may come in handy. Some things I'm looking for in a campground are, privacy, shade, and close to hiking and maybe some fishing.

    2. What are some must see things in the Smokies? I have read a little on the old mountain farmsteads remnants that are scattered througout the park. Wildlife viewing and scenic vistas are also important. Maybe some old stills? Waterfalls, cliffs, and other natural features are great too.

    3. Whats the weather like in late March/early April? Are the trees budding yet?? Temperature?

    4. Is Skyline and the Blue Ridge passable at this time?

    5. How far would Lynchburg and the Jack Daniels Distillery be out of our way?

    Any input would be much appriciated!!! Thanks for all your help guys!

    Happy tripping,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Great Smoky Adventure

    Jamie, with as many trips as you have taken and will soon enjoy, pretty soon you'll be as expert as any one on the forums! But to offer some advice on your current set of questions (and asking the right questions is the first step to wisdom!):

    1) The Park offers a host of information on its campsites. What I think may be best is immaterial. What appeals to you is what matters.

    2) Gatlinburg is the gateway to the Smokies and worth a visit, even if kitschy theme parks such as Dollywood are not our cup of tea. If twisty mountain roads appeal to you, then by all means, check out US-129 through Deal's Gap south of the park. This is known locally as the 'Tail of the Dragon' as it crosses the Appalachians and has, supposedly, more than 300 turns in a little over 10 miles. Just be aware that it is very popular with motorcyclists who don't always pay the strictest of attention to speed limits or yellow lines. As for the others, my best advise is to check out the park's website and stop at a visitor's center and talk to the rangers. They'll know where the best stuff is - it will vary with the time of year and recent weather.

    3) As always, a good source of climate data (average weather) is the Weather Channel.

    4) Parts of Skyline Drive are still closed due to winter ice storms, but you can call before you go to get the latest update. The Blue Ridge Parkway seems to have only minor closures, but again, call before you go. Note that most of the facilities along this route don't open until May.

    5) Lynchburg really isn't on your way between Altoona and the Great Smoky mountains, so it would be a 450 mile detour (225 there, 225 back).


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