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  1. #1

    Default scenic route opinion - Smoky Mountains

    Hi,

    I am planning to visit Smoky Mountains and while searching for scenic drive route i found this map.

    scenic_drive_map.jpg

    The first map in the above link gives a circle scenic route, but i am planning to go to Asheville also. So wondering if i can drive this circle in anti-clockwise direction. Will i miss the mountain scenery if i go reverse direction?

    (I had a very sad experience sometime back when drove- SFO and LA :(.. Even though it was really good, i personally think the other direction would have been much scenic and wonderful)

    Some one who is familiar with Smoky Mountains, please give me some advise regarding this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,318

    Default What Matters

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There are times when it is advantageous to drive a route or loop in one direction rather than another, but not often and even then it's for different reasons, unique to that particular drive. In the case of the Pacific Coast Highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, it is slightly better to travel southbound, but only because it puts the shore side pull-outs on your side of the highway. The scenery is pretty much the same no matter which way you drive it. If thinking that you should have driven it the other way is causing you to regret your drive, then the advice to drive it southbound has robbed you of an otherwise wonderful experience.

    In the case of your loop through the Smokies, the same is true. Here it really doesn't matter which way you drive the loop, the scenery will be gorgeous. But there is a bit of advice I will offer. Whichever way you drive it, do not plan to be on the road in the early morning when eastbound or in the late afternoon when westbound. This is simply to keep the sun out of your eyes as you try to negotiate mountain roads and enjoy the views.

    And that should be the focus of your efforts, enjoying whatever you end up doing rather than regretting all the things you don't.

    AZBuck

  3. #3

    Default Thank you

    Thank you so much for the advice ..
    Planning to visit this Oct 20th. Hoping to see the peak fall colors :)


    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There are times when it is advantageous to drive a route or loop in one direction rather than another, but not often and even then it's for different reasons, unique to that particular drive. In the case of the Pacific Coast Highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, it is slightly better to travel southbound, but only because it puts the shore side pull-outs on your side of the highway. The scenery is pretty much the same no matter which way you drive it. If thinking that you should have driven it the other way is causing you to regret your drive, then the advice to drive it southbound has robbed you of an otherwise wonderful experience.

    In the case of your loop through the Smokies, the same is true. Here it really doesn't matter which way you drive the loop, the scenery will be gorgeous. But there is a bit of advice I will offer. Whichever way you drive it, do not plan to be on the road in the early morning when eastbound or in the late afternoon when westbound. This is simply to keep the sun out of your eyes as you try to negotiate mountain roads and enjoy the views.

    And that should be the focus of your efforts, enjoying whatever you end up doing rather than regretting all the things you don't.

    AZBuck

  4. #4

    Default National Parks shutdown; peak colors

    ayimos,
    At this date, October 2, 2013, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed due to the Federal government shut-down. I have seen a report indicating US 441, the highway bisecting GSMNP through Newfound Gap, remains open, but visitor facilities, campgrounds, side roads off of US 441, etc, are all closed and will remain so until the Federal shut-down is resolved. We would all hope everything will be open by October 20. Also remaining open will be any other numbered US and NC highways--only the GSMNP roads themselves should be closed.

    As to peak colors, you're likely to see some peak colors down in the valleys, but I strongly suspect the higher elevations will have lost much of their Fall color by October 20 this year. I spent the weekend at and around 4,000' near Blowing Rock, NC this past weekend, and the change is occurring rapidly up there and will likely be over by the 3rd week of October.

    Foy

  5. #5

    Default

    If the Park is open when you make your trip, it might be best to enter from the Gatlinburg side so you could make a stop at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. It's always nice to begin a Nat'l Park visit with a stop at the Visitor Center. Other than that, I can think of no reason why direction would make any difference.

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