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Open Roads Forum  >  RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions

 > Cades Cove - GSNP - best route in?

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Cdash

Milford, MI

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Joined: 01/10/2004

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Posted: 06/23/12 07:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Will be leaving Michigan next Friday for our week in the Smokies. We'll be headed down I-75 to get there. Does it matter what route we take to get to the campground with our 33' fifth wheel?

Don't want to get myself somewhere I can't get through or out of......

Thanks!

travelnutz

West Michigan - On the Lakeshore

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Posted: 06/23/12 08:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Enter the SMNP thru Townsend. Shortest way thru the park to Cades Cove and the road is very good and newly repaved. Remember that it's a NP road not a wide with shoulders highway. We pulled our 26' TT with a 2' wide rear rack behind pulled by our crew cab long box truck so we were approx 49-1/2' long total. We were there for a week in May this year for the 11th time so far. Been there with our 29' Carriage 5th wheel and our 36' Carriage 5th wheel also. No problem but go slow. Speed limit is low anyway and for a reason. Good X stores, food stores, fuel, etc at Townsend and reasonably priced.

The loop road in Cades Cove (no trailers permitted on the loop road) was just repaved and it's great. Parking areas on the loop are paved now also. NO hookups available but there are flush toilets and water can be gotten from the spigot behind the bathouse buildings or at the dump station. There is a small simple store at the CG for snacks, ice cream cones, some basic groceries but not much.

A royal PIA to enter thru Gatlinburg due to horrible traffic issues and the road in the park from there south to the Townsend entrance is loaded with VERY sharp turns and has so many overhanging rock ledges. Not a pleasant drive pulling a trailer by any stretch.

You'll have a great time there in Cades Cove and the area!


A superb CC LB 4X4, GM HD Diesel, airbags, Rancho's, lots more
Lance Legend TC 11' 4", loaded including 3400 PP generator and my deluxe 2' X 7' rear porch
29 ft Carriage Carri-lite 5'er - a specially built gem
A like new '07 Sunline Solaris 26' TT

OldF**t

Crossville, TN

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Posted: 06/24/12 12:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

travelnutz wrote:

.....Another way with less traffic and usually quicker than the Pidgeon Forge route is to go past Knoxville on I-75 to I-140 (short Interstate to Maryville) and go south to US-129. Then turn left on route 35 on an angle thhru Maryville to US-321 going east to Townsend. Good roads, more scenic, and so much better on the nerves and your rig. The Sevierville-Pidgeon Forge-Gatlinburg areas are usually a "zoo of tourist gawkers" with one foot on the go pedal and the other on the brake and they do their ankle exercises vigorously, lots of traffic backups and tons of stoplights. 15 "as seen on TV" places alone in the area and thousands of "separation stations" where they separate you from your money and they are very good at it!

That's the best way to go if you are coming south on I75. No way would I recommend going thru Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, or Gatlinburg. The last time we were there (last Fall) 66/441 was still under construction and a big mess. 321 into Townsend from Maryville is a good road. Just follow the signs for Cades Cove on the east side of Townsend. There's only one way into Cade's Cove from Townsend and it's uphill and winding but very doable in any rv.


Jim

2004 Hurricane 32R (F53)
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travelnutz

West Michigan - On the Lakeshore

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Posted: 06/24/12 09:27am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Our normal way to Townsend from West Michigan, when we go south on I-75, is to take I-75 south to I-40 at northern Knoxville and go east to exit 407 (route 66 south) thru Sevierville (becomes US-441). Continue south to Pigeon Forge where you turn right on US-321 (Wears Valley Rd) to go to the Townsend area. This route bypasses about 3/4 of the worst crazy traffic and the non-RV rig friendly SMNP road south fron Gatlinburg. Turn left on route 73 (Lamar Alexander Pkwy) at Townsend and the entrance to SMNP is about a mile or so and Cades Cove "Y" intersection is about another mile. Turn right. Note! There is only one sharp curve on Wears Valey Rd (US-321) going south at the bottom of a hill about halfway that you need to take very slow and carefully.

Living in West Michigan on the lakeshore, we usually take US-31 and I-65 south and cut over to I-75 at Louisville (I-264) to Lexington.

Another way with less traffic and usually quicker than the Pidgeon Forge route is to go past Knoxville on I-75 to I-140 (short Interstate to Maryville) and go south to US-129. Then turn left on route 35 on an angle thhru Maryville to US-321 going east to Townsend. Good roads, more scenic, and so much better on the nerves and your rig. The Sevierville-Pidgeon Forge-Gatlinburg areas are usually a "zoo of tourist gawkers" with one foot on the go pedal and the other on the brake and they do their ankle exercises vigorously, lots of traffic backups and tons of stoplights. 15 "as seen on TV" places alone in the area and thousands of "separation stations" where they separate you from your money and they are very good at it!

fireman93514

Fallon NV

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Posted: 06/24/12 07:52am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would agree with travelnutz, Gatlinburg is a huge tourist trap. I took forver to get through it with just the toad. Stop and go traffic. There is a bypass if you decide to go through pigeon forge but traffic in PF can be bad too.


John & Judy
2007 Winnebago Access 31C
2008 Ford Focus


magnusfide

On the Road Again and Again and Again...

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Posted: 06/24/12 07:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Cdash wrote:

Will be leaving Michigan next Friday for our week in the Smokies. We'll be headed down I-75 to get there. Does it matter what route we take to get to the campground with our 33' fifth wheel?

Don't want to get myself somewhere I can't get through or out of......

Thanks!


The old Cades Cove access was moutainous and serpentine. The following is the best route we've taken.

As suggested head east out of Townsend onto Lamar Alexander Pkwy/SR 337.
Here's the rest from Mapquest.com :

1. Start out going east on E Lamar Alexander Pky/US-321/TN-73 toward Tiger Dr. Continue to follow E Lamar Alexander Pky. 3.5 mi

2. Turn right onto Laurel Creek Rd.
Laurel Creek Rd is 0.9 miles past Stables Dr 7.5 mi

3. Laurel Creek Rd becomes Cades Cove Loop Rd. 3.1 mi
For Cades Cove Loop there is also a notification about traffic:
Quote:

Closed to vehicle traffic: Wed, Sat Midnight (start of day) to 10:00 AM

Follow the signs to the RV sites. Lamar Alexander is a beautiful drive next to a river.

* This post was edited 06/24/12 07:30am by magnusfide *


First law of science: don't spit into the wind.
Keep on rollin'!
Magnus




travelnutz

West Michigan - On the Lakeshore

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Posted: 06/24/12 03:01pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Construction on 441 going thru Sevierville was just finishing up in May when we left for home. Most of the barrels were gone already. We also prefer the Maryville to Townsend way as it's so easy and misses all the idiots and insane traffic which is very nice when towing a large RV. After the RV is dropped off at Cades Cove, it's so much easier to manage the traffic jams with just the tow vehicle. Not many rubbernecking tourists in their small cars or crossovers etc want to or try to argue with a large pickup unless they want to be squashed like an ant!

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