Foothills Parkway/Smoky Mountain Loop
The new "missing link" 16 mile section of the Foothills Parkway is now open. This slightly changes our Smoky Mountain Loop Map, but it is for the good.
From Little River Road (TN 73) take Wear Gap Road north to Wear Valley, jog right on US321 for 1 mile and jump on the new section of the Foothills Parkway. This connects to the older 17 mile section of the Foothills at Walland. Continue on the FHP to US129 and turn left for the Dragon. Be advised that there are no facilities (food, fuel, restrooms) on this 33 mile jaunt and the only access other than each end is midway at Walland.
The entire Smoky Mountain Loop is 143 miles and will take the entire day. Some of the highlights include the Tail of the Dragon, part of the Moonshiner 28, Fontana Dam, historic Bryson City, Cherokee, Great Smoky Mountain elk herd. Scenic US441 runs through the national park with Newfound Gap, Clingman's Dome, and the mountain town of Gatlinburg.
There is too much to see to list on this blog, but staying in the area for three or four days is recommended.
Where to stay: Townsend TN, quiet and tourist oriented; Gatlinburg TN, family oriented fun, night life; Cherokee NC, native crafts and culture, casino; Bryson City NC, quaint tourist small town; Robbinsville /Fontana area, get plenty of rest for the next day.