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Asheville/Boone/GSMNP or also add Sandstone Falls and Bobcock SP?

Asheville/Boone/GSMNP or also add Sandstone Falls and Bobcock SP?

Old Oct 7th, 2022, 11:01 PM
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Asheville/Boone/GSMNP or also add Sandstone Falls and Bobcock SP?

Hello... I will be flying to Atlanta and visiting Great Smoky Mountains area from October 20. I will have 10 days. After staying couple of days in GSMNP area, I will move to Asheville and/Boone. On my last day I will fly out from Atlanta.
I am browsing other lot of places, what are interesting setups, sceneries and also if I can see some good colors. Along with GSMNP, Boone, Asheville I am seeing other interesting places New River Gorge National Park, Sandstone Falls and Bobcock SP. If I have to choose these as well, I will shorten my days of Boone/Asheville and visit them as well. I am reading and browsing, if driving these extra miles are worth? Some old post say, they are amazing and different than Blue Ridge Park area, while others say that staying in/around NC should be good enough to see lot of similar scenery.
If someone visited these places, would like to comment please?
My focus will be photography of scenery, landscapes and hopefully some good fall colors.

Thanks
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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 03:58 AM
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It's a full 4 hour drive to get from Asheville to New River. And then it is a LONG drive back to Atlanta. I know your plans are made but Charlotte might have been a better airport for your trip.

I haven't visited NRG and Bobcock and in looking at the pictures online they look wonderful--and as a former fly fishing they look idyllic. I think I've seen much the same in the Smokies and other places along the Blue Ridge Parkway which you have ample access north and south. You will be dealing with crowds and you need reservations.
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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 08:38 AM
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IF I have to extend my trip including WV then this is rough plan I can think of.

22 : Atlanta to Chattanooga and stay overnight.
23 : Chattanooga to Gatlinburg. Stay at Gatlinburg.
24 : Stay at Gatlinburg. Cades Cove and GSMNP day
25 : Whole day in GSMNP area and leave in evening. Stay at Wytheville (nothing special in Wytheville, but on 27 it will help me to reach Asheville easily)
26 : Stay at Wytheville - Day trip to New River Gorge National Park, Sandstone Falls, Bobcock SP
27 : Drive to and stay Asheville, via Blowing Rock
28 : Stay at Asheville
29 : Stay at Asheville
30 : Fly out Asheville to Atlanta and fly out.

Options -
(1) I can drive to WV region first (long drives with one/two stay on the way) and later do GSMNP and Asheville. That will help me to stay in GSMNP on weekend.
(2) I can take one day from Asheville and add to GSMNP
(3) Of course one option is still, skip WP and stay in GSMNP/Asheville area.

In summary, I have two routes -
- Atlanta, GSMNP, Asheville, Blowing Rock, Atlanta (spend more time in NC region)
- Atlanta, GSMNP, New River Gorge National Park, Sandstone Falls, Bobcock SP, Blowing Rock, Asheville, Atlanta (drive extra miles to WV)
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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 11:58 AM
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WHY would you go to Chatanooga from Atlanta to get to the Smokies?!!
DON"T stay in Gatlinburg and at this point I wonder if you can even get a place to stay.
I have been to and through Whytheville a number of times. I looked at a map and cannot quited quigure out your route, but you should understand that in that part of NC and the part of WVA where the NEW River Gorge is that once you are off a main highway you are on mountain roads that are not for a quick drive.
The traffic within SMNP will be at a snail's pace during that time.

": Drive to and stay Asheville, via Blowing Rock " HOW are you going to do this!! You go through Asheville to get near Blowing Rock.
You might look up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville and see things you'd like to visit rather than WVA. South of Asheville is Lookingglass Falls and the Cradle of Forstry. Brevard is a charming mountain town, maybe nicer than Blowing Rock. Blowing Rock is very cute and will be overrun in October.
Grandfather Mountain is near Boone/Blowing Rock. Mount Mitchell and the Linville Gorge are all within this area. There is MORE than enough to do in this area without going to WVA
​​​​​​​look at the site High Country NC
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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 12:58 PM
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I may have picked map wrong, or was not clear enough in my post. Here is what I meant -
I will reach Atlanta in evening and don't want to drive all the way till GSMNP region. So I would stay on the way. Chattanooga was an option, but I have not booked that yet.
On my dates I can see lodging available in Pigeon Forge and Townsend.
"Drive to and stay Asheville, via Blowing Rock". On 27th, I will leave Wytheville hotel and reach Asheville this way - shorturl.at/chz58
And this was overall route, I thought earlier - shorturl.at/gpY23

Of course I will go with suggestions on this forum, rather than seeing some pictures on google
Let me check more on your suggested place.
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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 02:16 PM
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If youíre planning on spending the night in Chattanooga, you might think about taking US 64 along the Ocoee River and on through the North Carolina mountains to Cherokee and then north through the GSMNP to Gatlinburg. The scenery is beautiful, and thereís a nice Cherokee museum in Cherokee. The alternate route, up I-75 to I-40 through Knoxville, is not particularly pretty and the traffic in Knoxville can be horrid.

October 20-30 is peak color time. Rooms here in Chattanooga can be hard to find, and the same is true of Asheville.

I think the New River Gorge is beautiful, but I donít think itís any prettier than the scenery around Asheville. Iíve driven the route from Wytheville to the Tennessee line many times. Itís not awful, but neither is it particularly pleasant.

I avoid Pigeon Forge like the plague ó the traffic is awful and itís an unattractive strip of motels, outlets, tacky gift shops, and mediocre restaurants. If your choice is Townsend or Pigeon Forge, Iíd go for Townsend.

If you wind up going to Gatlinburg and from there to Asheville, Iíd go due east from Gatlinburg on US Hwy 321 and connect with I-40 just before the Tennessee-North Carolina border.




Last edited by Scooterr; Oct 8th, 2022 at 02:18 PM.
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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 03:47 PM
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@Scooterr , thanks for your advice. As you and Gretchen suggest I will skip going to New River Gorge, Sandstone Falls, Bobcock SP. One change I would do here is, reverse the route. I hope it should work well. Doing will put me in Asheville area on weekend and GSMNP during weekend, should beat some crowd.
That will make it something like this --

22 : Atlanta to "somewhere" and stay overnight. (We will leave Atlanta at 8 pm, so probably good to stay 2-3 hours further?)
23 : "somewhere" to Asheville and stay overnight at Asheville. (we can utilize whole day driving and reach Asheville by evening)
24 : Stay at Asheville. Day trips around Asheville, including Biltmore Estate
25 : Stay at Asheville. Other day trips around Asheville.
26 : Leave Asheville and drive to Boone and stay at Boone (wise to split stay and spend one night here? If yes, what route would I take?)
27 : Leave Boone, drive to Townsend and stay at Townsend. Spend rest evening around.
28 : Stay at Townsend. Cades Cove and later Gatlinburg. Later half may be Anakeesta.
29 : Stay at Townsend. Other day trips around
30 : Pack up from Townsend, drive to Atlanta and fly out. Flight at 7:20 PM.

There are gaps and still scope of fixing. I can see lodging still available at places so I can change it as per suggestions. If needed, we can split our stay too. We don't find problem in packing/unpacking.

Last edited by DSKP; Oct 8th, 2022 at 03:56 PM.
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 02:45 AM
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What Scooter says is all true.
Chatanooga is very much WEST of where you waant to go.
Being in those places on the weekend is NOT what you want. That is when day trippers from Charlotte come to the mountains.
Drive up Route 985/23 from Atlanta and sstop somewhere along there. Cordelia maybe

Then go to Townsend and spend your time inthe Smokies. Go to Asheville via The Cherokee Reservation area. It's about a 2 hour drive.
Or if you want--go on to Boone/Blowing Rock area. You can at least start your drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway OR save the Parkway for the area around Boone.
Divide you time as you want--AND as you can find accomodations this late.
In the Boone area is Linville gorge/Falls, Grandfather mountain,
Look up the BRP map in that area

Where are you coming from?

https://www.bing.com/maps?&ty=18&q=A...=1&FORM=SNAPCR

Last edited by Gretchen; Oct 9th, 2022 at 02:48 AM.
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 05:23 AM
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We are coming from Los Angeles.
if we donít want to see GSMNP during weekend, then I can reverse the trip, i.e. do Asheville first and later GSMNP. Is Cordelia still good?
should I do day trip to Boone or stay there?
Please see this possible route and some doubtsó

22 : Atlanta to "somewhere" and stay overnight. (We will leave Atlanta at 8 pm, so probably good to stay 2-3 hours further?) Earlier I was thinking to reach as far as Cherokee, but as you suggested, Cordelia can be good.
23 : Cordelia to Asheville and stay overnight at Asheville. (we can utilize whole day driving and reach Asheville by evening). Or I can make Brevard as base, as second option.
24 : Stay at Asheville. Day trips around Asheville, including Biltmore Estate
25 : Stay at Asheville. Other day trips around Asheville.
26 : Leave Asheville and drive to Boone and stay at Boone (wise to split stay and spend one night here? If yes, what route would I take?)
27 : Leave Boone, drive to Townsend and stay at Townsend. Spend rest evening around.
28 : Stay at Townsend. Cades Cove and later Gatlinburg. Later half may be Anakeesta.
29 : Stay at Townsend. Other day trips around
30 : Pack up from Townsend, drive to Atlanta and fly out. Flight at 7:20 PM.
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 05:51 AM
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I posted a lind to a map that gives you ALL the area you want to travel to. You can google for driving times and routes
You may indeed be able to drive 2 hours or so after an 8PM arrival since your body will be on west coast time. Culhowee is practically on the edge of the GSMNP and is 2.5 hours from Atlanta. PLEASE don't use "Cornelia" as a place to recommend--I only looked at the map and chose it.
IF you did GSMNP, Asheville and Boone in that order you can get back to Atlanta on mostly interstates dropping south to Spartanburg and taking I85.

Other places to stay around GSMNP are Bryson City, Cherokee, Culhowee. I think you need to make some reservations. Look at hotels.com. If you never set foot in Gatlinburg on this trip you would not have missed anything.

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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 08:59 AM
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I understood that now, I can easily drive till Culhowee or Bryson City on first day. This is our first time coming to this region.
My last one is, will it make more sense to do day trip from Asheville to Boone, or I can split my stay between Asheville and Boone? (If there are move places I should see and up up further)
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 12:20 PM
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I can't answer the question about the day trip idea between Asheville and Boone but I will tell you to be aware that there is lots of construction on I-26 in the Asheville area which can significantly impact your drive time depending on where in the Asheville area you stay. If you are looking for lodging in that area, I would suggest a place where you would not need to rely on I-26 to get you around. I was just up that way for a wedding in Hendersonville and I-26 getting up to Asheville was a giant, slow-moving mass of cars. (But the scenery is gorgeous and Asheville is a fun, quirky town.)
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 03:04 AM
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NO, day trips to Boone will only make for impossibly long times in the car and missing having time to enjoy the area.

When I plan a trip I take a map like the one I posted and print it out and stick pins in where I want to go. Then it is pretty clear what can happen and can't. Boone is a nice mountain town with a major university. It isn't "picturesque" and on a football weekend it will be overrun--and even more during leaf season. Blowing Rock is a darling little mountain town that is always overrun. I cannot emphasize enough that you need to decide your timing and make reservations NOW. You will need to use something like hotels.com or booking.com which will show you hotels nearby. If you can, stay downtown in Asheville and enjoy the cute vibe of that town. Don't miss the Craft store for the Appalachian Guild on the outskirts of Asheville--beautiful stuff. It is on the Parkway

You shouldn't need to use I26 that is mentioned above but that is tood info.

You should spend some time on the Blue Ridge Parkway FOR SURE. It would be a real miss to come to this area of the country and not be on it for a while. BUT choose what you want to see from the link. You may want to print out some map of it before you come --it is a little difficult to pick out from a regular map. I have also included a lind to the Penland School in Spruce Pine. It is an exceptional craft school featureing many artists.

https://www.blueridgeparkway.org/parkway-maps/
https://penland.org/

I

Last edited by Gretchen; Oct 10th, 2022 at 03:13 AM.
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 05:45 AM
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Noted and doing lodging secure now.
After Asheville, I will stay at Boone and then GSMNP area (I can see lodging available at Townsend).
Should I keep 2 nights at Boone or Blowing Rock (if there is more around and up further drive). Or I can keep it one night and day drive towards Townsend?
What route should I take to reach Townsend? Fastest is 3:30 hrs via 81, and other one is 4 hours.
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 06:06 AM
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Again, if you are going to drive to Culhowee the first night you could do the Park at that time, go to Asheville and then Boone.

You don't have to stay in Townsend which is on the far side of the park. You could stay in the Cherokee /Bryson City area in the southwestern part--and then not deal with the Gatlinburg traffic.
To go back to Atlanta you could stop overnight in Charlotte (2 hours from Boone), enjoy a nice meal and see a bit and drive to Atlanta in 4 hours on I85.You have 10 days minus a couple for driving.

I would not shorten the Boone area at all--there is almost more to do there than in Asheville once you've done the Biltmore.

Take a look at other towns on the way from Atlanta and around the southern edge of the park

https://www.google.com/maps/place/To...!4d-83.7557281



Don't forget about the Parkway.

Last edited by Gretchen; Oct 10th, 2022 at 06:11 AM.
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