The drive southbound on U.S. Route 441 from Gatlinburg to Cherokee is one of the most scenic drives in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The road is a winding, two-lane highway that takes us through the heart of the park, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
We start the drive turning onto Newfound Gap Road from the Sugarlands Visitor Center just south of Gatlinburg. Driving initially southeast, the road immediately begins to climb, winding its way up the mountainside. The drive is a thrilling experience, with hairpin turns and steep drop-offs that provide a sense of adventure and excitement.
As we make your way up the mountain, we’re treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. One of the highlights of the drive is Newfound Gap, the highest point on the road at an elevation of 5,046 feet. Here, you can take a short walk to the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Maine to Georgia, or simply enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
Continuing on the drive, we pass through several tunnels that provide a sense of mystery and intrigue. The road also winds through the heart of the park’s dense forests, offering a chance to see wildlife such as black bears, deer, and elk.
As we approach the end of the drive, we pass the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, where you can learn about the history and culture of the Cherokee people, who have lived in the region for thousands of years. The center features exhibits on Cherokee history, culture, and art, as well as a bookstore and gift shop. Continuing south for a few hundred feet, we end the video at the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic drive that spans 469 miles through the southern Appalachian Mountains. The parkway offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, as well as numerous opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.
Driving US Route 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Gatlinburg to Cherokee is a truly unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, you’ll find something to love about this scenic drive.
Note: Some people are of the belief that this stretch of road is NOT U.S. Route 441 because it is inside the park and not signed within the park. However, after contacting both TNDOT and NCDOT, they have both confirmed this is, in fact, US Route 441. At the time of publication, we are still awaiting a reply from the park service to this question.