Posted 9/21/2021 09:43 (#9231456 - in reply to #9227694) Subject: RE: Great smokies mini vacation ideas
We have been there several times over the years and really enjoy the park. We avoid Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, way too many people there! The last 2 visits we didn't even drive through those towns. We have always stayed around Townsend and this summer we stayed at Wares Valley which is located between Townsend and Pigeon Forge. This area is much less congested and much more enjoyable for us. Both Towsend and Wares Valley have park entrances ,making them very convenient locations.
In the park we like the Cades Cove loop, but I saw it is closed for construction through Sept 27 for construction. We enjoy picnicing at the Cades Cove entrance and at Metcalf Bottoms. Both picnic areas are near streams. The Elkmont area is pretty neat. They have restored several vacation homes from the early 20th century, not to stay in just to look at. There is a really nice trail there along the Little River. Other nice somewhat easy trails are the Middle Prong trail at the end of the Tremont road, Schoolhouse gap trail and the trail to the Walker Sisters Cabin near the Wares Valley entrance.
Hope this helps some. Have fun!
Edit to add we drove back home through Lexington and then west on 64. This is about 30 miles further than going through Paducah KY and Nashville TN but was a much easier drive.