Driving Tip – You and your family are sitting in your car headed to Gatlinburg from Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, or I-40. Like most, you decide to take the “Spur” past traffic light No. 10 in Pigeon Forge. As soon as you pass the Gatlinburg Welcome Center you come to a complete stop. Two lanes heading into Gatlinburg, full of cars and families anticipating the fun they are about to have. You can expect a wait just to get to the city limits. Little do you know that a half-mile from the Welcome Center is your escape route: The Gatlinburg Bypass. This Bypass allows you to go directly to the National Park or the other end of Gatlinburg, while providing some of the best views of Gatlinburg that you can find in the area.
Obviously, if you are in the Smokies you are going to visit the Great Smoky Mountain National Park at some point, or pass close by it at least. If you are looking to go straight to the National Park then the Bypass allows you to get there without having to deal with the stop and go traffic of Gatlinburg. The other end of the bypass drops you off a mere two miles from Sugarlands Visitor Center. At Sugarlands Visitor Center you can reserve campsites, get trail information, buy souvenirs and take in the exhibits – all giving you great Park information. Besides all that, it is also a good place to stop before you head into the mountains for a day hike or just a drive to places like Cherokee, NC. Either way, back to the car…
So you’re stopped in traffic waiting for the guy in front of you to move five inches so that you can move four. If you take the bypass and follow the signs to Gatlinburg, you will find yourself at traffic light No. 10, near the Park Grill and Ober Gatlinburg going against the traffic. You might now realize it, but you have saved yourself some time and your family can get to enjoying Gatlinburg much quicker. You’ll still have to find a place to park but you will be on the same side of the road as some of the larger parking lots up Historic Nature Trail Road. Also, if your destination in Gatlinburg is closer to traffic light No. 10 then you are almost there.
Another suggestion, if it’s dark when you’re leaving Gatlinburg, take the bypass. There is a scenic overlook that gives you an incredible view of the old town in all it’s glowing splendor. At night, with the lights on and the Space Needle shining like a beacon you get a glimpse of what brings people back to Gatlinburg year after year. So, the next time you are headed to Gatlinburg or when you are headed to the National Park remember the Gatlinburg Bypass and you will be the hero of your vacation.
So we’ve gone over all the ways to cut around traffic and make the trip in and around Gatlinburg an easier one. What about getting there? While we can’t possibly notify you of every highway that’s under construction, or every traffic pileup along the way, here’s a chart (below) with mileage and corresponding drive time from major cities to Gatlinburg. Plan your trip accordingly and be ready to enjoy Gatlinburg to its fullest when you arrive.
|Asheville, NC||1 Hour – 54 min||90|
|Atlanta, GA||3 Hours – 53 min||197|
|Baton Rouge, LA||10 Hours – 41 min||699|
|Birmingham, AL||4 Hours – 49 min||298|
|Bristol, TN||1 Hour – 39 min||102|
|Charlotte, NC||3 Hours – 57 min||219|
|Chattanooga, TN||2 Hours – 41 min||153|
|Cherokee, NC||1 Hour||35|
|Chicago, IL||9 Hours – 23 min||581|
|Cincinnati, OH||4 Hours – 59 min||297|
|Columbus, OH||6 Hours – 32 min||397|
|Dayton, OH||5 Hours – 42 min||344|
|Greenville, SC||2 Hours – 53 min||143|
|Huntsville, AL||4 Hours – 20 min||253|
|Indianapolis, IN||6 Hours – 29 min||398|
|Jackson, MS||8 Hours – 18 min||537|
|Johnson City, TN||1 hour – 31 min||94|
|Knoxville, TN||1 Hour||42|
|Lexington, KY||3 Hour – 38 min||212|
|Louisville, KY||4 Hours – 45 min||286|
|Memphis, TN||6 Hours – 47 min||432|
|Montgomery, AL||6 Hours – 5 min||385|
|Nashville, TN||3 Hours – 41 min||222|
|New Orleans, LA||9 Hours – 54 min||642|
|Orlando, FL||10 Hours – 19 min||631|
|Roanoke, VA||4 Hours – 19 min||261|
|St. Louis, MO||8 Hours – 23 min||327|
|Tampa, FL||10 Hours – 39 min||698|