Let’s jump back into your Great Smokies adventure!
Welcome back to the 5 Day Itinerary Great Smoky Mountains, your ultimate Western North Carolina fall trip, featuring a full week away in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
>>> If you haven’t seen Part 1, click here. <<<
Wednesday – Day 4 of our 5 day Itinerary Great Smoky Mountains
Wake up early and head to Cherokee, NC and keep an eye out for more early morning elk sightings at the Oconoluftee Visitor Center Area.
Once you have snapped some great pics, head to Mingo Falls—a gorgeous 200-foot horsetail waterfall—before the crowds get there! This is a highlight to eh 5 day itinerary Great Smoky Mountains!
Now you can relax with a delicious family-style breakfast at Peter’s Pancake and Waffles. Today will be about exploring all Cherokee has to offer, so let’s dive right in.
If you’re in the mood for outdoor activities after all this week’s driving, we’ve got you covered. Enjoy an easygoing hike on the 1.5- mile Oconaluftee River Trail. Grab a fishing guide on the Raven’s Fork Trophy Waters. Or book a riverside guided horseback ride or wagon ride at the Smokemont Riding Stables.
Or if you are more interested in the enriching cultural activities to experience in Cherokee, you can tour the exhibits at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, or immerse yourself in living history at the Oconoluftee Indian Village.
Take an afternoon break to check into your room at Harrah’s.
You can enjoy a late lunch/early dinner at one of Harrah’s twelve unique restaurants, such as Gordon Ramsay’s Food Market. Or visit Guy Fieri’s Cherokee Kitchen, and feel free to spend the evening however you please! Harrah’s Casino offers incredible options for nightlife and entertainment, or you can always head back into the great outdoors to pick up where you left off before getting some much-needed sleep.
Thursday – Day 5 of our 5 day Itinerary Great Smoky Mountains
Check out early and grab breakfast for the road as you head back into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Because this is where you will be driving the Newfound Gap Road to your next destination: Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Yes, we know this is Discover The Carolinas, but this area is shared by both states)
Throughout your drive, take advantage of the abundant landmarks to explore and see. These include the Oconoluftee Visitor Center area for one more chance to see more elk (have to be there early). Also, you can see Mingus Mill, Cliff Branch Falls, and the Thomas Divide Trail. You should also see Clingmans Dome (the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park). After all this is probably the most desirable stop in the park. Lastly, the Ben Morton Overlook, the Chimney Tops trail, Cades Cove, and Cataract Falls. Stops and hikes considered, this drive can take all afternoon, but you don’t want to miss the opportunity to catch some of these beautiful spots along the way to Gatlinburg.
Once you have arrived in Gatlinburg check into one of these incredible Airbnbs:
Woodland Bliss Cabin:
Once you have settled into your new nook for the night, head into town for a delectable dinner at the outpost-styled steakhouse, The Greenbrier (we highly recommend the dry-age steak and whiskey selections).
Friday – Last Full Day – BONUS DAY of our 5 day Itinerary Great Smoky Mountains
Feel free to sleep in today, you’ve earned it!
Tennessee Jed’s is a fun breakfast spot to start the morning before you delve into all that Gatlinburg has to offer, and it offers vegan and vegetarian options as well.
Start your morning adventures with some breathtaking views at Gatlinburg’s Skylift Park or the Gatlinburg Space Needle, or for some family-friendly views, check out the critters at Ripleys Aquarium of the Smokies.
Find your way off the beaten path for the best barbecue in the Smokies, at Delauder’s BBQ.
Now it’s time to get back into the beautifully crisp fall air. Head over to Grotto or Laurel Falls, or if you are feeling ambitious, hike Mt LeConte where caves dot the trails, and witness the seasonal foliage in all its glory.
Swing back to town for the last dinner of your weeklong trip at Chesapeake’s Seafood and Raw Bar.
Saturday – On The Back Home
It’s time to wake up, pack your bags, and grab a country-style breakfast at Crockett’s in downtown Gatlinburg.
Head back down Newfound Gap Road and make sure to stop at any of the landmarks you missed on the way down. Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on these, so take your time on the way back!
Lastly, if you have time, pay a visit to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest near Robbinsville to witness some of the largest old-growth trees on the East Coast.
You did it! What a week! Thank you for making the most of our ultimate guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and we hope you enjoyed your unforgettable week in the Smoky Mountains.