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Author Topic: Hittin' the mountain roads for a camping trip.  (Read 1720 times)

nsexpeditions

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Hittin' the mountain roads for a camping trip.
« on: March 16, 2022, 08:55:54 AM »

This, in April, will be my next major road trip since our stint to Cedar Point from Charlotte, but while that drive had maybe 4 hours of mountains, (goes flat after Charleston WV), this one is going to have plenty. Our main stops will be Waynesville, Dillard GA, Helen, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Knoxville, The Smokies' Tourist Towns, and Asheville. Any detours or tips?
Right now the route is
I-85 to US74, then hitting I-26 to Asheville, then I-40 towards Waynesville, depart 40 with 74 again, then hitting US23 to Dillard. Afterwards, US76 to GA197 to GA356, then taking the GA75 into Helen. Then we hop on GA384, ending up on 23 again, which later turns into I-985 (a rarer highway for me, as I never venture into that part of the state, so it will be cool clinching the entire route because I'll be on it from the start at 23 to the end at I-85), then taking us into Atlanta proper. After Atlanta, we'd camp on Lake Allatoona, then hit 75, have the obligatory Buc-ee's stop in Calhoun, we go to Rock City and the attractions on Lookout Mountain. Explore downtown Chattanooga and then go an hour up to the campground. After, we take 75 to Knoxville, see the Sunsphere, and then probably go down to the Smoky Mountains tourist traps and then the national park. Afterwards, we go to Asheville on I-40, camp there, then return, probably the same way we came in, or 40 to US321.

So, after that jumble of words, any tips or attractions you recommend from your personal experience?
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hbelkins

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Re: Hittin' the mountain roads for a camping trip.
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2022, 10:27:18 AM »

Not knowing anything about Helen, I accidentally drove through it a few years ago on a county-collecting trip. If memory serves, I was using GA 75 after coming in to Georgia from South Carolina on US 123 to make my way to US 64 in North Carolina.

It certainly seemed surprising to see a German/Bavarian-themed town out in the middle of nowhere. There was some sort of event taking place that had traffic jammed up approaching downtown.

I understand that it's becoming an even more popular tourist destination since I was there.
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US 89

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Re: Hittin' the mountain roads for a camping trip.
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2022, 11:01:15 AM »

It certainly seemed surprising to see a German/Bavarian-themed town out in the middle of nowhere. There was some sort of event taking place that had traffic jammed up approaching downtown.

You don't even need an event to jam up traffic on 17/75 in Helen. I've never cared much for the place as it feels too fake for my liking, but a lot of people seem to enjoy it.

On the other hand, the mountains and general areas north and west of Helen have some awesome drives. GA 348 might be one of my favorite eastern US roads. Brasstown Bald (GA high point) is a short paved hike from GA 180 Spur.

epzik8

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Re: Hittin' the mountain roads for a camping trip.
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2022, 04:10:33 PM »

I've spent a few days in Gatlinburg in 2005 on my way to our usual family vacation in Myrtle Beach. We took 70-340-VA7-81-40-TN66. One day of our Gatlinburg leg was dedicated to hiking a few miles of the Appalachian Trail, the first segment of it I clinched, and visiting Clingmans Dome. Gatlinburg reminded me of Myrtle Beach in terms of its tourist traps such as a Ripley's. However, you can enjoy a pleasant walk through downtown.

Going to Myrtle Beach we took 441-19-74-40-26-20-76-SC576-501-SC22. 441 between Gatlinburg and Cherokee has its share of hairpin turns and switchbacks, and even crosses over itself just past Chimney Tops. Maggie Valley, North Carolina on US 19 is very rustic in nature without the bells and whistles of Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge.
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