Route: Gatlinburg to Cherokee
Type: Out and Back or Point to Point
Begin: Gatlinburg, TN
End: Cherokee, NC
Travel Time: 1 hour 24 minutes
Distance: 47 miles
Highlights: Majestic mountain roads, twisties, scenic vistas, forests, Clingman’s Dome, Rockefeller Memorial, Appalachian Trail, horseback riding
When vacationers think of a Smoky Mountain vacation, many of them think of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. During the summer months, hundreds of thousands of people descend on Gatlinburg expecting to be professionally entertained, eat delicious food, and be inspired by their surroundings. Very few leave disappointed.
With its proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visitors can easily spend a day or more in the park without having to travel great distances.
We invite you to experience the mountains on the seat of your bike by riding from Gatlinburg to Cherokee.
Gatlinburg to Cherokee | Newfound Gap Road | GSMNP
The Gatlinburg to Cherokee ride passes through Great Smoky Mountains National Park via Newfound Gap Road.
Our map shows an arbitrary starting point at Starbucks in downtown Gatlinburg on US-441. From this spot, it takes roughly 1 hour 24 minutes to drive point to point without stopping along the way.
However, it is unrealistic to think anyone would drive straight through without stopping; there is way too much to see! So what will you see along the way?
In addition to wildlife, beautiful flowers, rivers, waterfalls, streams, roads covered with tree canopies, and breathtaking views; not much.
NOTE: Many people get car sick when riding in the mountains due to the many twists and turns. It can happen for motorcycle passengers as well. If you find yourself riding slowly and traffic builds up behind you, please pull over at one of the turnouts to allow others to pass. This is considered good mountain manners.
Departing Gatlinburg on US-441 (Newfound Gap Road) toward Cherokee, the elevation climbs to more than 5,000 feet. Thirteen miles into the ride, you will arrive at Clingman’s Dome Road on the ridge of the mountain.
Turn right toward Clingman’s Dome and travel 7 miles to the trailhead and Clingman’s Dome Visitor Center. There is plenty of parking and you will walk the paved trail to the Clingman’s Dome tower, about .6 of a mile.
Clingman’s Dome | Great Smoky Mountains National Park
After enjoying the breathtaking views from Clingman’s Dome, backtrack the 7 miles to US-441 and turn right. The rest of the ride is going down the mountain to Cherokee, North Carolina.
Cherokee is home to many picnic areas, restaurants, and a lot of fun.
Whether you decide to stay overnight in Cherokee or return to Gatlinburg, the ride between the two places is spectacular.
Google Map | Gatlinburg to Clingman’s Dome to Cherokee