Itinerary for Great Smokey Mountains Nat’l Park

I’m in the midst of preparing an itinerary for a last-minute trip to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park for this weekend!  I found the cutest studio cottage for only $60 a night–10 miles from Gatlinburg, situated on 2 acres–with a pond.  Here are some photos from the owner’s site…





I’ve been to Gatlinburg a couple of times years ago, but never hiking in the National Park.  When my son was young, we would take a 12 hour road trip in our conversion van to Myrtle Beach every year, taking along a friend for him.  They had it pretty good…with a T.V., Nintendo and plenty of leg room!  We stopped in Gatlinburg once on the way back.

Anyway, after researching the available hikes, I’ve decided the Charlies Bunion 8 mile round trip hike on the Appalachian Trail sounds like it will be the perfect hike for us!  It’s at the top of the mountain with amazing views!  I have no desire to window shop in Gatlinburg, but would like to drive into the town of Cherokee in North Carolina.  I’ve heard it’s only 25 minutes from where we’ll be hiking.  One of the nice things about renting a place like this is being able to cook there to keep your expenses down.  So, here’s the proposed itinerary:

Friday – May 24th

8am – Depart

12noon – Stop at Cafe4 in Knoxville‘s Market Square District (I think I want the Shrimp and Grits…yum!)

1:30pm – Hit the road again

2:30-3:00pm – Arrive

Unpack – Relax – Explore property – take a walk

5:00pm – Make Steak dinner

Watch a DVD

Saturday – May 25th

6:00am – Wake up – Brft – Make sandwiches for lunch

6:45am – Drive to Newfound Gap & possibly go to Clingman Dome

(This is where the Charlies Bunion trail is located)

7:30am – Hit the Trail

10:30am – Stop for early lunch on the trail

12:00pm – Drive to Cherokee, N.C.

12:30pm – Explore town

2:00pm – Drive back to cottage

3:30pm – Arrive

4:30pm – Prepare pasta or dine out

Sunday – May 26th

Unscheduled – possible activities:

Have breakfast out at either Log Cabin Pancake House or Cracker Barrel

Drive/Hike around Cades Cove area

Grotto Falls Trail

Porters Creek Trail

Have lunch or dinner at: Old Mill Pottery House Cafe (at Traffic Light #7 in Pigeon Forge)

Monday – May 27th

Cereal for brft.

10am – Depart for home

Here’s my food shopping list:


Steak/Salad/Salad Dressing/Bread/Butter

Coffee/Cream/Wine/Beer/Bottled Water

Cereal/Almond Milk



Pasta/Sauce/Parmesan Cheese

I usually eat healthier at home, but we’ll be on vacation!

Hope everyone has something fun planned for Memorial Day weekend, or if you’re staying home, I think it’s nice to have friends over for a barbecue!  Whatever you do…make it fun!!

27 thoughts on “Itinerary for Great Smokey Mountains Nat’l Park

  1. What a beautiful little cottage …. and what a program !!!!!! I would be happy just sitting on the porch – just watching time goes by.
    Hi there, I would love to pass this award on to you –
    No MUST attached – if you don’t feel for it. And I everything about the food .. except the grits.


    • I try to mix it up and not have every day planned…but like you have an idea of some places. I don’t have wifi where we’re staying and I got rid of my smart phone, so I won’t have a way to research while I’m there. Plus, who wants to research on vacation.


  2. Our long weekend was last weekend. Not Memorial Day but Victoria Day. We had some beautiful weather and I hope you do as well. This little studio cottage is adorable. I think I could just live there with that view. Have a great time.


  3. I am so jealous! I love the Smokeys. If you have any time at all to do another trail, I recommend Chimney Tops Trail. Standing on this rocky outcropping with clouds all around you literally in the clouds instead of them being above you was mind blowing to me. It is a rough trail and all uphill though.


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