Backroads and Shortcuts in the Smokies
Getaway to the Smokies for a Relaxing Smoky Mountain Vacation
If you want to see our beautiful sites in the Smokies, and avoid our titanic traffic jams, here's the lowdown on our Smoky Mountain backroads and super shortcuts ...
At the bottom of this page, you'll find a link to a Printer Friendly Version of this page. The directions are not as high-tech as a GPS but they're very user friendly.
Yep, the Smokies are also a popular vacation destination and of course we want you to vacation here as well, so no matter where you're headed, we'll do our best to help keep you from getting stuck in our Smoky Mountain traffic jams.
Smoky Mountain Shortcuts
The Latest Smoky Mountain Road ConditionsFor the most updated Smoky Mountain road information follow along on Twitter: http://twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps
Western Backroads To the Gatlinburg Park Entrance
If you're coming from the west, get off Hwy 40 at Hwy 129, near the Knoxville Airport.
Continue on 129 to Maryville. Then, take Hwy 321 to Townsend.
From Townsend you can enter the park via Little River Road and head toward the Sugarlands Visitor Center.
Eastern Backroads To the Gatlinburg Park Entrance
If you're coming from the east, take I - 40 West to Exit 441, then head south on Hwy 321 through Cosby to Gatlinburg.
Smoky Mountain Shortcuts: Sevierville to Pigeon Forge
If you're leaving Sevierville and traveling south on Winfield Dunn Parkway, ( HW 66 ) to avoid the upcoming traffic jams, your goal is to turn left at the upcoming traffic signal.
The traffic signal is at Dolly Parton Parkway, US 411 / 441. The Dolly Parton Parkway is the main east - west road in Sevierville.
By turning left at the Dolly Parton Parkway, you'll leave all that traffic in your rearview mirror.
If your destination is Pigeon Forge, look for Middle Creek Road.
You'll see it about a mile from where you turned off of Highway 66. There's a traffic light at Middle Creek Road but it goes off only to the right.
Hang a right on Middle Creek Road. You'll be in an area of local businesses and professional buildings.
Next, you'll drive past Fort Sanders Sevier Medical Center then you'll drive through 4 or 5 miles of farmland.
You'll soon be in Pigeon Forge and you'll see the Dollywood Parking Lot on your left.
If you stay on Middle Creek Road, you'll merge with Dollywood Lane near Pigeon Forge at traffic light #8.
Backroads in the Smokies: Sevierville to Gatlinburg
If you're leaving Sevierville and traveling south on Winfield Dunn Parkway, ( HW 66 ) to avoid the upcoming traffic jams, your goal is to turn left at the upcoming traffic signal, Dolly Parton Parkway, US 411 / 441.
Unlike the directions to Pigeon Forge, go straight, through the traffic light at Middle Creek Road.
You'll pass an industrial park on the right and Sevier County High School on the left.
A mile or so later, you'll come to Pittman Center Road. There's a traffic light and your only choice is to turn right.
Hang a right on Pittman Center Road ( HWY 416 ) and enjoy the ride -- you'll drive through some lovely Smoky Mountain farmland.
After 5 miles, Pittman Center Road turns left, but please go straight. Now you're on Birds Creek Road.
You'll follow this for 4 more miles, until you come to a stop sign. You're in the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community and very close to Gatlinburg.
Go straight at the stop sign. After a mile, you'll approach the intersection of Glades Road, it's a right turn only intersection.
If you're headed toward downtown Gatlinburg, take the right turn onto Glades Road..
If you're Smoky Mountain Lodging is about 5 miles east of Gatlinburg, don't turn right at Glades Road, instead bear left.
If you're headed toward downtown Gatlinburg, and you turned right onto Glades Road, two miles later Glades Road will end at US 321, two miles from traffic light #3 in downtown Gatlinburg.
If your Smoky Mountain lodging is about 5 miles east of Gatlinburg, don't take the right at Glades Road. Instead, bear slightly left onto Buckhorn Road.
Buckhorn Road continues south for 2 more miles to US 321. A left turn onto the highway will take you towards Pittman Center, Cobbly Nob, Brandywine and Bent Creek.
Shortcuts in the Smokies: In and Around Pigeon Forge
Teaster Lane is an eastern bypass around the traffic in Pigeon Forge. Teaster lane is just east of the parkway and extends from traffic light #2 to Dollywood Lane.
If you're headed south on the parkway from Sevierville, just turn left at traffic light #2. Now follow it as far as your destination.
If you're in the midst of a traffic jam on the parkway, you can get to Teaster lane off of Jake Thomas Road, traffic light #5.
If you're driving south on the parkway and there's traffic ahead, the western bypass in Pigeon Forge is Florence St.
Florence St. runs off of Wears Valley Road, a block west of the parkway.
It runs conveniently parallel to the parkway, but take note: Florence Lane will go through a slew of name changes.
For example, when it passes the Pigeon Forge Civic Center, its name changes to Rena.
At the corner of the Pigeon Forge Civic Center turn left. If you don't you'll wind up in the boondocks.
Backroads in the Smokies: In and Around Gatlinburg
If you're driving south on the parkway towards Gatlinburg, you should take the Parkway Spur to bypass Gatlinburg and the downtown traffic jams.
The bypass is just past the Gatlinburg Welcome Center.
If you're headed to the national park, this bypass is a must.
Also, the Baskins Creek and Cherokee Orchard Road are convenient anytime you want to steer clear of the traffic jams on the parkway in Gatlinburg.
If you're headed west on US 321 toward Gatlinburg, look for the street sign -- Baskins Creek Bypass.
You'll see it on the left about halfway around a sweeping curve.
Next, Baskins Creek Bypass becomes Newton Lane, then you'll intersect Cherokee Orchard Road.
Turn left onto Cherokee Orchard Road.
Cherokee Orchard Road climbs rapidly and curves 'round to intersect Historic Nature Trail Road.
Turn left onto Historic Nature Trail Road to head out of town and leave the Gatlinburg traffic behind.
Smoky Mountain Backroads: Gatlinburg's River Road Bypass
Another bypass is River Road to Ski Mountain Road, then onto the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
As you're heading into Gatlinburg, just turn right at traffic light #5, onto River Road.
And please don't forget our Printer Friendly Version of our Smoky Mountain shortcuts.
Just click, print and take - em along on your Smoky Mountain vacation.
Map of the Smoky Mountain region.
More on Touring the Backroads of the Smokies
And finally, before you move on, here's two helpful books on the back roads of the Smokies.
Touring the Middle Tennessee Backroads by Robert Brandt.
Touring the East Tennessee Backroads by Carolyn Sakowski.