Airports & Airlines
The main airports nearest to the park are at Knoxville, TN; Asheville, NC; Chattanooga, TN; Charlotte, NC; and Atlanta, GA.
McGhee Tyson Airport Located 15 miles south of downtown Knoxville in Alcoa, TN. It is served by Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier and United airlines, with around 20 non-stop flights, including to Chicago, Dallas and Washington, DC.
Asheville Regional Airport Outside Fletcher, 16 miles south of Asheville. Served by a handful of nonstop flights, with routes including Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago and New York.
Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Chattanooga's modest airport is just east of the city and is served by direct flights from Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas and New York, among a few others.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport Located 7 miles west of Uptown, Charlotte’s airport is an American Airlines hub that welcomes nonstop flights from continental Europe and the UK.
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Atlanta's huge airport, 12 miles south of downtown, is a major regional hub and an international gateway. It's the busiest airport in the world in overall passenger traffic, and it feels like it.
Departure tax is included in the price of a ticket.
The vast majority of visitors to the park arrive by car. Buses serve nearby cities, though you'll still need to hire a car from there to reach the park.
Greyhound (www.greyhound.com) operates direct bus routes between main towns in the US. It serves Knoxville, Asheville, Chattanooga, Charlotte and Atlanta, but unfortunately there are no bus services to Gatlinburg or other towns close to the park.
Car & Motorcycle
From Knoxville, TN, it's an easy drive to the north part of the park. If you're heading to Cades Cove, take Hwy 321 to Townsend, then the Laurel Creek Rd. To reach Sugarlands Visitor Center and the start of the Newfound Gap Rd, stay on Hwy 321 past Townsend to Wear Valley, then turn south onto Line Springs Rd. This eventually turns into Little River Rd as it takes you straight into the park. Total driving time from Knoxville to either Cades Cove or the start of Newfound Gap Rd is around 70 minutes.
From Asheville, NC, take I-26 north to I-40 west. Exit onto Hwy 74 toward Clyde, then take Hwy 19 toward Cherokee. Follow this road past Maggie Valley, then turn onto the Blue Ridge Pkwy, a scenic route that will lead you to the edge of the national park. As the parkway ends, turn right onto Hwy 441 (aka Newfound Gap Rd). The Oconaluftee Visitor Center is less than a mile from the Blue Ridge Pkwy. Total driving time is about 75 minutes from Asheville to the Smokies.
If you're coming from Altanta, take I-85 north and merge (left lane) onto I-985 east, following signs towards Gainesville. Stay on this route as it turns into Hwy 23 north. Continue to Dillsville, then follow signs onto Hwy 74 heading west. Shortly you'll see signs for Cherokee and the national park; turn onto Hwy 441, which will lead you straight into the park and the Oconaluftee Visitor Center (a 3½-hour drive from Atlanta).