Looking for trails near Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg TN for newbies

stevieb92

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Hey all,
I'm planning road trip in October to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg TN area from Pittsburgh, PA with my girlfriend. We might use my 2020 JLUR or her 2020 JLU Sahara. We are both newbies to off roading so the trails don't need to be hard core. Our Jeeps are stock so far, so just a little mild off roading exposure would be a good start. If not in that area, maybe on the way toward PF/G TN? Please throw any suggestions my way. Thanks!
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UNC Rubicon

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Windrock is about 90 minutes to the west of Pigeon Forge. You could hit Peters Mill Run (a BoH trail) on the way down to Pigeon Forge. It’s located in NoVa.

Outside of those two places, your best bet will be forest roads in the Cherokee, Pisgah, or Nantahala National Forests.
 

Oldbear

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Check out the KAT (Kentucky Adventure Trail). You will be near the southern end of it in TN.
 

RoadiJeff

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When will you be there this month? My wife and I will be driving her Recon from St. Louis to the Pigeon Forge area and staying in a cabin from Oct. 24-27.
 

93civEJ1

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Nemo tunnel would be a good place to hit up for you
 
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stevieb92

stevieb92

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Sorry to bring this post back up, but my girlfriend and I just booked a cabin near Sevierville for April 11 - 15. We will check out some of your suggestions above.

Any other new developments for easy trail rides?
 

AlgUSF

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Take Rich Mountain Road out of Cades Cove, it ends up in a very remote part of Townsend that is an interesting ride back into town. Rich Mountain is a gravel road, which is a pretty easy trek in a Jeep. I did it in a Civic numerous times. Be sure it isn't closed.

Also Parson Branch road out of Cades Cove was super closed last time we were there. Maybe it'll be open for season. This is a more remote road where a 4x4 is recommended and it fords a few very shallow streams. It lets you out at US 129 (a.k.a. the Dragon), once you get to Chilhowee you can take the Foothills Parkway back to the tourist areas. (EDIT: Parson branch road looks like it'll be closed the entire 2021 season)

Keep in mind, both of these are seasonal roads and I don't know if they'll be open by 4/11-15.

Mt. Sterling road is pretty cool too, and takes you to some very remote areas of the park, and has a great firetower hike halfway through it (Mt. Sterling Trail). The park roads are quite tame, and well traveled so if something does go wrong, you'll see someone shortly that may be able to help out.

I love the Smokies and go there at least 4 times a year.
 

AlgUSF

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If it was me... I'd take Mt. Sterling road (EDIT: on google maps it is also called Old Cataloochee Turnpike for most of the road, it is the in-park road between Cataloochee and Big Creek) and stop at all of the cool pit stops, trailheads and historic churches. Leaving time to take the 2.3 mile hike to the top of Mount Sterling. The non I-40 drive back to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge is absolutely a great snapshot of Tennessee life.

https://www.smokiesadventure.com/sm...mt-sterling-road-old-cataloochee-turnpike.htm I found the ride more adventerous than the writer of this article, and they must have flown by all of the cool stuff. Definitely not for the Ripley's or Dollywood crowds. In Cataloochee you can see a lot of wildlife.


Also... Not saying you should, BUT if it was me I'd make sure to go to the top of the fire tower and check out the view. Keep in mind that this fire tower was built in the 1930s by the CCC, so it is quite old. The NPS doesn't have any warning signs nor is it barricaded or locked. Every time that I've climbed Mount Sterling, I've also had an adult beverage at and taken pix from the top of the fire tower. Enjoy your vacation, I'm planning on a dad-only trip at the end of April where I can do the fun stuff.

IMG_4394.jpg
1200 × 1600
 
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Robnfl

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Thanks for the trail info @AlgUSF, I'll have to check out Mt. Sterling road/Old Cataloochee Turnpike.
 
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