CADE'S COVE TOUR
Take a left out of out driveway on Hwy. #19, go 2 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway and head towards The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Cherokee). After 2 miles you'll see Balsam Road on your right. This is a 9 mile black topped spur road that ends at Hinetooga Overlook and the 1.5 mile Flat Creek Falls trail. Once back on the Pkwy continue to the end, then turn right onto Hwy. #441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At the top you will find an 8 mile blacktop spur road to Clingman's Dome, the highest elevation in the Smokies. At the end of the road there is a large parking area with miles of panoramic views, and a paved but steep 1/4 mile trail. If you make it to the top of the trail and the day is clear, you can see seven states.
Just past the Clingman's Dome spur is Newfound Gap parking area and overlook. Be sure to take a few minutes to stop and check out the view.
Continue across the mountain to the Tennessee side. At the Sugarland's Visitors' Center turn left on Little River Road and head towards Cades Cove. A couple of miles into the ride you will come to the parking area for Laurel Falls, a truly magnificent double falls at the end of a 1 mile paved hike. Continuing on Little River Road will bring you to Cades Cove and the 11 mile paved, one way loop road showcasing restored pioneers' homes, churches, schoolhouses, and more. Of course the roads are all full of curves, and the valley scenery is beautiful all the way. Be sure to look for black bear, deer and foxes while you're there.
Start back on Little River Road and turn left at the 1st intersection toward Townsend, TN. Turn right on Hwy. #321 and either pick up #441 back across the Park, or stay on #321 to Interstate 40 East. Exit #20 in NC will put you on Hwy. #276 to Hwy. #19. Turn right on #19, and make your way through Maggie for 6 miles to the Abbey Inn. Just after you turn onto #19 you will see Key West Seafood on your right. Stop in there for a wonderful meal of local, fresh, mountain rainbow trout, or any of the well prepared entrées on their regular menu. Total trip takes about 6 hours. Time does not include side trips and meal stops