Depending on where you are visiting from, the different routes listed below will give you access to the park’s three primary entrances.

The entrance in Gatlinburg, TN

Take the Sevierville Exit (#47) off of Interstate highway 40 to TN-66 South. Once you get to the intersection at Sevierville, continue onto US-442 South. Continue on US-441 all the way through Sevierville and Pigeon Forge until you reach the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

The entrance in Townsend, TN

If you are coming from the north on I-40 in Knoxville, use Exit 386B to US-129 South toward Alcoa/Maryville. Once you get to Maryville, continue to US-321 North/TN East through Townsend. Go straight on TN-73 until you reach the park.

If you are coming from the South from I-75, use Exit 376 to I-140 East to Oak Ridge/Maryville. Merge onto US-129 South via the Alcoa Highway at Exit 11A and proceed towards Alcoa. Continue onto TN-35 until you reach US-321 North. Stay on US-321 North/TN E through Townsend. Proceed on TN-73 all the way to the park.

The entrance in Cherokee, NC

If you are coming from the North from I-40, use Exit 27 to US-74 West towards Waynesville. Continue onto US-19 and go through Maggie Valley until you reach Cherokee. Proceed to US-441 North in Cherokee and go all the way until you reach the park.

If you are coming from the south, use US-441/US-23 North. Once you get to Dillsboro continue onto US-74 West/US-441 north. Take Exit 74 to proceed onto US-441. Take US-441 through Cherokee to the park entrance.


The closest Tennessee airport is located in Alcoa just south of Knoxville at the McGhee-Tyson Airport (TYS). For anyone that is flying into Tennessee, the airport is about 45 miles west of the Gatlinburg park entrance.

If you are flying into North Carolina, the Asheville Regional Airport is just 60 miles east of the Cherokee park entrance.

Public Transportation

Unfortunately, none of the surrounding major cities provide public transportation to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While this is true, certain businesses in the immediate area offer transportation to the park from Asheville, NC and Knoxville, TN.

There is a trolley service in Gatlinburg, TN that brings park visitors to the Sugarlands Visitor Center and Elkmont during the months of fall and summer.

During the fall and summer months, the Cherokee Transit service provides bus transportation from Cherokee, NC to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.