(click map to open very large locator map - this section is red)
US-441 leaves the Qualla Indian Reservation and the town of Cherokee and shortly enters the park boundary at the entrance sign.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The beginning (or end) of the 469 mile long Blue Ridge Parkway is to the right. This extremely scenic highway is the most visited unit of the National Park Service. It connects Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
Oconaluftee Visitor Center
The Oconaluftee Visitor Center is on the right. There is a large parking area, but this is often full during the busy season. There is also a historic area behind the center as well as the Oconaluftee River Trail.
The short access road to the parking area for Mingus Mill is on the left. This is an old grist mill that is still in operation. The mill is usually open daily in the summer and on the weekends the rest of the year.
Tow String Road
Tow String Road is on the right. This is a horse camp area.
Access to the Smokemont Campground is on the right. This large campground is one of two in the park open all year.
Kephart Prong Trailhead
There are pulloff areas on both sides of the road for the Kephart Prong Trail. This is a great trail that follows along the beautiful Kephart Prong, making its way in two miles to a historic shelter.
Clingman's Dome Road
The Clingman's Dome Road is on the left. This seven mile long road leads near the top of Clingman's Dome, the highest point in the park. This road is closed December 1st to March 31st due to snow and ice.
The Newfound Gap Road continues on. For the next section, see Newfound Gap Road Part 2