Road Trip from the Smoky Mountains up the Blue Ridge Parkway | Part Two

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Road Trip from the Smoky Mountains up the Blue Ridge Parkway | Part Twosmoky mountains blue ridge parkway road trip asheville

Being from Nashville, I’ve been over to the Smoky Mountains several times in my life and have been to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville a couple of times, but I decided several weeks ago that we wanted to set out a road trip starting in the Smoky Mountains and making our way up the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Blue Ridge Parkway is considered one of the best road trips in the USA. This road trip would deliver the most epic 6-day itinerary for your Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina adventures.

Part One will find you in Gatlinburg while Part Two is moving on to Asheville, North Carolina.

Day One in Asheville

Elk & History in Cataloochee Valley

Part of the excitement of this trip is the actual drive in between each destination.  Gatlinburg and Asheville are both amazing cities to explore, but the drive in between offers some very rewarding views.  Make sure to leave Gatlinburg early – before the sun comes up early.  Trust me, you can catch up on your sleep when you get home.  Make the drive from Gatlinburg to Cataloochee Valley to check out the elk while they graze during sunrise.  We were the first car there besides the rangers and were surprised with this big guy right out the gate.  We promptly named him DaMarcus and gave him an entire backstory that I’m positive is far from the truth, but hey.  There are also some amazing historic buildings in the valley along with some great hikes as well.




Soco Falls, Maggie Valley

Very close to where you’ll be getting on Blue Ridge Parkway to head towards Asheville is Soco Falls.  Right off the road and just a small hike down and you’ll be rewarded with this gorgeous waterfall.  Just be careful if you choose to go down to the bottom of it.

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soco falls maggie valley blue ridge parkway road trip

Driving the Parkway from Maggie Valley to Asheville

Don’t be in a hurry to get to Asheville.  Part of the allure of the city, is all the wonderful outdoor activities and scenery there is surrounding it.  Along the way, make sure to check out Waterrock Knob, the Richard Balsam Overlook (the highest point on the highway), Devils Courthouse and the Graveyard Fields.


Lunch at Tod’s Tasties

After arriving in Asheville, hit up Tod’s Tasties which is conveniently located very close to the Visitor’s Center.  I had the Grilled Cheese while Kaleb had the Lamb Pita – both of which were very…tasty.

Highland Brewing Company

After checking in at our Bed & Breakfast, we decided to head over to Highland Brewing Company to do a tour real quick because really, who doesn’t love some really good beer.  Asheville is known as Beer City USA and we can attest to the fact that they do have great beer!  Try the Razor Wit Belgian Wheat.

Tip:  Tours run first come, first serve at 4:00 and 5:45pm.

For more brewery options, check out this post on the best Ashville breweries.


Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria

This was one of our – we waited until we were starving moments to decide where to eat and chose very quickly not really caring, but turned out fantastic moments.  We both got calzones.  They actually screwed mine up (but figured it out before they brought it out) and therefore we actually got three of them (leftovers!).  I’m not joking when I say this was the best calzone of my life.

 Day Two in Asheville

Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate is a classic for Asheville and no trip there is complete without visiting this massive estate.  Normally, I’d allow yourself almost a whole day to explore, but being short on time, half a day will be enough.  Take a tour of the house and learn all about it’s history, stroll through the countless gardens, and take a winery tour while there.

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You can even enjoy some more adventurous activities such as horseback riding and whitewater rafting through the estate.

blue ridge parkway road trip asheville biltmore

Eating Asheville Food & Walking Tour

Make sure not to eat too much at Biltmore because you’re definitely going to want to be hungry in the afternoon for Eating Asheville’s food tour.  This was one of the best things we did on this trip.

asheville food tours


Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar

You’re going to love this bookstore and champagne bar so much.  Make sure to head back here after going back to the your room to relax for a bit.  It’s a great place to enjoy a few glasses of wine while perusing the shelves.

Where to Stay in Asheville

We were absolutely beyond impressed with The Albemarle Inn in the Grove Park District of Asheville.  The hospitality was way above what you would expect, the gourmet breakfasts were to die for and the rooms were perfect for relaxing in after long days of hiking and walking around the city.

ake sure to pin this for your own Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway road trip!albemarle inn asheville

Thank you to and The Albermarle Inn for partnering with A Southern Gypsy to make this destination story possible.

Make sure to pin this for your own Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway road trip!


Ashley Hubbard is a blogger and freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee focusing on sustainability, travel, veganism, mental health, and more. Passionate about animal rights, sustainable travel, and social impact, she seeks out ethical experiences whether at home or on the road. She shares these experiences on her website,


  1. Cristina

    August 1, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Wow! The photos of the fog…stunning. This is a road trip I am sure to add to my list.

  2. Kristen Bor (Bearfoot Theory)

    August 1, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Awesome photos Ashley! Looks like you had a fab trip. I’ve always wanted to check out Ashville. Heard its a great little town.

  3. Sammi Wanderlustin'

    August 1, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    I’m so looking forward to getting to America to and visiting you, this looks like fun.

  4. Tara Lepore and Jessi Honard

    August 1, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    Ooh. We’ve been dying to go to Asheville for some time now. Beautiful post! It makes me hungry, too!

  5. Jessica

    August 2, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    One of my closest friends grew up in Winston Salem, and she always talks about how beautiful the Smoky’s are. I’ve driven through the area, but only at night time. I’d love to make a return trip! Wonderful pictures!

  6. Lauren

    August 2, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Wow, Ashley! It looks like such a wonderful trip. The elk is really cute, and I love that waterfall, too! Plus that beer looks really good, would love to do a tour.

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  8. Danielle (Bubs on the Move)

    August 4, 2014 at 5:11 AM

    I used to live in Nashville and love the Smokey Mountains. I have such fond memories of tubing down the river there in summer. Gatlinburg is a crazy town but I never got to Asheville. I agree that driving there is one of the pleasures.

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  11. Linda Bibb

    April 15, 2016 at 10:09 AM

    I lived in Western North Carolina and know the area well. You took a great route and there’s an alternate route between Gatlinburg and Asheville that’s just as picturesque. It runs through Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well, past the Cades Cove turnoff, over Clingman’s Dome (the highest point in the park) and through Cherokee, a NC Indian reservation that borders the park. You’d rejoin your route at Maggie Valley.

    So glad you didn’t miss out on Highland Brewing Company. We always enjoyed their creations.

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