Fall is a popular time of year for visitors to the Smokies—those from all over flock for a glimpse at the sprawling view of reds, yellows, and oranges. But early Sunday morning, a rockslide hit North Carolina’s Highway 40, leaving a mountainous pile of boulders just past the Tennessee state line and closing the road in both directions.
Authorities say the rocks may leave the road blocked for several months, but don’t let a highway closure put a hold on your road trip just yet! There are several detours available, so there’s no need to miss out on long Fall drives or Winter ski trips this year.
Follow the link for additional routes that offer a scenic drive and great stops for amazing views.
Take Exit 435 (Newport, Tenn.) off I-40 West. Make a left off the exit ramp onto Highway 321/32 (Cosby Highway) toward Newport. Make a right onto Highway 25/70 (East Broadway Street). Continue on Highway 25/70 toward Hot Springs, N.C. In Hot Springs, make a right onto N.C. 209. Bear left at Ferguson Supply Store to stay on N.C. 209. Continue on N.C. 209 through the Crabtree and Iron Duff communities. N.C. 209 soon intersects with I-40 at Exit 24. Continue on N.C. 209 to Lake Junaluska. From here, take the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway (U.S. 19/23/74) east to Exit 106 to Clyde and Canton. Take Exit 103 off U.S. 19/23/74 West to Maggie Valley. Continue to the following exit (Exit 102) to Waynesville.
Take Exit 407 (Sevierville, Tenn.) off I-40 West. Make a right off the exit ramp onto Highway 66 (Winfield Dunn Parkway) toward Sevierville. Continue straight through intersection with Main Street in Sevierville, where road becomes Highway 441/71. Stay straight on U.S. 441, which becomes 441/321/73/71. Continue on this highway through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, at which point you will enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Follow U.S. 441 through the national park to Cherokee, N.C. Make a left onto U.S. 19 and follow to Maggie Valley.
For those who would prefer an all-interstate detour, take I-40 East to I-81 North to I-26 East to I-40 West. From I-40 West, take Exit 31 to Canton, Exit 27 to Clyde, Lake Junaluska and Waynesville, and Exit 20 to Maggie Valley.
(Courtesy Haywood County Tourism Development Authority)
- Compiled by Katie Kelly