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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

See a Solitary Side of the Smoky Mountains

The nation's most-visited national park is replete with remote outdoor adventures, especially in spring.


1. Where to Stay

The Buckhorn Inn  

There’s no lodging inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so book in the outlying towns of Gatlinburg and Townsend, on the Tennessee side of the park.

The quiet Talley Ho Inn (from $59) is on the park's still-undeveloped western border and just a few miles from Cades Cove. Ask for a newly renovated "deluxe" suite on the second floor—you get little more than a bed and TV, but a private terrace affords uninterrupted views of the mountains.

Gatlinburg usually teems with tourists, but Park Place Condominiums (from $115) is tucked away on a low-traffic side street. Overhear the Little Pigeon River from the first-floor units, but all come with fully equipped kitchens, laundry rooms, and terraces.

Unwind in secluded luxury at Buckhorn Inn (from $195), a 1938 lodge and cluster of luxury private cottages just outside of Gatlinburg. Book the two-bedroom, full-amenities Bebb House, a private guest house once home to the inn's original owner. The inn’s restaurant will pack you a sack lunch for your hike for $8.

Published on Apr 16, 2008 as a web exclusive.

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