We ended our trip at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It had been over 20 years since we’d been here, and it seemed like the right place to end our southern journey and head north.
We spent most of a day driving from Cherokee to Gatlinburg and back. (This was before the Gatlinburg fires a few weeks later.) Despite it being a fall weekday, we found the park quite busy. Parking at the visitor center was on the grass since the parking lot was full. Parking areas at other popular spots were also full, and required circling for a while if you wanted a spot.