Newfound Gap Road – Bad Roads for RVs is located on U.S. Highway 441 and goes through Great Smoky National Park, between Cherokee North Carolina, and Gatlinburg Tennessee. This is a bad road for RVs mostly because it is narrow, steep and there is a much better route on Interstate 40 north of the park.
This is a link to the North Carolina Department of Transportation interactive map. NC Map
This is a link to the Tennesse Department of Transportation interactive map. TN Map
Elevation: 5046 feet at the summit
Length: 34 miles
Terrain: From Cherokee westbound, the climb is 8% for about 8 miles Near Newfound Gap Summit the climb shallows slightly. Then the descent starts slowly and builds up to 8% descent for six miles, which ends in Gatlinburg. The maximum speed is 45 miles per hour for all vehicles.
The park service will close the road quickly for prolonged periods during winter weather when the area has snow or ice.
Turns: Generally the road in this area is wide and tight turns are not the problem.
Switchbacks: On the North Carolina side, there are two switchbacks in the steep section. On the Tennessee side, there are two switchbacks in the steep section.
Tunnels: On the Tennessee side, there are two tunnels one near the top and one near the Chimneys picnic area. These tunnels are ample for most RVs and height is not marked on the tunnels.
Rest Stops & Turnouts: There are multiple scenic overlook turnouts and turnouts for parking and hiking. Most are not big enough for RVs.
Lanes: Generally the road is two lanes wide, with at least one slow lane for climbing and descending near the summit. Slow lanes on this route are the exception.
Commercial Vehicles: This road is closed to commercial vehicles and thus the overhanging trees will scrape the roofs of RVs mostly in the lower sections on both sides.
Turnaround locations: On the east side (east to west) are at Swinging Bridge trailhead, Luftee Overlook, and the summit parking lot. On the west side (west to east) Sugarlands Visitor Center, Cove Hardwood forest parking, Alum Cave parking, Milepost 14.4 parking, and the summit. Other turnouts are probably not big enough to turn around. All the above possible turnarounds will probably have multiple cars parked and trying to park. I would not like to turn around in any of them.
Runaway truck ramps: none
Expect traffic slow-downs due to large animals on the road and near the road near Cherokee.
Newfound Gap Road – Bad Roads for RVs — Our experience
We have traveled this section of Highway 441 multiple times in our car and have seen smaller RVs, mostly travel trailers on this route. All were backing up traffic.
This road would be a good one to avoid in the winter and respect the rest of the year.
Here is our link to our interactive map. Bad Roads for RVs