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Discussion Starter #1
Fellow 'Cruisers...

I'm planning a road trip up through the Smoky Mountains Park in mid January. What are the roads "typically" like that time of year? I plan on heading right up I-441 through the whole park on the way to Ohio from Miami - family wants to see some snow.

Stock FJ, Falken Rocky Mountain ATS tires 285/60 R18's.

Any tips on gear I should have, etc?
 

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There isn't much typical about winter in the Smokies. It might be 60 degrees at Newfound Gap in January. More likely it will be in the 30s or 40s, maybe colder. There is a great chance that there will be some white stuff on the sides of the road near the top. There might be 4 feet of snow, in which case the road will be closed. The park service is quick to close the road if there is any appreciable snow on the road. They are quick to clear it, depending on how much there is, and sometimes they will leave the road open for a while for people with chains and/or 4WD. The park service has no mercy about closing the road. The detour is a good hour or two depending on where you are when you find out about it. It's a great drive and worth the effort. Check with the park service as late as you can before you go out of the way if you are in a hurry.

TT
 

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Thanks TT & Cherokee! I heard about the finicky weather when I was out there this past June. I was wondering if it was as bad as it is in other parts of the country. I would imagine chains are a safe bet?
 

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There is about a 1 in 100 chance chains will do you any good in the Smokies. (They might be beneficial in circumventing the Park if it does snow, or getting out of the park if you happen to get caught in a storm.) If there is snow on the road in the park, the road over the mountains will be closed. At "best", the road might be open to vehicles with chains or 4WD for a little while before it closes completely or reopens completely. This is the South so almost no one has chains, and since it's the NPS they don't hesitate to simply close the road. In fairness, the road is extremely dangerous in snow or ice. I've done it in one of those little windows where they sometimes let 4WDers through and I'd probably do it again, but it's scary. Going downhill and around icy hairpin curves, especially when there are no telling what kind of tourists also on the road and when it's not necessary takes a certain amount of nerve or stupidity. (I have nerve, of course.)

TT
 

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Discussion Starter #6
LOL.. Thanks TT.

"Going downhill and around icy hairpin curves, especially when there are no telling what kind of tourists also on the road and when it's not necessary..."

My wife read that and is threatening to cancel the trip. Perhaps we need a "no spuses" warning on some of the posts? I appreciate the info though. I hope we still go!
 

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If you are in this area and hear or read a weather forecast; The Smokies are part of what they refer to as “higher elevations along the Tennessee line”. Ignore the forecast for either Knoxville or Asheville. They are both close by but worlds apart in terms of precipitation. In Asheville, the weather reported /recorded is at the airport south of the city, which is typically warmer and drier than the rest of the region. W have just had between 6"-12" of rain with with anywhere between 4"- 12" inches of snow preicted for tonight.The problem we face are rockslides,fallen trees and downed power lines. Just like Tars Tarkas said US 441 is one roads around here blocked due to lansdslides. One lane of Interstate 40 near the State line is already blocked from an earlier storm.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
HOLY CRAP! We were overcome by events at home, so the trip was cancelled. Looks like it would have been a VERY short trip anyway. Unbelievable. Thanks for the info and advice. This forum RULES!
 
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