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Old 06-27-2014, 09:36 AM   #1
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Trip from Florida to Spruce Pine NC

I'm looking for advice on which route I can take to Bear Den Campground in Spruce Pine, North Carolina? The address is:
600 Bear Den Mountain Rd
Spruce Pine, NC 28777

Leaving from Tampa, FL 33609

One route takes me I75 to I95 then to I26. Pick up 74 to 221 then 226 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The entrance to the campground is located right off the BRP. Google says this is faster by 39minutes.

My other option takes me I75 to Atlanta, then to 23. 23 to I40 to 70 to 226 to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We are traveling July 3rd and 4th...I know, I know. Can't leave earlier due to work.

I'm not sure if traffic will be worse on I75 near Atlanta or I95 with people heading for the coast. Or both will be terrible and it's what I get for traveling at this time.

I also want to get onto the BRP as close to the entrance to the campground as possible. Towing my long trailer up the BRP is not on my list of fun things to do July 4th.

Any advice would be great.

Thank you,

Joe
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:49 AM   #2
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This is probably the best route:

One route takes me I75 to I95 then to I26. Pick up 74 to 221 then 226 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The entrance to the campground is located right off the BRP. Google says this is faster by 39minutes.

I have been to Bear Den but it was 10 years ago.


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Old 06-27-2014, 10:04 AM   #3
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I personally would avoid Atlanta so would take the I95 route. I26 is relatively nice, does not go through major cities. The only fly in the ointment is NC226, which Google loves to suggest. It is very steep (8-10% in a couple of places) and has some nice 5MPH hairpin turns. We have driven both MH's (26' and 34' with toad) up and down that road, but if you're not comfortable with that you may want to take US221 all the way to the BRP. BRP will be relatively slow but it is not steep and doesn't have hairpin turns, we cruise at 30-40MPH on it in the MH.

If you're into hiking, make sure to go to Crabtree Falls, it's a nice loop with the falls midway through the loop. It's one of our favorite hikes in NC. Unfortunately they closed the campground last year so you can't stay at the trailhead any more. The Gem and Mineral museum is small but also a good place to spend a half hour or so at, it's right at the BRP on NC226.
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Old 06-27-2014, 12:18 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input. I'm comfortable with my rig but will avoid steep grade if I can. No need to stress the truck.
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Old 06-27-2014, 12:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbenoit28 View Post
Thanks for the input. I'm comfortable with my rig but will avoid steep grade if I can. No need to stress the truck.

In that case, I concur with Love2go. Stay on US221 to the BRP intersection. Little longer but overall better than US226.


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Old 06-27-2014, 12:28 PM   #6
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226 looks like tons of fun if I were in my street car. Part of me wants to try it for the challenge/practice/experience. Wife will certainly disagree :-)
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Old 06-27-2014, 12:31 PM   #7
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226 looks like tons of fun if I were in my street car. Part of me wants to try it for the challenge/practice/experience. Wife will certainly disagree :-)

Go in on 221 and during your stay check out 226 in your truck. If Wife concurs, use 226 when you leave.


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Old 06-27-2014, 04:04 PM   #8
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If you take the I95 through SC and then I-26 through Columbia north be sure and secure everything even the fillings in your teeth, that is one rough ride.
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Old 06-27-2014, 08:48 PM   #9
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Going through Atlanta is like going through Washington DC, It's all a question of timing. I try to time my trips through these cities to times when traffic is light. Usually at night. If that's not possible then definitely off peak. Some smart phones and tablets have traffic apps that will give you an idea of what's ahead.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:14 PM   #10
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Gacamp, you were correct! I've seen smoother dirt roads that I95 and I26. Both had very long sections that were well overdue for replacement. Lost one of our bumper/sewer caps and I think a filing or two.

Beautiful scenery once we got in here. The entrance road into the campground isn't for the faint of heart.
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