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Old 06-18-2021, 12:31 PM   #1
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I-40 Knoxville to Asheville- grade issues?

Part of our upcoming trip (AZ to NC) looks like it could include a stretch of I-40 that goes over mountains between Knoxville and Ashville.

Are the inclines very steep?

Should we be looking for an alternate route?

(Driving a 2003 class A)
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Old 06-18-2021, 12:42 PM   #2
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I drive that route every year in Nov/Dec without issue. Few areas where you just need to take your time and use your engine brake or lower gear to help control your speed. Watch the weather as its best not to tackle it in heavy fog or snow.
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Old 06-18-2021, 12:48 PM   #3
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I also take that route at least once a year heading to Asheville on I-40 from western TN.

You will be fine, there are hills and two tunnels on the way and hills one tunnel on the way back.

It's a beautiful drive!

Safe travels,
Mark
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Old 06-18-2021, 03:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Time2roll View Post
Part of our upcoming trip (AZ to NC) looks like it could include a stretch of I-40 that goes over mountains between Knoxville and Ashville.

Are the inclines very steep?

Should we be looking for an alternate route?

(Driving a 2003 class A)
If you can climb to Flagstaff to get on I-40 you'll be just fine. It's an interstate. All kinds of vehicles drive it.
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Old 06-18-2021, 03:42 PM   #5
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Not steep, biggest thing is 4 lanes with cement wall divider between the east bound and west bound sides. Tractor trailers are supposed to use the right lanes only. It is one curve after another. Then you have some people trying to run 80 and some trying to run 25. LOL Been through there pulling my 5th wheel the worst time was when it was raining so hard and foggy I honestly couldn't see the end of my trailer in my mirrors. On a typical day it is really a nice drive.
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Old 06-18-2021, 03:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Time2roll View Post
Part of our upcoming trip (AZ to NC) looks like it could include a stretch of I-40 that goes over mountains between Knoxville and Ashville.

Are the inclines very steep?

Should we be looking for an alternate route?

(Driving a 2003 class A)
We live in Asheville and we routinely tow our TT west on I-40 to GSMNP, to Gatlinburg, Knoxville and beyond. The grade is not nearly as steep as the I-26 grade between Asheville and Johnson City. No grades in Blue Ridge Mountains are as steep as some of the Rockies summit grades. Exception being Blue Ridge Parkway. To be avoided by larger rigs.
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Old 06-18-2021, 03:44 PM   #7
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...And watch for bears. No kidding - we've seen several after being hit by vehicles.
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Old 06-18-2021, 04:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
If you can climb to Flagstaff to get on I-40 you'll be just fine. It's an interstate. All kinds of vehicles drive it.
Oh, we definitely are planning to avoid that trek from Phoenix up to Flagstaff. I don't like that drive in a regular car... steep, long inclines on narrow roads along deathdrop shoulders. We were going to catch I-40 further east.
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Old 06-18-2021, 04:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Marine359 View Post
We live in Asheville and we routinely tow our TT west on I-40 to GSMNP, to Gatlinburg, Knoxville and beyond. The grade is not nearly as steep as the I-26 grade between Asheville and Johnson City. No grades in Blue Ridge Mountains are as steep as some of the Rockies summit grades. Exception being Blue Ridge Parkway. To be avoided by larger rigs.
Thanks! We'll be heading south of Asheville, so not towards Johnson City. Do you know how that would be? We'd turn south on I-26 just before Asheville.
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Old 06-18-2021, 04:45 PM   #10
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Easy Peasy
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Old 06-18-2021, 06:08 PM   #11
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I live just west of Knoxville and grew up just north of Asheville. I40 is an easy drive. Beautiful scenery up the Pigeon River. Just pay attention to the signs as a few curves can sneak up on you. When my mother was sick I drove this 3 to 4 times a week so I can drive it with my eyes closed (well almost).

I26 South of Asheville is an easy drive as well. You have Old Fort Mountain so just watch speed going down.
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Old 06-18-2021, 06:13 PM   #12
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I travel this often by car from Knoxville to Raleigh. I quit 40 due to tractor trailers. I now go 81 and bypass it. Better road with a shoulder. 25 more miles but same drive time.
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Old 06-18-2021, 06:44 PM   #13
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I-26 south of Asheville is Saluda Mt, I-40 east of Asheville is Old Ft Mt. Both have significant grades but very managable. If you take I-26 south of Asheville there is about 20 miles where they are widening the interstate and can be tied up with traffic especially during rush hours. Other than that not too bad.
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Old 06-18-2021, 07:03 PM   #14
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Only advise I have is to check the TN DOT website for construction and or delays. It seems like every year there is a large rock slide blocking the road. When this happens there are long delays.



We've driven this route many times, both in our Class C and Class A DP. not a problem if you watch your speeds.

Good luck
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