I have not been there from the North but going thru Johnson City to I-26 then to I-40 looks like it has less curves than I-81 to I-40. Both ways the elevation peaks around 3300 feet. Just make sure either way that you take Hwy 74 when you get off of I-40 and stay off US19 as it is a two lane curvy road compared to 74 which is a four lane. When you get in to Cherokee you need to pick up Big Cove Road to get to the KOA. Signs will direct you to turn right and go thru the tourist area; instead go up to the next right and you will avoid all the tourist traffic. If you miss the turn you should be able to turn around at the visior center just past the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Also, you can pick up firewood at the little store on the left hand curve a lot cheaper. Be sure to look for elk in the afternoon near the high school. You may want to visit the Wheels thru time museum in Maggie Valley if you have any interest in motorcycles...well worth the tour...owner is on site to demonstrate and everything in there runs. Enjoy your trip, we have stayed at this KOA many times and it is very kid friendly.
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