A shuttle service between Cherokee, N.C.,
that started in April 2006 is doing so well it is expected to expand its services to include a stop in Pigeon Forge
starting in spring 2008.
The shuttle currently picks up passengers daily at traffic light three, in front of the Gatlinburg Welcome Center, from 9:30 to 10 a.m.; 2 to 2:30 p.m.; and 5:30 to 6 p.m. During summer, there is also an evening run for passengers going to the outdoor drama in Cherokee, and passengers are deposited and picked up at the theater. In winter, the service does not operate at night, but continues to run daily as long as Newfound Gap Road through Great Smoky Mountains National Park remains open.
Evelyn Locust, a driver for the shuttle, said that although a lot of people in Cherokee asked for the service to get to Gatlinburg, many Gatlinburg tourists have found the service to be a great way to get to Cherokee without having to drive the twisting mountain road. Other benefits of the service are that it eases traffic congestion, and therefore traffic pollution in the national park.
Each trip over the mountain includes a stop at Newfound Gap so that riders may stretch their legs or take some pictures. It is also an opportunity for hikers on the Appalachian Trail to catch a ride to town to re-supply.
Tickets are available from the driver, and the fee is $12 per person roundtrip; $10 per person roundtrip for groups of three or more people; and $10 per person for senior citizens age 60 and over. For those planning to ride one way and stay overnight, the fee is $7. For more information about the service please call 828.497.5296.