This is a big deal for those coming to the Sevier county area from the south. I-40 in the Haywood County area of North Carolina has literally been shut down by the rock slide. Dave over at www.smokymountaintower.com is blogging about the latest. Here is his blog page… http://www.smokiesrentdirect.blogspot.com/ . It looks like this will close the road for possibly 3 months. I suppose the GOOD news (if there is any) is that this is happening after most of October, one of the biggest months for the Smokies. Also, the next 3 months are probably 3 of the lightest months for visits to the Smokies each year anyways. I would recommend going through Cherokee and through the park to get to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge. Keep in mind though, the road can, and will, close if there is a good bit of snow on the road. While that’s not a problem right now, it definately could be in the near future as it continues to get colder in the mountains. My wife and I actually drive south through Cherokee/Maggie Valley or Cherokee/Dillsboro south when we go home from the Smokies. It will take a little longer than being on I-40 around the park. I’d imagine it will take even MORE time now that a larger number of people will be taking that route as a detour of I-40 now. The bottom line is, just don’t worry about the TIME, and enjoy the view. Once you get off the interstate, it is beautiful country mountain views pretty much the entire drive until you get to Gatlinburg. I would recommend driving up there during daylight hours if you can though, because the roads will not be as wide as taking the interstate. If you aren’t used to mountain driving at night, it might be easier during the day.