The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But straight lines don’t make for exciting road trip adventures. The “straight line” from Knoxville to Chattanooga is a two-hour drive along I-75. But the “adventure line” is a 218-mile wavy route through the Eastern Tennessee mountains that will take you through big cities, small towns, gorgeous national scenic byways, and lots of adventure. If you’re still undecided about straight line vs adventure line just keep reading.
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Road Trip Options
This is a road trip that can be enjoyed in as little as a weekend or for as long as a week. It all depends on how much you want to see and do along the way. Here are some options for making this road trip as short or long as you like.
Two-Day Road Trip: Start early in Knoxville and spend the first day driving as far as Tellico Plains. There are several options for lodging that includes a lodge, inn, bed and breakfasts, and cabins. On the second day drive to Chattanooga to spend the night.
Three-Day Road Trip: Similar to the two-day road trip option start early in Knoxville but spend the first night in Sweetwater. Take the second day to drive through Tellico Plains and spend the second night in Cleveland. Finally, the spend the last night in Chattanooga.
Four-Day Road Trip: Enjoy a little more time in Knoxville before heading out for a short first-day drive to Townsend to spend the first night. On the second day drive as far as Tellico Plains. Spend the third day exploring options to Cleveland, and finally spend the fourth night in Chattanooga.
Five-Day Road Trip: This would be just about as long as you could enjoy this particular road trip. Get an early start in Knoxville and spend the first night in Townsend, second night in Lenoir City, third night in Tellico Plains, fourth night in Cleveland, and final night in Chattanooga.
Of course you could always slow down, enjoy more than one night at a single destination, and thoroughly enjoy the East Tennessee mountains. I once spent 9 days driving just this route. If you want to spend some extra time somewhere I would recommend Townsend and Cleveland for more country enjoyment and outdoor recreation and then Knoxville and Chattanooga for more museums, nightly entertainment, and greater options for local food.