We went in 2005, we stayed in sweetwater at the bestwestern. From there we were able to ride The Cherahola Skyway and Deals Gap to and from the Park everyday. Ask for the Oink and Squeel deal, its a discount for motorcyclist, free breakfast buffet eachday,nice pool and hot tub. Get a Poolside room. When we go again to that area, I will do it again! Phone 1-800-647-3529
It really depends on whether or not you want to be close to Hoot HQ. If you're going to participate in a lot of the Hoot sponsored events, then staying close is more convenient.
I would suggest stating off I-40 at Strawberry Plains Pike. You're only about 10 miles away from Chilhowee Park (Hoot HQ).
Go to Google and search for Knoxville TN. In the search results, click on Map of Knoxville, TN. Then at the top, click "Find Businesses."
In the left box, type "motels" and in the right box type "Strawberry Plains Pike, Knoxville, TN" (you don't need to include the quotes).
You should get all kinds of results.
You can do this for about any intersection and find motels, restaurants, etc...
Being from Knoxville and attending my first Hoot last year, one day of visiting the actual "fairgrounds" was plenty. I planned a ride
for members of the board last year and will probably do the same again this year.
As Chef said, if your more interested in being close to the BRP, The Cherohala Skyway, The Dragon, etc...I would look at staying in Maryville, Madisonville or Sweetwater.
Here is a map to help orient you. Hopefully it will help. If you have questions, feel free to PM me. You can get a lot of information on Google.