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cataloochee with grandmother?

Mississippi
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33 posts
9 reviews
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cataloochee with grandmother?

I need advice from someone experienced with Cataloochee. We are bringing my 86 year old grandmother to see the leaves and we have never been to Cataloochee. Since she will not be able to get out of the car, is it worth the difficult drive? i would hate to fight to the end of the road, turn immediately and drive right back out. lol i thought of bringing her a chair so she could get out and sit in the field? any advice is appreciated.

North Carolina
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1,075 posts
76 reviews
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1. Re: cataloochee with grandmother?

When we visited Cataloochee twice this summer, there were elderly people sitting with their families in picnic areas and on the porches and grounds at some of the buildings. If that is what you have in mind for your grandmother, only you can know if she is mobile enough to get to the picnic sites and if the she would enjoy sitting outside in the fall. Cataloochee is very serene and uncrowded, and we've seen elk, bears and other wildlife there. Again, only you know if that would please your grandmother. If so, then it might be worth the drive.

If you are mostly interested in seeing beautiful leaves, I'm sure you would see them in plenty of places that might not be as far to drive as Cataloochee. It's about an hour's drive from the Maggie Valley/Waynesville area, longer from Cherokee.

Another consideration is restroom facilities - always part of travel with grandmothers. To my knowledge, the facilities at Cataloochee are the pit-toilet type (not minute port-a-johns or the facilities like you find at the visitors centers). The locations should be marked on park maps. At one of the 'rest room' locations in Cataloochee, we had a very close encounter with a mother elk and her young calf - they nearly walked up to us. It was awesome! We've travelled with 85-90 year old people many times - lots to consider. We've always tried to treat them to an experience they might not have on their own. Sometimes it backfires, but it is usually worth the risk. Hope this helps.

Asheville, North...
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2. Re: cataloochee with grandmother?

The campground has flush toilets if you are going while the campground is open. You can pull in and park right next to the building. (Closes Oct. 31 this year.) You can see a couple of barns, a couple of houses, Palmer Chapel, and the old school house from the road through the valley. A lot of people bring chairs to sit and watch the open fields in hopes of seeing wildlife. In my experience (and I've only been there a few times) the best time to see the elk is early morning and late afternoon. But I've never been there in the fall when the weather is cooler.

Just about every drive around here is gorgeous in the fall, so you really can't make a bad choice. :)

Lumberton, North...
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105 posts
40 reviews
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3. Re: cataloochee with grandmother?

Cataloochee is a wonderful place for the elk and other wildlife, but it could be a difficult drive for an elderly grandmother. I take it she must be in pretty good shape for you to travel from Mississippi to enjoy the leaves of our mountains. So Cataloochee may not be to tiresome for her. You may want to try seeing the elk at the Great Smoky Mountian NP visitor center just outside of Cherokee. The elk are showing up there more and more each year, or you could try the open field behind the High School there. Ask one of the park rangers if and when the elk have been at the visitor center first, this could be an option instead of Cataloochee. Either way the elk are magnificent and the scenery of in the NC mountains is unmatched.

4. Re: cataloochee with grandmother?

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