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Preparing for a July camping trip to GSMNP

Sugar Land, Texas
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Preparing for a July camping trip to GSMNP

I see that there are a lot of threads close to the questions I am about to ask, however they don't answer my questions specifically.

We are beginning with three nights over at Cataloochee and then spending three nights over at Elkmont. We will be tent camping and cooking most meals at the sites but open to eating out if it's amazing food.

So here are some questions to start planning:

1. What are must see things and to-do's around those two areas.

2. Are there bath houses and laundry mats available in towns?

3. What are the best rafting companies near these two areas?

4. Anything not posted in the general forum that we should be prepared for in July?

Savannah, Ga
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for Cherokee, Tybee Island
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1. Re: Preparing for a July camping trip to GSMNP

I have not tent camped in the park but have at some of the commericial campgrounds in the area. I know that most of the parks campgrounds don't have hot water. I would check with NOC rafting or Whitewater for rafting in the area. I recall NOC having showers at some locations.

Laundry mats should not be that hard to find. There should be some in Maggie Valley. In the Maggie Valley area you may want to go to the Wheels Through Time Musuem. They have hundreds of old American made motorcycles.

Another opition for bath houses with hot water is some of your larger truck stops on the interstate highways. I have used them for a small fee in the past when we use to race.

Good luck

West Chester, Ohio
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2. Re: Preparing for a July camping trip to GSMNP

NOC is the way to go for rafting. Just camped in Elkmont last August. It's beautiful but it rains a good bit in the summer. Make sure to take tubes, as you can tube in the creek in the campground . Hit one of the private restaurants as opposed to the chains in gatlinburg . Hot showers are available at NOC.

Warner, New...
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3. Re: Preparing for a July camping trip to GSMNP

I have a few suggestions:

1. It is going to be hot and HUMID in July in the Smokies. Camping out it will take a number of hours to cool down in the evening and it will still be a sticky night. You may want to mix in a night in the air conditioning with a cabin rental or hotel.

2. I recommend specifically choosing a campground with a bath house. You won't find independent bath houses in the community. Laundry mats are more common.

And a couple of suggestions for activities:

1. There are some amazing biking trails at Tsali Recreational Area. Tsali is considered one of the premier biking destinations for the East coast.

2. Plan on fishing if you are in to it. The fly fishing on the Davidson and the Nantahala is some of the best in the state. The Smokies are beautiful for fishing in July. I suggest early mornings and late afternoons and a decent bug repellent. Bait fishing is very limited if not impossible to find in the Smokies. Single hook artificial lures are best if you want to use a spincast rig.

3. Tubing is a favored pastime up in the Smokies. Look for tubing facilitators throughout the area or just bring your own. I like to sink a six pack and float down on a lazy afternoon. It's a good way to escape the heat as well.


Edited: 10:11 am, May 10, 2013
East Tennessee
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4. Re: Preparing for a July camping trip to GSMNP

First as to Cataloochee, it is a nice very wooded small campground (reservations required now). There is a very nice stream running thru the valley and the campground. (Bathhouse but if there are showers it is with cold water only). This is a nice remote section of the park that almost everyone travels the road in from the NC side. There is a campground host that can answer most of your questions. They are usually in the first camping slot on the right as you enter the campground.

Bring your supplies as you will want to not travel in and out to often.

The Elk are a strong herd now and no doubt that you will see them during your time there. Get out early and late for the best viewing. There is a Ranger station there should you need help.

The Cataloochee is great for different hikes, playing in the cool stream and checking out the historical buildings left from the 30's.

Maggie Valley and Waynesville will offer showers, shopping and dining. Most commercial campgrounds permit you to shower for a small fee. Try the Frog Leap Public House in Waynesville for dining with good and local items in the meals. Stop at the various farmers markets or stalls or out of the back of the truck sales for fresh items. Fishing is good and as long as you are in the Park, a fishing license from TN or NC is valid. If trout fishing,then you will need a trout stamp as well. Trout ponds are around so just ask if interested.

Prior advice is good to use NOC and you should consider the Nantahala River for your rafting or funyaking. Level 1 to 3 rapids and cool water with a really nice river.

Tubing could be done at the stream in the Cataloochee but you will have to take your own in. Recommend that you go to Deep Creek outside of Bryson City for tubing or into Cherokee or Dillsboro.

Favorite family dining spot is the Jarrett House in Dillsboro should you be traveling that way during an outing. Too far to go just to dine from the campground.

Talk to the Ranger or campground host about taking the back roads out into Tennessee and Cosby or at least part way to the good swimming hole at Big Creek.

Hope that this helps your NC side stay of the GSMNP.

West Chester, Ohio
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5. Re: Preparing for a July camping trip to GSMNP

I really doubt hot weather is going to be a worry. It rains a ton in July and we never had a problem. Bring rain ponchos - you will need them!!

Chapel Hill, North...
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6. Re: Preparing for a July camping trip to GSMNP

Considering the OP is from TX I'm pretty sure they can handle the heat in the Smokies.

7. Re: Preparing for a July camping trip to GSMNP

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