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“Enjoyed our stay in this peaceful campground”

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Cataloochee Campground
Reviewed June 28, 2012

We camped at the campground in Cataloochee and enjoyed hiking, fishing and seeing the elk. There are trails for all different skill levels. These are mountain trails so expect a lot of ups and downs. Dogs (even on leash) are not allowed on many of the trails because the Park folks are trying to reestablish trees and shrubbery to some of the areas. Check before you head out with your pooch to make sure the trail you are planning allows him to come along.
The elk are majestic and seeing them up close like this is a real treat. One cow-elk came right to the campground. She just walked right through, posing for pictures along the way.
The staff are so very helpful and friendly. (Who wouldn't be, living there?! :)

There are no showers, as with many National Parks. There are clean, nice bathhouses, though. You can camp alongside a rush creek on one side of the campground or by a gentle stream on the other side of the campground. We chose the stream side since we had little children with us. Great loop for bikes. So relaxing to be by the stream and snuggle up with a good book. Bring a blanket, even in summer, as the temps in the mountains tend to drop at night.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank momoflala9901
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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35 - 39 of 39 reviews

Reviewed April 19, 2012

The Cataloochee Campground is one of the less well-known camping sites, but it is the best in the park in my opinion. To get to it, there is a winding road that will take you about half an hour to traverse from the interstate. It is NOT for the faint of heart as it is full of blind switchbacks. It is much easier to do in the daytime than at night. It is also very difficult to bring an RV on it. I would definitely only recommend it for people bringing cars.

Also, you need to make an online reservation, because the campsite fills up quickly! There are only about 20 spots. The people are generally older folks, and are extremely friendly. I've been given firewood when I need it, and the rangers have let me charge my cell phone when it died.

The spots are beautiful, especially if you can get one near the creek.

There are also wonderful historical sites to visit, including a chapel, a one-room schoolhouse, and a former private residence. It provides opportunities to learn about the culture and history of the area.

I particularly love seeing the elk. Elk were re-introduced to the Smoky Mountains in 2001, and there have been strong efforts to maintain a population. If you get up around dawn or dusk, you are likely to see elk not in the campground, but in a meadow/field that is 1-2 miles away. The campground ranger can easily direct you to it. The elk are absolutely magnificent. Seeing the elk are an absolute must for any wildlife lover. Because they elk are so protected, they have in many ways lost their fear of people, and so there is nearly a 100% chance you will see them if you go at the right time (unlike deer, which are easily spooked). The rangers are friendly and will provide you with a lot of information about the elk if you are interested in learning about diet, habitat, mating, etc. of the elk.

Room Tip: Pick a campground in the back of the site away from the road, and near the creek.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank NatalieA86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2011

I camped here over the labor day weekend. The campgroud is very spacious. Its right next to the river and if you move 3-4 miles from the campgroud you can see elks and wild turkeys. Bears visit this campground rarely but the rangers told us that they spot a bear the same day we arrived.

There are two ways to get here one is from I40 and other one is not paved road. If you have a jeep or a truck I would suggest the latter as its more scenic. If you have a sedan the road might be a problem.

All in all it was a very good experience.

Stayed: September 2011, traveled with friends
6  Thank Ankit_Mangal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2011

I have been backpacking in the area, but never stayed at the campground. The campground was great. The campsites were large and had large tent pads, which we were able to fit medium sized tents and two small tents. The tree cover was very good, which would help during during the summer months. Some the sites are actually on the water, which you can hear and helps drown out any noise or if you have trouble sleeping. My only complaint was the poison ivy in each of the campsites. A fairly large concern for children running around. We also had several Elk that came into the campground.

Stayed: May 2011, traveled with family
10  Thank tornado23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2009

My family recently returned from a week of camping at Cataloochee Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains. The drive up to the campground takes you up the mountain on a narrow, gravel, winding road - but when you leave the asphalt, you leave your cares behind you.

The campground is small, about 24 sites, and even when it was full on the weekend, it was peaceful. By the first of the week, the campground was virtually deserted. The campground is within walking distance of the best spots to view the amazing elk that were reintroducted to the park; in fact, early one morning I was one of these beautiful creatures right outside the bath house.

Be sure to take everything that you need for your stay - there are no convenient stores, etc. If you need ice, you're going to drive about 45 minutes to get it. Also, if you check the weather before going, be sure to deduct about 10 degrees for the highs/lows due to the elevation. We sent some chilly nights up there!

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled with family
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14  Thank CSmithATLGA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Cataloochee Campground

Address: Cataloochee Entrance Rd, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC 28785
Location: United States > North Carolina > Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Also Known As:
Cataloochee Campground Hotel Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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