When visiting the smoky mountains you might be tempted to try something a little bit more off the beaten path. Sometimes the path being rocky and windy makes the campsite all the more worth it. As is the case with the Cataloochee campground.
I took a trip to this campground in hopes of finding something spectacular I had heard that the elk in this area around freely and that on a crisp
day you could hear the water which runs along side the camp even at the furthest campsite. As I drove down the winding road I noticed that the twist interns grew narrow the bumps grew frequent and then encountering a motorist was a hairy experience. I had been told that large RVs we're not permitted however I saw one precariously going down the mountain side.
The roads suddenly turned from dirt and gravel to a paved section of highway and I was slightly confused.
Just a short distance after this occurred I found the Cataloochee campground jetting off to the left-hand side of the road. It welcomed me with open arms and tall trees casting gorgeous shade that seem to be dancing in the sunlight. I pulled in to speak to the Ranger on duty and then quickly found my campsite. It was something unlike any other campground I had found in the area completely removed from the comforts of community and distanced intentionally from the creature comforts.
This campground is one for making memories and enjoying truly the outdoors. Hiking trails depart from this campground and lead to some of the most historic areas of the great Smoky Mountain National Park including several structures which ones were the homes of some of the first residents of the Smoky Mountains.
Each site was large enough to spread out in with a small camper or a tent. Tent pads are large and size allowing for even the largest of tents. Each pull in was large enough for a large vehicle, though I could see an RV being an issue. Campsites came standard with lantern hooks and picnic tables in addition to a fire ring.
Centralized restrooms and trash receptacles were available in addition to a spigot. These restrooms are very basic however do have a wash sink area in a common area as well to avoid restroom clean up for dishes.
Since this area is widely regarded for bear sightings in addition to other wild animals, you can find bear safety at the kiosk and locking trash bins. I would advise brushing up on your bear safety before a trip to the Smoky Mountains for a camping trip in general.
Sure enough after settling in this campground was a peaceful and idyllic setting. At $25 per night the waterfront sites more than justify the price point. However, I will say reservations are required for this campground as it is more remote and also more limited on availability.
This campground is frequently effected by weather so planning in advance is a must!!