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  1. #1

    Default Cataloochee campground

    Thinking about staying at the Cataloochee campground in mid July for a single night. Any thoughts on it? How long of a drive is the Cataloochee campground from Gatlinburg ?
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  2. #2
    Registered User Hikes in Rain's Avatar
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    Very nice place to camp. But distance from Gatlinburg? It's a long haul. On the other side of the park, then around to the far northern side.

  3. #3
    Registered User beartripper's Avatar
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    I was there on June 03, 2010. We drove through Cosby TN on ST RT 32 and it took
    @ two hours. This is a winding gravel road that will get you away from the tourists.
    When you get to Mount Sterling Gap the Mount Sterling trail intersects on the right.
    In the near future I have plans on being dropped off here and hiking the MST to the
    Balsam Mountain Trail and then heading over the the AT. Several locals have advised
    me that the Balsam Mountain Trail is one of the better trails in GSMNP.

  4. #4

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    How were the bathrooms? For my wife's sake haha ...

    Basically we'll be heading over from Asheville in the morning, do some hiking/site seeing in GRSM/Cataloochee (would like to see the elk) then camp at night in Cataloochee.

    I was trying to see how big of a haul it is to Gatlinburg since my wife has never been - 2 hours isn't so bad. I could then loop back through 441 to get home. Would be a lot of driving, but might do it...
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by beartripper View Post
    I was there on June 03, 2010. We drove through Cosby TN on ST RT 32 and it took
    @ two hours. This is a winding gravel road that will get you away from the tourists.
    When you get to Mount Sterling Gap the Mount Sterling trail intersects on the right.
    In the near future I have plans on being dropped off here and hiking the MST to the
    Balsam Mountain Trail and then heading over the the AT. Several locals have advised
    me that the Balsam Mountain Trail is one of the better trails in GSMNP.
    \

    Very easy hike after 1st 1000 gain. You'd be hiking Stirling Ridge to Balsam Ridge and then the main Smokey's Ridge all about 5000 ft or above. Downhill from there.
    I'm not really a hiker, I just play one on White Blaze.

  6. #6

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    The elk are worth the trip.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by beartripper View Post
    I was there on June 03, 2010. We drove through Cosby TN on ST RT 32 and it took
    @ two hours. This is a winding gravel road that will get you away from the tourists.
    When you get to Mount Sterling Gap the Mount Sterling trail intersects on the right.
    In the near future I have plans on being dropped off here and hiking the MST to the
    Balsam Mountain Trail and then heading over the the AT. Several locals have advised
    me that the Balsam Mountain Trail is one of the better trails in GSMNP.
    I've done that trip with my daughter. Very nice hike. This last August, my wife and I and two friends had Ron Small drop us at Sterling Gap. We stayed the first night at Mt. Sterling, second at the Laurel Gap shelter. We spent the third night at Walnut Bottom. We had planned to descend on the Baxter Creek trail, but we were concerned about the water level, since it had rained so heavily, so we backtracked and came down Swallow Fork. (Bummer, since it's one of the trails in the Park I haven't hiked.) The water turned out to be only knee-high...

  8. #8
    Registered User beartripper's Avatar
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    Bathrooms were okay. There are no showers.

  9. #9
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    Go Catalooch to Big Creek....Mt. Sterling Rd. (about 30-45 mins.?), jump out at I-40 Exit 451....West on I-40 and then off at Foothills Pkwy. to G-burg.
    451 to Gatlinburg is 45 minutes.
    Do not take 32 from Big Creek to Cosby unless you want a divorce or just want to poke around.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by curtisvowen View Post
    Go Catalooch to Big Creek....Mt. Sterling Rd. (about 30-45 mins.?), jump out at I-40 Exit 451....West on I-40 and then off at Foothills Pkwy. to G-burg.
    451 to Gatlinburg is 45 minutes.
    Do not take 32 from Big Creek to Cosby unless you want a divorce or just want to poke around.
    32's never had that effect yet on me and my wife, but, as you say, you can't be in a hurry...

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    Bring a chainsaw or you may have to backtrack.
    I'm not really a hiker, I just play one on White Blaze.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by curtisvowen View Post
    Go Catalooch to Big Creek....Mt. Sterling Rd. (about 30-45 mins.?), jump out at I-40 Exit 451....West on I-40 and then off at Foothills Pkwy. to G-burg.
    451 to Gatlinburg is 45 minutes.
    Do not take 32 from Big Creek to Cosby unless you want a divorce or just want to poke around.
    Haha that is some good info!
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by billreyn1 View Post
    The elk are worth the trip.
    Can the elk be easily seen in July?

  14. #14
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    The elk come into the valley almost every evening about 2-3 hrs before dark. There will be HUGE crowds of people there on the weekends to see them. Might be hard to get a glimpse, especially if they stay in the large field at the end of the valley. They do frequently come down the valley past the church and schoolhouse and into the large field near the ranger station. Plan to get there early to park. you can then walk around the old buildings, take the 1 mile hike out to Woody Place, or just chill in the meadow.

    It is a long winding road into the valley from I-40. Usually takes between 45 min and an hour to drive it, especially on weekends with folks headed in to see the elk. If you are pulling a camper-trailer, it might be a bit slower going. And if you have a camper-trailer, I would definitely advise against taking FS32 across. It looks like a quicker route, but it is about 3 times as long as the route you will take into the valley, all gravel, and crooked as a snake.

    Have fun. I will be in the valley hiking around during the last week of July. Maybe we will see you there.
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    SMHC Trail Maintainer
    Volunteer in the Park (VIP) GSMNP

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