Cataloochee Valley DescriptionThe Cataloochee Valley is one of the most picturesque areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is know for abundant wildlife, especially elk, beautiful mountain scenery, and historic buildings. This isolated valley is surrounded by some of the most rugged mountains in the southeastern United States. The area was once a thriving farming community. Some of the historic structures, such as cabins, a school, churches, and a barn, have been preserved. Five of the historic buildings are located along the road. Four others are reachable by a short walk on the Little Cataloochee trail. A self-guiding tour booklet is available near the entrance with information about the area, including the historic structures.
Cataloochee is similar in many ways to cades cove, but not nearly as crowded because of its location on the eastern side of the park, away from the busiest traffic routes. See map below for directions. It is not the easiest place to get to, requiring driving on winding gravel mountain roads, hence the lower crowds. Because it is so isolated, there are no stores or gas stations close by, so pack a lunch and have a full tank of gas.
Wildlife at CataloocheeCatalochee is among the best places in the Smokies to view wildlife. The area is best known for elk, which were reintroduced in the Cataloochee Valley in 2001 and 2002. More information about the elk can be found on the National Park web site. Deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and red wolves are also commonly seen here. Early morning and evening are the best times to see wildlife.
Best times to visit
Camping at CataloocheeThe Cataloochee Campground is located along the beautiful Cataloochee River. It has restrooms with running water and flush toilets, but no hot water, showers, or RV hookups. There are 27 campsites available which can be reserved at recreation.gov. It is open from mid-march through October. Each campsite has a picnic table, a fire grate, and a clear area for a tent. RVs up to 31 feet are welcome. Group camping is also available.
Cataloochee has a horse camp and several trails that allow horses. Horse camp sites my be reserved in advance by calling (877) 444-6777 or on the web at recreation.gov.
Hiking at CataloocheeThere are several nice, well-maintained hikings trail at Cataloochee. Some of the more popular are:
Fishing at CataloocheeThere are many very nice and remote streams in the area that are great for fishing. A fishing license is required. Fishing regulations can be obtained at a park vistor center.
WeatherCataloochee is located near Maggie Valley, NC. Click below for a weather forcast for Maggie Valley.
An alternate route, which is more scenic but not recommended for RVs, trailers, or people people who get car sick, is to take route 32 from Cosby, TN into Cataloochee. It is a long, winding, scenic, partially gravel road into Cataloochee.
Directions from Gatlinburg, TN
Directions from Knoxville, TN
Directions from Asheville, NC
Directions from Cherokee, NC
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