NC Smokemont In Great Smokies Np

Discussion in 'Southeast' started by Warren Mary Ellen, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. Warren  Mary Ellen

    Warren Mary Ellen Junior Ranger

    If you don't like rain, you probably won't like this place. Smokemont is near Cherokee, NC about 8 miles or so from town. This is one of the large campgrounds in the park and does take reservations. We camped on the non-generator loop so we were mostly around tent campers. There are a few pull throughs but mostly back ins in the A & B loops. If you go to the other loops they will be pull throughs but you will be around large campers with folks who use tarps to make huge shelters for the big number of families back there.

    We camped here a lot in our tent days and like the area. The campground was at one time a logging community and is mildly sloping piece of land between two mountains. It narrows as you go to the rear of the Campground. On one side is the Bradley Fork River which you can hear from site. The long loop to the back means you will see a lot of kids and adults on Bikes riding the loop. Runners too.

    The sites are paved so we used the pvc frame with the side tent. You will have a picnic table, fire ring and lantern post. Bathrooms with flush toilets and a dish washing sink for emptying your gray water. There are no showers here and none of the sites of electricty. A lot of hiking trails you can access from the campground, both difficult and easy. The Bradley Fork River is pretty tame with plenty of spots to hang out in. You are close to Cherokee, NC and the Qualla Boundary Reservation where you can learn about the Cherokee or go visit their casino to contribute to the local economy.

    It is good place to camp, my family has used this campground almost from the time it started. My Great-Grandmother, 2 of my Aunts and several others had their tent attacked by a bear here in the '40s or '50s. We like the historic sites within the park, the old houses, grist mills, old churches and even some of the abandoned sites like an old CCC campsite and WPA fish hatchery.

    We like the NC side of park better for a lot reasons. It is a shorter drive for us to get to. The Tennessee side is beautiful inside the park but you have to go through the very touristy Gatlinburg area to get to it. It is cooler on the NC side since it is higher elevation, but it does rain more on the NC side. No electricity so we could not use the AC but we did not need it.
    Tom & Diana P likes this.
  2. Tom & Diana P

    Tom & Diana P Novice

    Thanks for this post! We camped here once, in the 90s, in a tent. Loved it. Your description has me remembering why it's on my "worth a revisit" list. What time of year helps to avoid the crowds and yet still have decent weather for being outdoors? (I.e., temperature, since you point out the propensity for rain.)

  3. Warren  Mary Ellen

    Warren Mary Ellen Junior Ranger

    The summer is when you are going to have the rain showers and/or thunderstorms be more prevalent. The fall is when you are probably least likely to have the rains like now. Weekends are busy in the Smokies so if you can do a weekday I would do it. That is especially if you are here in October when the leaves are turning. Most of the crowd is going up and over Newfound Gap Road which connects Gatlinburg to Cherokee. There is no fee to enter the park so people who stay on the NC side go over to Gatlinburg/Dollywood/Pigeon Forge for the day or go over to Cade's Cove(avoid on weekend evenings especially unless you like bumper bumper traffic).

    If you go to other areas of the park, you usually have the place to yourself. Cataloochee Campground is similar to Cade's Cove but you have to go up and over on a winding road that is gravel for 3 miles of it. And you are no where near the rest of the places in the park accessible by care. At least an hour away if not more depending on what you are interesed in. It is gorgeous though and you will see Elk. It is where they reintroduced 20 of them 15 years ago. Campground takes reservations and it is worth going to.

    We have always camped at Balsam Mountain. I have reviewed it previously on the Forum. It is remote and at 5000 ft. elevation it is comfortable in the summer. Rarely above 80 but you do get showers there for sure. Sometimes 2-3 times a day but they are short events. Wildflowers all over the place too.

    Never camped there but Cosby on the TN side is almost always the last to fill and is close to I-40. Never camped at Deep Creek near Bryson City but that area is really pretty and you are near Fontana Lake.

    I think temperature wise you would be good up into the end of October and beginning again in April. Mornings and evenings would obviously be colder so you would to consider what you are willing to endure. And during Hurricane Season you would need to watch the path of the storms, they would hurricanes when they get to the mountains but you will get a ton of water on you. We got out of there one time barely as the front of one reached our campground one time.

    Like I said, avoid the weekends and if you are willing to get out early you missed a lot of the crowds then too.
    Evan and Van_and_Terri like this.
  4. Tom & Diana P

    Tom & Diana P Novice

    Thank you SO much for this thorough run down! I'm getting out my maps and making plans!
    Warren Mary Ellen likes this.
  5. We went in October and we really enjoyed it.
    Warren Mary Ellen likes this.
  6. pbaker2225

    pbaker2225 Junior Ranger Donating Member

    This sounds wonderful. Maybe next year.
    Warren Mary Ellen likes this.

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