I had four days off from work and took a long-planned trip to the Cataloochee area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. None of the campgrounds in the GSMNP have hookups. Neither do they have hot water or showers in the restrooms. Cold water and flush toilets are the best you can expect. And even water sources are widely spaced throughout the campgrounds.
What you do get, especially in this campground, is quiet and a beautiful setting. The campground is located deep in the Cataloochee Valley and is set among pines and hemlock trees beside a fast-flowing river. There's a smaller stream on the other side of the campground, so it's hard not to be close to flowing water.
Because the park service posts that this campground is not recommended for rvs, you mainly get tent campers here. There is a seven-mile drive over a single-track gravel road before you hit a three-mile paved section inside the park leading down to the campground. The spurs are gravel and most of the sites in Cataloochee are okay for fiberglass rvs. I got site #3, right by the river.
One thing to note: All of the hemlock trees on the east coast will soon be extinct from the ravages of an introduced Asian pest (the hemlock wooly adelgid). So if you want to see the virgin groves of hemlocks in the Great Smokies (or anywhere in the South for that matter) then you'd best go now. They're very sick and will likely all
be dead within four years or so.
The big attraction of Cataloochee are the groves of virgin forests, and the fact that this part of the park was chosen for the reintroduction of elk to this part of the nation. The elk herd was out in force while I was there and I saw about fifty the day I arrived.
It was very quiet and there were no more than five sites taken the whole time I was there, including one by a couple who were taking their 17-foot Casita
Spirit Deluxe out on its maiden (for them) voyage! We were very surprised to see one another! I forgot to write down their names, but it was a couple from Waynesville NC and they'll be at the SE gathering. I was supposed to go over and talk to them again, but I was too tired from hiking all day and fell asleep too early.