Elkmont Campground, Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-23-2007, 09:33 PM   #1
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My family and I stayed at Elkmont Campground last week inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In years past, this was a year-round campground, but now it's open under limited conditions in November, with about half the campground off-limits and no reservations. We were hoping to nab one of the campsites along the Little River, and this we were able to do by driving in on Thursday, November 14. We got campsite C-3, which is quite picturesque. There are no hookups of any kind in most national park campgrounds, and Elkmont is no exception. We filled our water tank from the nearby bathroom area (where there is a water tap and even a dishwashing room with cold-water sink). The bathrooms do have flush toilets, but no shower facilities. If you need power, bring a generator (we did).

When we arrived, it was snowing lightly, so we decided to take the truck up to Newfound Gap to see if it was snowing harder up there at 5,000 feet. It was and we had a great time playin in the snow and taking photos. However, on the way down, the Park Service closed 441 to make everyone heading up turn around. So we were stuck just below Newfound Gap for two and a half hours while they turned back all of the Cherokee-bound traffic. This actually was not a bother, as it gave us even more time to play in the snow and take lots of photos. Being from the South, we barely seem to have any winter these days, so it's rare for us to see snow.

We spent four days inside the park. I got in a lot of hiking, and I broke down and took my wife to Pigeon Forge for a day of shopping. I totally loathe Pigeon Forge and can barely tolerate Gatlinburg, so this was a bit of torture for me. Just give me my space inside the park and let me hike.

The snow was a short-lived storm and only socked in the high ridges above 5,000 feet to any depth. Everywhere else it was just a dusting, which was mainly gone by Saturday morning. When we left on Sunday, it was actually quite warm. During the trip we did a lot of bike riding around Elkmont, visited the ruins of the old Elkmont Village (which should be torn down so that the forest can recover), and I hiked to the summit of Dripping Spring Mountain.

We saw very little wildlife--only one deer, one turkey, one squirrel, one chipmunk, and some ravens.

All in all, I highly recommend Elkmont Campground for fiberglass RV users.
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<div align="center">Our campsite at Elkmont</div>
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Old 11-23-2007, 09:40 PM   #2
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This is all that remains of the old Wonderland Hotel in Elkmont. Shortly before the Park Service decided not to renew the lease/concesson for the old place, my wife and I went to stay there (1992) before it was nothing but a memory. We had a very nice stay and while I applaud the removal of most of the old Elkmont Village structures, I wish that the old Wonderland was still in business. It was the only National Park lodge-style accomodation in the East and we should have kept it. Alas.

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<div align="center">My wife and son wander around the old location of the Wonderland, as we try to figure out where our room was located.</div>
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Old 11-23-2007, 09:48 PM   #3
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Click on the links for videos.

A drive through the abandoned Elkmont vacation homes.

Enjoying the winter storm just below Newfound Gap.

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<div align="center">Me and my family at Laurel Falls, just a few minutes from Elkmont.</div>
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