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Need tips for Smoky Mountains NP

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jimmer

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Need tips for Smoky Mountains NP
« on: January 06, 2017, 07:53:21 pm »
We have a new-to-us PC2700,  and being new to the RV life,  not towing a toad,  were wondering if anyone  would  advise on  areas or  scenic roads to  avoid
due to  length or height ?    Specifically  the twisty road from Gatlinburg to  Cade's Cove,    and Cade's cove itself.      Any other advice about the area would be welcome !
Favorite campground ?
Lovin' the forum and the tons of information it contains.   Haven't seen anything  re. the beautiful Smokies,  however.

Thanks,  Jim

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Polish Prince

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Re: Need tips for Smoky Mountains NP
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2017, 08:52:53 pm »
We camped in Smokemont, closer to the park border with Cherokee.  The campground is right near the river, nice sites, close to the bathrooms with flush toilets.  The horse stables are close by if you want to take a trail ride and the stable sells the firewood for the campground.  As unusual with National Campgrounds, no hookups, but has a dump station.  Nice shaded sites.  We camped for 4 night in October and loved it.
George & Jill Budzynski, Birchbark Farm

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jimmer

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Re: Need tips for Smoky Mountains NP
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2017, 09:11:52 pm »
Thanks for the information  George,  we'll  check it out  !
jim

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Tall Guy

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Re: Need tips for Smoky Mountains NP
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2017, 01:09:22 pm »
The Smokies are a beautiful place to be sure!  I enjoy the south side of the park simply because it's not as busy.  I've never had an issue getting a site at Smokemont and it is a nice campground.  The road between Gatlinburg and Cades Cove, while twisty, isn't a bad drive.  I've seen the monster class A's run it without too much trouble.  Elkmont and Cades Cove campgrounds will have rigs of all sizes in them, if staying in these two I would recommend reservations.  The Cades Cove loop road is open to bicycling and hiking on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from May - September.  That's a pretty good option if you have your bikes with you.  Cosby is my favorite campground on the north side but be warned, there are very few level sites (I can have trouble with my pick-up).  I wouldn't recommend driving any of the gravel roads as they are quite narrow and very twisty.  I would also stay away from Cataloochee, the road in there is a real adventure for me and my pick-up let alone trying to get a motor home in there.  I've seen them along with sizable house trailers in the Cataloochee campground but I'm convinced the drivers have nerves of steel or they're somewhat insane.  There is a visitor center just inside the park both by Gatlinburg and Cherokee, the rangers there can help you out with all sorts of things.  Both centers are worth stopping in just for history and nature exhibits even if you don't need to talk to the rangers.  Here is a great website for all your preplanning needs.  https://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm

Hope you have a great trip!!

Gary: aka Tall Guy

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jimmer

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Re: Need tips for Smoky Mountains NP
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2017, 06:57:18 pm »
Excellent information,  Gary, thanks.     Still wondering if anyone's  driven the  Cade's Cove loop in their  PC ?      I'm unable to bike,  due to a spinal injury from an auto accident 21 years ago.

jim

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BuffaloRose

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Re: Need tips for Smoky Mountains NP
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2017, 12:04:17 am »
We were there this past October.  Had reservations for Cade's Cove campground.  We did tow since we weren't comfortable with driving even our 2350 on those roads.  While I think you could drive Cade's Cove itself, it can be VERY crowded and parking can be challenging.  There were a couple of places where people had pulled off and parked on both sides of the road that felt a bit challenging to get through in our Ford Escape. The same is true of downtown Gatlinburg, or was before the enormous wildfire that killed 14 people and burned over 1400 structures in November.  I am sure they are desperate for the tourists to come back.  Thousands of acres of forest burned but Cade's Cove was safe. By the way, do not travel the "tail of the dragon" hwy us129 between Cade's Cove and Fontana dam.  One of the most dangerous roads in the US with 318 sharp curves in 11 miles.  It is beautiful almost anywhere you chose to go.
BuffaloRose

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Janey

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Re: Need tips for Smoky Mountains NP
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2017, 02:01:39 am »
Funny you should mention "the tail of the dragon" highway. Several years ago I did it in our 2005 Winnebago Rialta.  A bit of a surprise for me.   Kept meeting motorcycles nearly head on on those gazillions of curves.  Pulled over many times to let the bikes and sports cars pass me. Not one on my favorite highway choices!  It was an exhilarating experience and I loved it.  One of my most exciting mistakes in my life!

I stay in Elkmont because it's a beautiful campground on a gorgeous river. It's close to Gatlinberg and there is a shuttle to get you there for a visit.  Lots of interesting trails and a ghost town right close by the campground.

Janey (basking in the sun on St George Island) (turtle release today)
Suzanna Jane (aka Janey) and Sid Shazly

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jimmer

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Re: Need tips for Smoky Mountains NP
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2017, 02:30:59 pm »
Wonderful advice,  and story,  Janey and BuffaloRose !         So glad for the help.
jim

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jimmer

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Re: Need tips for Smoky Mountains NP
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2017, 09:54:34 pm »
Just wanted to get back to the forum with our non-towing experience in the Smoky's.    NO problem at all getting around Cade's cove,  but not very busy, and chose our pull-off's
carefully.     Also did the foothills Parkway nearby as well as the Blue Ridge parkway in North Carolina and Virginia.    Wonderful trip,  much recommended.