Great Smoky Mountains suggestions?

Discussion in 'Campground / Trip Planning & Suggestions ?' started by SLOTerp, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. SLOTerp

    SLOTerp Member

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    May 25, 2015
    Ashburn, VA
    I'm planning our next summer's big trip which includes Great Smoky Mountains N.P. (Acadia/Montreal this past summer & Badlands/Rushmore the previous). I went to RV Park Reviews but there are like a kajillion campgrounds in that area. Help!

    We need at least electric for AC and water preferred. We try to avoid the KOA's and such unless they are competitive on pricing (The South Montreal KOA was actually such a case).

    Any suggestions are appreciated. We'll be traveling next July.
     
  2. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    Mar 23, 2016
    King George, Virginia
    Just keep in mind that NONE of the camping sites inside the Natl Park have hookups... Water is available at the several bath room bldgs and thats it...

    You will have to find camp grounds around Gatlingburg, Pigeon Forge, or Townsend areas if you want hookups...

    Roy Ken
     
  3. SLOTerp

    SLOTerp Member

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    May 25, 2015
    Ashburn, VA
    Outside the park is fine with us. I know most N.P. campgrounds don't have hookups so didn't have my hopes high on that.
     
  4. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    Mar 23, 2016
    King George, Virginia
    We are pretty much all setup for OFF-GRID Camping and love the ELKMONT SITE inside the Natl Park... We like to stay in Townsend if we want to have Electric sites. It isn't as crowded as Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge camp sites are.

    It isn't all that far from any of the camp grounds in the area to gain access to the Natl Park,

    We always like to get on the CADES COVE trail drive just before dusk to watch all of the animals coming out. If you see a bunch of cars parked on the side of the Natl Park roads it is most likely a BEAR sighting...

    Lots of water falls and hiking trails to see and do...

    It seems nobody goes to sleep in the Gatlingburg area haha... People are still walking around at 2AM in the mornings haha...

    also note the Synchronous Fireflies EVENT in the Great Smoky Mountains is usually in JUNE and everything fills up during this time all over the local area. I think this is the only place in the USA where this happens...

    It is truly a sight to see of all of the fire flies blinking at the same time...

    [​IMG]
    Google image

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
  5. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    Jul 18, 2013
    Thornville, OH
    We also like elkmount. We stayed in the no generator loop. Since there is no hook-up. You end up with many people with generators in the generator allowed sections. I think they can run them from 8a to 8p . When we walk through the sections that allow generators you hear nothen but generators. We stayed during mid October when snow was falling at night. Never been there in the summer when people are running AC with their generators.
     
  6. SLOTerp

    SLOTerp Member

    157
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    May 25, 2015
    Ashburn, VA
    I would love to see those fireflies - beautiful! Unfortunately, the timing won't allow it.

    Thanks for the tips. I haven't been to Gatlinburg in about 30 years (living in Huntsville, AL at the time) but I do recall going there to ski & party, not necessarily in that order. [CB]
     
  7. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Active Member

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    Jul 30, 2014
    Kentucky
    I was a little nervous on our trip to Elkmont last month since I was in a generator loop (riverside site was too good to pass up) but it was a non issue. There were a couple mornings where I could barely hear a generator, but the river did a great job of covering up most noise. I think the recent influx of cheap inverter generators has to have really helped with this. But, since the OP wants hookups, that’s all tangential anyway.

    It should be pointed out though that A/C most likely isn’t needed much if you stay at Elkmont. We were there in mid August and never felt hot. The tree canopy is so dense no sun gets in and the cool mountain river acts as a natural air conditioner.

    I haven’t stayed in any of the private campgrounds yet, but in other groups there are a few that always get mentioned. Clabough’s in Pigeon Forge is always recommended and it has reasonable prices ($40 in the summer). The KOAs in the area are pretty expensive, though I’ve heard nothing but great things about the Townsend KOA. Just keep in mind that most of the private campgrounds are going to be crowded and our little pups are going to be towered over by the huge 5th wheels. That doesn’t bother me too much on that kind of trip. If I want more privacy, I’ll just rough it at Elkmont.
     
  8. Natureangel

    Natureangel Everythings better outdoors...

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    Feb 28, 2016
    Illinois
    I prefer Townsend, less traffic but great access to the park.
     
  9. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

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    Jul 9, 2018
    Tennessee
    We've tent camped at the townsend KOA. You can tube or swim in the river and there is a pool. Bathrooms are very clean. Nearby is Riverrat where you can tube all day. Cades Cove is really close.
    The sites are close but not as bad as pigeon forge campgrounds. It's our best option if you want hookups.
     
  10. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    Just got back from Great Smoky mountains. I stayed at elkmont campground. I know not quite what you are asking for, but I had a great time. Just a few things to note . Estimate using more gas than you first think on the mountain. Not to mention fill up no matter what, just before you go up. Once you are in the park there are no gas stations. I chose Elkmont because it was a good halfway mark from the two parts of the park I wanted to see (Cade's cove and Oconaluftee visitor center) Also look up Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. They are in Bryson, NC. It was a nice pleasant train ride. Sadly due to the hurricane my trip in the Smoky's was shortened so wasn't able to do everything I planned. Didn't have time to go on any trails except up Clingmans dome. Geeze that is the longest half mile hike I ever took. Sadly, when I went it was entirely under cloud cover. I saw a heard of Elk at the Oconaluftee visitor center which was quite exciting. Near Elkmont is a very old School/church you can walk into. You can drive or walk to the school on this one lane road. However the drive is dang scary especially when you have to go around another car. I had a very good time, but this park is HUGE. IMG_20180919_173831438_HDR.jpg
     

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