As you ride along U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) this spring you’ll see, “No access beyond this point”. Before you start to say “What have we done?”, or, “there is nothing to do, lets turn around!”, we would like to introduce you to the ‘last stop’ along the NC side of 441 this spring, Smokemont Campground. Note: The recent Smokies landslide repairs will be completed May ’13 (for more info on the recent landslide, see ‘Bryson City’ pg. 28).
Smokemont is an outdoor lover’s dream. If front country camping in an RV or tent is your thing this is the spot. Maybe you’re looking for easy accessible back country camping. If so, GSMNP back country campsite number 50 is only a short hike away. So as you can see, we’re already off to a great start.
One of the things we love most about the Smokemont area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the water. The Oconaluftee River and Bradley Fork converge within the campground area, creating an oasis for trout fishing, swimming & more. After setting up camp, check out the awesome hiking possibilities Smokemont has to offer. Just another reason to plan a trip to Smokemont. Head out along ‘Bradley Fork Trail‘ as it follows ‘Bradley Fork’ for just over 1 mile. For even more water fun, take the ‘Chasteen Creek Trail‘ for 0.4 mile up to ‘Chasteen Creek Cascades’. Find the great little spot at the base of the cascades to sit, relax and enjoy the Smoky Mountains at their best.
While you’re in the Smokemont area you’ll want to venture out and explore a little further. We’re almost sure of it. So, below we have listed a few recommendations for you to consider while here. For more details, pictures & directions visit our website, www.StayAndPlayInTheSmokies.com. (Hint: to search for one of these areas, remember our ‘custom search’ box on the top right corner of any web page)
– Oconaluftee Visitors Center & Mountain Farm Museum
Located near the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park via Cherokee NC. This state-of-the-art center & historic property is an excellent resource for Smoky Mountain History. Plan at least a half hour here.
Located near the entrance to GSMNP is the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, ‘America’s Favorite Drive’. We suggest hoping on here and driving up to ‘Waterrock Knob’ for a hike, long-range views, and a mile high picnic.
– Located outside of GSMNP, but just a short, scenic drive away you’ll find the near 200 foot, Mingo Falls. Take Big Cove Road (near the GSNMP entrance) for 5 miles until you reach the parking area. Get your heart pumping with a 160 stair hike to the falls.