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Early Spring Magazine is here! Plan Your Trip to the NC Smokies

Plan your trip to the ‘quieter side of the Smokies’ this spring with help from our newest magazine!
In this issue you’ll have a crazy amount information to help you with your next vacation OR ‘stay-cation’, here in western North Carolina.
From Smokemont Campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (yes, there is STILL much to enjoy on the NC side, regardless of the U.S. 441 landslide), to the Appalachian Trail Community, Franklin NC’s ‘April Fools Trail Days Festival‘, March 29th & 30th, 2013, you’ll be sure to find something to get outside and enjoy this spring!

Next up… be on the lookout for our May/June issue!
As always, you can find our on-line magazine on ALL of our website pages.

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2013 Spring Weekend Adventure in Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Smokemont Campground

 

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).

smoky mountains landslide on U.S. highway 441 in north carolina

The 200 foot wide landslide in the Smokies happened January 16, 2013 and is set to be repaired by May ’13.  Don’t let this hinder your visit to the NC Smoky Mountains.  We are STILL open for business!

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.

backcountry campsite post signifies #50 in great smoky mountains national park

You’ll see this post at the entrance to backcountry campsite #50 in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Access this campsite via Smokemont, Bradley Fork Trail & Chasteen Cr. Trail.

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.

whitewater cascades tumble in a green smoky mountain forest

Chasteen Creek Cascades tumble down and over the rock formations for about 50 feet. A peaceful location only 1.6 miles from Smokemont Campground.

Recommended Nearby

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.

Blue Ridge Parkway MP 469 to Waterrock Knob

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.

Mingo Falls

– 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.

 

National Park Service & Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians partner on Smokies landslide construction incentives

You may already be aware of the recent landslide that occurred via U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on January 16, 2013.  If not, the landslide happened near mile marker 22 between Collins Creek and Webb Overlook, on the NC side of the Park, sometime around 9:30 that morning.  The landslide is a 200 foot section of this heavily traveled highway, between Gatlinburg, TN & Cherokee, NC, that extends a near 1,000 feet down the slope near Beech Flats Prong.

Here is what the landslide in the Smokies looks like ->

landslide in great smoky mountains national park

A great picture of the 200 foot long/50 feet deep landslide that occurred on the NC side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in January 2013. Photo Credit:  Great Smoky Mountains Association

Initial reports from the National Park Service stated that an estimated completion of the repairs would be around May or June.  However, breaking news on February 8th suggests that the completion date could be guaranteed sooner than originally expected.  According to the National Park Service (NPS) Public Affairs Office, the NPS and EBCI (Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians) have partnered to launch an early completion incentive proposal with the contractor.  $18,000 will be awarded for each day the project is completed prior to May 15, 2013, up to a maximum of $500,000.  The NPS and EBCI have both agreed to potentially $250,000 each.

But, along with what seems to be lucrative monetary incentives also includes monetary disincentives.  For each day after May 15, 2013 that the project is prolonged, $18,000 will be charged to the contractor.  This will help insure the project is completed as planned.