Cataloochee campground is located in the historic Cataloochee Valley--a relatively remote part of Smoky Mountain National Park. The secluded setting offers visitors the ability to enjoy a multitude of recreational activities like hiking and fishing, without the crowds, which are sometimes common in other parts of the park.
Cataloochee offers a traditional outdoor camping experience with the added convenience of flush toilets and drinking water. There are no hookups or showers at the campground.
Hiking trails and fishing streams are easily accessible from the site and the nearby Cataloochee Group Camp can accommodate larger parties of guests.
Additionally, the Cataloochee Horse Camp provides convenient camping for horseback riding enthusiasts.
Beginning March 1, valid parking tag is required for any vehicle parking for more than 15 minutes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Front country campers parked at their designated campsite will not be required to have a parking tag. If they park elsewhere in the park, a parking tag will be required. Please note that parking tags will be required for vehicles in excess of what is allowable for each campsite.
Caution: Bear Habitat! Bears and other wildlife frequent the area. All food and equipment used to prepare and store food (even when empty, and even if certified as bear resistant) must be kept in a sealed vehicle or camping unit of solid, non-pliable material AT ALL TIMES when not in use. All scented items, as well as all water containers MUST be stored. Dispose of garbage promptly in dumpsters provided. Unattended or improperly stored coolers, food and/or scented items may be impounded by campground staff. Violators are subject to fines.
A reservation is required to stay at Cataloochee Campground. Please make your reservation before driving to the campground as cell phone coverage in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is very limited and there are no provisions to make a reservation once you are at the campground. Reservations are site specific therefore you are REQUIRED to occupy only the site(s) for which you have reserved. To make changes to your reservation you must contact Recreation.gov at 1-877-444-6777 or field staff where available.
Firewood Vendors. Heat-treated wood is available from a growing list of private businesses in communities around the park. Please visit firewoodscout.org for a list of available vendors near the park. Concessioners at Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont will provide heat-treated wood for sale during their operating season. Certified heat-treated firewood is packaged and clearly marked with a state or federal seal.
Access to Cataloochee is via a narrow, winding, mountain road. A 3-mile stretch of gravel road contains many narrow, blind curves. Motorhomes over 29' and trailers over 25' in length are not recommended due to the access road.
Cataloochee Campground is surrounded by picturesque mountain ranges and pristine mountain streams, like nearby Cataloochee Creek. Elk are common in this part of the park, during the spring and fall.
At a 2,600 foot elevation, Cataloochee provides a moderate climate, characterized by mild winters and hot, humid summers. Whether blanketed in bright spring wildflowers or exploding with vivid fall colors, the scenery at Cataloochee never disappoints.
A number of the park's famous historical buildings, including the Steve Woody and Caldwell Houses, both built in the late 19th-century, are nearby the campground.
The Steve Woody House, built in 1880, is located along the Rough Fork trail, an easy 2-mile roundtrip hike from the parking lot at the end of Ranger Station Road.
The Cataloochee Valley features an extensive trail system that is less heavily used compared to other areas of the park. The two main trails, Caldwell Fork and nearby Rough Fork Trail, run mostly parallel to one another in the central portion of the valley. Either of these trails extend alongside scenic creeks and streams and support both hikers and horeseback riders.
For hikers only, the 3.9-mile Boogerman Trail forms a nice loop off the Caldwell Fork Trail and is less than a mile walk from the campground.
Anglers will agree that some of the best Rainbow and Brook trout fishing in the area can be found in the Cataloochee Basin, one of the most remote sections of the park. Fly fishing is particularly good during spring months when aquatic insects hatch in large numbers.
The park also holds one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States. Over 90 historic structures, including houses, barns, outbuildings, churches, schools and grist mills, have been preserved or rehabilitated in the park. A handful of which can be found in the Cataloochee Valley, including the nearby Palmer House, built in 1869, which contains a self-guided museum.
3576 Ranger Station Rd Waynesville NC 37876
For campground inquiries, please call: 828-497-9270
From I-40 take Exit 20 in North Carolina. Turn right onto Cove Creek Road and follow to the Park boundary. The road goes from pavement to gravel to pavement. Upon reaching the pavement the second time, turn left. Go 2.5 miles to an intersection and continue another .5 miles to the left.