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- beautiful and scenic
- Near great trails
- lots of wildlife - saw a bear!
- clean and quiet campground
- camp store nearby
- easy enough to get to with an RV
- reserved same day
- campsites are kind of close to each other
- no dogs allowed on trails (I know that’s pretty common for national parks, but it’s still something we look for)
Had a two night stay reserved, Hurricane Zeta had other plans. We arrived after visitor center had closed, but were able to locate and set up camp before sun went down. We were staying in A-16 just next to the natural trail that takes you off the Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park grounds and into Cherokee National Forest. Our site had views of the southern edge of the Appalachian mountains and they were “smokey” all day. It would be beautiful to camp here anytime of year. The less leaves the better the views.
We set our rain shelter porch and tent on the flattest part of the large campsite. All the sites I saw were pull through style. This seemed to be to make allowance for vehicles with trailers towing River recreational gear like canoes/kayaks and the like. It is park of the extensive Tanasi river recreation area. Other reviewers likely have more to say on this. We were there off season during late October.
The next day we went to the visitors center to check on the weather and found out were in the cone of what was becoming a hurricane zeta. At the time it didn’t look like it would be anything more than rain by the time it got there, I asked the staff member to let us know if the forecast changed to a situation where we should breakdown camp. She said of course. Very friendly and very on top it of it. Maps were readily available.
We went for a drive through the National Forest and enjoy the many views of the river. I would recommend downloading a map of the area on google maps before spending time out there as the connection is spotty. We made our way back to and we’re planning to hike a trail as the rain had stopped, when a park ranger cane by to tell us they were predicting a quicker arrival of the storm meaning it would be a lot stronger when it got to our area. He said he didn’t want to leave for the day before letting us know the conditions were not safe. We packed up and left. I very much appreciated this care for their campers. This experience speaks so highly of the Rangers. Every exchange was thoughtful and respectful. Would return anytime. As we are boaters, I think I would probably stick to off season.
My wife and I went for our 5th anniversary. The campground is great and within a mile or 2 of a lot of trail heads in the Smokies. It was beautiful in October, but if you go in peak season I would recommend staying in the national park due to the insane amounts of traffic getting into Gatlinburg.
We are glad we stayed at Cades Cove Campground. Thanks to Jay at the bike rental, we were able to ride the famous Cades Cove loop (11 miles) on the last day of the season that the road was closed to vehicles. We also folded the 6 mile hike in and out of Abrams Falls in the middle of the bike ride. It was a fun day, beautiful views, wildlife (turkey & deer). The campground was crowded. Every site was full. The sites are markedly close together, with minimal privacy between. Our site was C61, generator free (that part was nice). But we were on the end of a row, with two sites on one side, and a larger site on the other- all occupied, with just feet between each set up. Other than the tightness of the sites, we really liked everything else about the park. We traveled from the park towards the Blue Ridge Parkway by going directly through the Great Smoky NP. This was an incredible experience! Highly recommend it!
Located in between campsites 7&8, Young Branch is the more “civilized” part of Citico Creek. There is a toilet, but no hookups. About 6 different sites within the campground. Medium sized sites, but we’ll taken care of.