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Old 05-21-2015, 10:57 AM   #1
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Need suggestions in Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Need suggestion where to spend a good place in Smoky Mountain between August and September. We're with my mother in-law and will be coming from Houston. So my question for help are:
1. Which route is nice to take to have a good sightseeing to Smoky Mountain?
2. Is there any caution should I be aware to the route I choose? Like any tunnel or bridges or street that are narrow?
My RV is class A 35ft.
3.What's the good place to stay in Smoky Mountain? With full hook up or No hook up.
Need to stay with a good view for us to enjoy with my mother in law and a place where my son can spend
camping and hiking.
4. Do we need a car when we get there?

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Old 05-21-2015, 12:17 PM   #2
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Travel from Houston to Atlanta however you want to. From Atlanta, go northeast on I-85 to US 441, then North on 441 to the heart of the Smokys.

US441 is RV friendly. There are a couple of steep spots (6%) but they are not long.

We like to stay at Tuckaseegee RV Resort. Tuckaseegee RV Resort | Come enjoy our own little corner of the Smoky Mountains The park is on US 74, near Cherokee.

Bring your car. There is a lot of things to see and do.

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Old 05-21-2015, 12:23 PM   #3
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There are several camp grounds in the park, but they have no hookups. If you are into dry camping, I like Elkmont C.G. and my favorite is Balsam Mt. C.G.

There are a bunch of RV parks in the Pigeon Forge Area, but the area is crowded and has absolutely terrible traffic. I try to avoid id if at all possible.

There are also several nice RV parks it the Townsend area. Townsend bills itself as "the quiet side of the Smokies." and I greatly prefer it to the Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg area.

On the south side of the park, there are a number of nice RV parks In and around Cherokee.

Almost all of the roads in the area are narrow and winding, but generally not very steep. You will need to use some care, but there should be no trouble getting to any of the camp grounds or RV parks. One caveat, Balsam Mt. C,G is on a long dirt road off of the Blur Ridge Parkway. If you approach fro the west, there is a low clearance tunnel that you wont be able to get through. From the east, there will bw no problem.

I would thing that you will absolutely need a car there. Your rig will not be practical for exploring the area.

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Old 05-21-2015, 12:40 PM   #4
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Cherokee is home to wife's family. Absolutely wonderful place. When we take our coach, we always stay at the Flaming Arrow CG on 441. They have 50 amp, full hook-ups. Ralph will personally escort you to your site and get you parked in one swift step!! Quiet impressive, I must say!
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Old 05-21-2015, 05:41 PM   #5
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Since you don't have a car. I would come in from the south up route 441. This takes you up and over Newfound Gap. That puts you at about 5000'. It's about 15 miles up and about 12 down the northern side into Gatlinburg TN.

The summit (Clingmans Dome) is another side road at Newfound Gap of about 5 miles that would take you to 6500', but I'm not too sure if a 35' MH is allowed up that twisty road. The parking lot at Newfound Gap is large. I have seen plenty of MH's and 5ers park there. You will want to avoid the weekend, where there is a lot of traffic. Gatlinburg is like Myrtle Beach but with out the beach. So, without a car, there are like 3 campgrounds that are on the shuttle route that takes you into Gatlinburg. We stayed at "Camping in the Smoky's" (full service site). The shuttle stopped right in front of the campground. It was like a $1 per person. This one was the cheapest of the 3. Very clean and large sites.

We also stayed in the national park on the northern side near the main visitor center (Sugarlands Visitor Center) Which is a about 2-3 miles SE. of downtown Gatlinburg. Coming down from Newfound Gap you will go past it. There is a large RV parking lot there. The campground near the visitor center is called Elkmont. (about 6 miles away). Must reserve early there (Very popular). Not sure what the RV size limit is there. I'm thinking it's 35' or so. Plenty of nice sized sites there. None of the 10 nation park campgrounds have electric service.

There you have the historic city of Elkmont. (Google pics) I found it very cool to see how people rec-created back in the early 1900's. The old "camps / cabins".

Here are my pics from 12 days in the Smoky's. We stayed 5 nights at Elkmont, 3 at Camping in the Smoky's and 4 nights on the southern side at Smokemont (Another nation park campground) Also of note: There is a nice Casino there in nearby Cherokee NC.

In Gatlinbirg you have:

~ Pancakepantry All I have to say is yummy yummy...No wonder people line up a half hour before they open.

~ Old Smoky Distillery "Free Samples"

~ Dixie Stampede
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Old 05-21-2015, 05:57 PM   #6
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Smokey Bear Campground is wonderful. Nice location. Look em up.
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Old 05-22-2015, 08:55 AM   #7
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I live near the park and have spent many hours there and would offer a couple of things. I would not drive my MH over US 441 due to the steep grade, sharp turns and tunnels with low clearance (America's Independent Truckers' Association - Information). I would either stay on the NC side or TN side and use a car from there. You will need to decide what type of camping you want to do - rustic or modern - and what type of activities you want to be near. The Tennessee side is very developed and has lot's of things for kids to do and it also has Cades Cove. The NC side has Cherokee but is less developed and has easier access to Cataloochee if you want to see the elk. We've stayed at a few campgrounds in the area but have avoided Pigeon Forge - I can offer more if I know what you are looking for.
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Old 05-23-2015, 06:41 AM   #8
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We stayed in Up the Creek campground. Very nice but they don't have a any shower or restrooms.
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Old 05-25-2015, 06:06 AM   #9
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We stayed at tremont outdoor resort in Townsend Tn. It is right at the entrance of the park. Full hookups nice scenery.
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Old 05-25-2015, 03:42 PM   #10
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We made the trip a few years ago. The trees were too low in many places for our 12' 7" high motorhome... Lost a refrig cover and gained a few scratches on the sides of the MH. Beautiful drive out of a big window. Check current size restrictions before you start.
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Old 05-25-2015, 06:45 PM   #11
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We always stay at River Plantation, IRV2 held a convention there a couple years ago. The Trolleys are good transportation in town, but I recommend a car. Before you go study the maps of the area, there are bypasses and back roads that limit your exposure to a lot of congestion. Campgrounds in the park are very pretty but offer few hookups.
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Old 05-30-2015, 07:49 PM   #12
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Do not drive your RV through the park/over the mountain, you will not like the experience.
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Old 05-31-2015, 01:29 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by andy29847 View Post
Travel from Houston to Atlanta however you want to. From Atlanta, go northeast on I-85 to US 441, then North on 441 to the heart of the Smokys.

US441 is RV friendly. There are a couple of steep spots (6%) but they are not long.

We like to stay at Tuckaseegee RV Resort. Tuckaseegee RV Resort | Come enjoy our own little corner of the Smoky Mountains The park is on US 74, near Cherokee.

Bring your car. There is a lot of things to see and do.
Andy, we just reserved a site on the river for a week. We love this area and are still looking for the best campground. Hopefully, this will be it.
Brenda and Frank, FTers, Zebulon, NC
Raisin our mixed hound and our cat BooBoo.
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:27 AM   #14
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One more place that is great! Anchor Down, Danderige Tenn. off of 66 on I believe is 139, It's righ on the lake.

Mark & Shaleen
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