Posts Tagged ‘Deep Creek’
Gatlinburg, Tenn. – Cool streams bordered with rhododendrons and laurel, mountainsides covered in a colorful patchwork of autumn leaves, the sound of an elk’s bugle carrying in the still morning air – this week’s National Park Getaway is world renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains and the quality of its remnants of southern Appalachian mountain culture.
Great Smoky Mountains, America’s most visited national park, includes more than 800 miles of hiking trails, 700 miles of fishable streams and hundreds of miles of equestrian trails. Along the park’s 384 miles of road you’ll find panoramic views, weathered historic buildings and tumbling mountain streams.
The park shares the stories of Southern Appalachian living that spans thousands of years and protects historic structures, landscapes and artifacts that tell the varied stories of those who once called these mountains home. At Great Smoky Mountains you’ll find one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States.
Whether you’re driving the main roads or hiking the backcountry, you could stay a week and not see it all. Start your journey by reading this week’s
National Park Getaway article at www.nps.gov/getaways.
The National Park Service maintains developed campgrounds at 10 locations in the park:
• Abrams Creek
• Balsam Mountain
• Big Creek
• Cades Cove
• Deep Creek
• Look Rock
Each campground has restrooms with cold running water and flush toilets. Each individual campsite has a fire grate and picnic table. There are no showers or electrical or water hookups in the park. Shower facilities are available in the communities surrounding the national park. Please inquire about the nearest facilities when you check-in at the campground. (5 amp electric hookups are available at a few sites in Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont for use only by those with medical needs. Check www.recreation.gov for more information.)
Campsites at Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Cosby, Elkmont, and Smokemont may be reserved online or by phone at (877) 444-6777. Advance reservations are required at Cataloochee Campground. All remaining park campgrounds are first-come, first-served. Additional information about camping reservations, including reservation time frames.
In addition to individual campsites, the park offers a limited number of group camping areas.
Please read Campground Rules and Regulations for information concerning food storage, generator use, quiet hours, and other campground regulations.
As 2010 comes to a close, visits to Great Smoky Mountains National Park are keeping pace with 2009 traffic.
Through November, visits to the 500,000-acre park on the Tennessee-North Carolina border were 1.7 percent ahead of year-before visits to date despite a steep November drop at the Gatlinburg park entrance and a year plagued by road construction.
In 2009, there were nearly 9.5 million visitors to the park.
Through November, visits to Deep Creek near Bryson City were up 3.4 percent over last year, Miller said.
The number of visitors at the Cherokee entrance to the park increased by 4.3 percent through November of this year compared with last year, he said. Visits to Cataloochee were down around 3 percent compared with 2009.
Tourism officials in both Cherokee and Bryson City say 2010 is shaping up to be a good year.
Based on room tax numbers, “We have had a very, very good year,” said Karen Wilmot, executive director of the Swain County Chamber of Commerce.
Cherokee also saw tourism gains during the 2010 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, said Mary Ferguson, director of marketing and promotion for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
“It started out a bit slow in October of 2009, and every month except January we saw an increase,” Ferguson said.
Weather problems closed U.S. 441 — the key corridor through the park — for part of the winter.
“Certainly that (U.S.) 441 corridor through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a tremendous impact on business in Cherokee,” Ferguson said.
But Miller said those weather closures probably didn’t have a huge effect on the overall number of park visitors.
In November, overall Smokies visits fell 12.4 percent, the Park Service said. The decline was most dramatic at the Gatlinburg entrance, where traffic was off 25.3 percent. The other two main park entrances were also down — 12.3 percent at Townsend and 2.5 percent at Cherokee.