This Camper’s Life: The Great Smoky Mountains
Let’s Wander! Our recent camping trip took us to the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is one of our country’s natural treasures!
We camped at Cades Cove Campground in Townsend, Tennessee. The drive to the campground was gorgeous. The mountains are stunning! The road was well paved and in good condition, so ascending and descending the mountain was a little easier than some mountain terrain we have experienced. It took a while to get to the campground. The speed limit is low because of the twisty and hilly roads. There is a beautiful stream that runs parallel with the road the whole way to the campground.
Cades Cove Campground is set up very well. We found three loops that you can camp in, with RV camping permitted in two of the loops (B and C). A generator would be helpful here since there are no hookups. There are bathrooms (but no showers), a dump station, and potable water to fill tanks. Cades Cove offers a nice campground store on the premises to buy necessities, and of course, souvenirs—as well as bicycle rentals. There are nice bike trails in the campground.
We met two separate families that have been going to Cades Cove for Thanksgiving Day for many years. It is a good way for them to gather and celebrate the holiday with their family members. Each family reserved a site near the other and they spent the week in the campground. We were surprised at how full the campground was when we were there. Cades Cove Campground usually closes on December 1 and does not open again until the Spring.
Cades Cove was a thriving town back in the 1800s. Winding through the park is an 11-mile historic loop that you can drive or bike to see some of the historical buildings, including churches and cemeteries. Fascinating! These are original structures. On the loop are open areas where you may get lucky to see a black bear, deer, and elk feeding. Sadly, we did not see any on that loop.
A roadway called Foothills Parkway runs from Townsend, Tennessee into the mountains. As we drove along this road we saw a mama black bear with her two cubs up in a tree! You can see mama bear in the picture. The baby cubs were much further up in the tree. I guess mama bear wanted to protect them because you would have to go through her first to get to her babies!
We also saw some wild turkeys and deer on the parkway.
Stay tuned…in my next report, I will talk about our visit to the Cherokee Reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina, and the surrounding area. I Love This Camper’s Life!