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Old 09-08-2010, 12:30 PM
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Default need camping advice for park

OK.......so our Men's group at church has decided that we need to do a camp trip and they prefer the Smokies (I understand why). For some reason I was chosen to plan this event (that will teach me to be absent). Anyways, I figure we will number around 12-15 and probably looking at a Thurs thru Sunday event. I know we could get spots in Elkmont and I'm kinda leaning that way so I can get reservations after first of year, but a few have suggested a hike in site. My question is this: is there a hike in site that can handle 12 +/- campers? Also we have narrowed the dates to April or May 2011(i'm leaning towards may- close to Troutfest). Weather wise what would be the better month to bring the group down? Any help and info would be greatly appreciated.

Bob
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:41 PM
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Most campsites are maxed at 8 or 12 total, but there are some that are up to 20. For a group that size, it probably would be better to stay at a front country site such as elkmont, since from there there a wider variety of directions people can go to spread out and fish. Look at the backcountry trail map on the parks website (pdf)

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/GSMNP%20Backcountry%20Map.pdf

to see which sites have the right capacity and which you can reserve (a necessity if you have that big of a group, for sure). You probably have a better idea of what the group will want in terms of fishing (chance for big browns, catching a slam, specs only, etc) and what they are willing to do in terms of hiking distance and difficulty and would use Joe Freds maps and Jim Casada's book as a reference to see what best meets your criteria.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:41 PM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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They limit backcountry (walk in) sites to 8 people in a group so even if they site holds 12 or more you can't bring in more than 8 folks so that won't work. With that many I think I would look at getting a group site at Elkmont, Smokemont, or someplace. Another thing is you can't stay more than 3 nights at a single backcountry campsite but you are still right under that limit. I spend a lot of time at backcountry campsites and have rarely seen a single group as large as 8 with the exception of some of the ones you can boat up to over on fontana. Personally I think Elkmont has the best group camping area and lots of easy access to trails, the little river, and jakes creek for fishing.
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:34 PM
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I would suggest a frontcountry group campsite at either Elkmont or Smokemont or even Deep Creek.

Hey Adam, the weather is getting nice lets keep fingers crossed for some rain so we can hit the backcountry again.
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spotlight View Post
I would suggest a frontcountry group campsite at either Elkmont or Smokemont or even Deep Creek.

Hey Adam, the weather is getting nice lets keep fingers crossed for some rain so we can hit the backcountry again.
Yeah Kevin lets go! I was starting to think you wouldn't leave that new native watercraft to get back on the stream hehe. Looks like you had fun on the AT this weekend. I was in Cataloochee front country camping.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:36 PM
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Cataloochee has a great group camp. It's right along the creek and is about a half mile off the main road. It has a gate that can be controlled so that only your group can drive down to the site. Plenty of room for a group twice your size. By far the nicest group camp in the smokies to me, it only has pit toilets and a few tables, but it is a large open area with campsites in the wood line.
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Old 09-11-2010, 02:13 PM
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They took the gate down, and if I am not mistaken I think they put in bathrooms. By far and away my favorite group site though.
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:00 PM
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Bob, this is tntom from CFF. What ever you deside I would like to meet up with you guy's at least for one day. Also if I can be of any help here in east TN let me know.

Tom
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:26 PM
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I'm with Flyman on Cataloochee. I believe that water gets less pressure than many park streams, too.

My second choice( a very close second) would be Smokemont. I just love that campground because Bradley Fork flows right through it, and you have trail access to the upper part of BF, too. And, you're just minutes ( as in two) away from great water on the 'Luftee, too. And then, there is Peter's Pancakes. LOL
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:59 PM
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Owl,

Good call on the pancakes. Had a stack of blueberry cakes around 6 weeks ago when I stayed at Smokemont. Bradley is one of my favorite streams in the Park. I don't fish it often due to the longer drive, but always enjoy that area. Straight Fork is not to far away either, well worth a shot as well IMO.

Neal
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