Cove Creek Road
About Cataloochee Valley
Cataloochee Valley is where folks go to view the elk herds in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a remote location on the North Carolina side of the mountains, but well worth a day trip with a picnic to explore the historic valley. Catalooche Valley is located 65 miles from Gatlinburg, TN and 39 miles from Cherokee, NC.
When traveling to Cataloochee Valley be mindful the road is gravel with some steep drop offs with no guard rails. Horse trailer traffic is frequent, so please use caution as you may have to stop or back up to allow vehicles to pass safely on the narrow road.
According to the National Park Service, “The most direct route into the valley is to take Cove Creek Road. To get to the valley from interstate I-40, exit at North Carolina exit #20 and travel 0.2 miles on route 276. Turn right onto Cove Creek Road and follow the signs 11 miles into the Cataloochee Valley. To get there from Oconaluftee or Cherokee, take the Blue Ridge Parkway to Highway 19. Follow 19 (toward Asheville) through Maggie Valley. Turn left onto Highway 276 N. Just before the entrance ramp to I-40 (but past gas station), turn left and follow the signs 11 more miles to Cataloochee. Using the Cove Creek Road route, motorists will be traveling on a gravel road for approximately 15 minutes. A more scenic route (not recommended for RVs) is to take a long winding road, highway Route 32, from Cosby, TN to the Tennessee-North Carolina state border, where the road becomes gravel. It twists and winds into Cataloochee. (This route is not recommended if your passengers are prone to car sickness.) Using this route, motorists will be traveling on a gravel road for approximately 45 minutes.” – GSMNP
Be sure to pick up an auto tour booklet to make your way to all the historic building remaining in the valley.
There is a primitive campground with 27 sites in Cataloochee Valley for tents and RVs up to 31 ft. All sites must be reserved in advance. The campground is open from mid-March through October. Horse camping is also available by reservation. Fishing and hiking are also other favorite pastimes in the bucolic valley surrounded by majestic mountains.
877-444-6777 for horse camping information/reservation
865-436-1200 GSMNP recorded message
Campground Reservations for Individual, Groups, Horse
HeySmokies Info & Blog
The Cataloochee Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park