Contact: Nancy Gray, (865) 436-1208
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has announced that the Cataloochee Campground in North Carolina will go live on Recreation.gov on February 9. Under this system, campers will be required to make advanced reservations to stay at the 27-site campground when it reopens for the season on March 11. Historically, the popular but remote campground operated on a first-come-first-served basis, but this method will no longer be used in the future.
Normally, the national reservation system allows campers to make reservations up to six months in advance, but during this start up period, the reservation database for Cataloochee will not be active until February 9. On that date, people can make reservations for any date from March 11 (opening date) through August 9, a six month window. Each day after February 9, a new date, six months ahead, will become available. Reservations can be made either online at: www.recreation.gov or toll-free at 1-877-444-6777. The camping fee will be $20 per night which includes the contract costs for the reservation system and is the same as several other campgrounds in the Park with similar amenities.
Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson explained that the "Cataloochee Campground is one of the Park's most sought-after camping experiences, particularly since elk arrived in the valley in 2001. During peak season and off season weekends, the campground often fills to capacity. Frequently campers would arrive after driving a long distance along a very narrow, gravel road to find no campsites available. We feel that the reservation system will provide a more efficient process to secure an overnight stay at Cataloochee and will eliminate unnecessary travel time and effort to try and obtain a site."
The Park has been using the reservation system for its three main campgrounds at Smokemont, Elkmont and Cades Cove, and smaller outlying campground at Cosby, as well as at all Park drive-to horse camps, group camps, and picnic pavilions with great visitor satisfaction.
Last updated: April 14, 2015