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Camping at Cataloochee Horse Campground

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Overview

Cataloochee Horse Campground is a designated campsite for horseback riders in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, known for its serenity, scenic views, and access to a variety of horse trails. Located in North Carolina, this campgrounds offers a unique experience for those interested in exploring the park on horseback.

Reservations and Season

Reservations: Campsite reservations are typically required and can be made through the National Park Service’s reservation system, Recreation.gov. It’s advisable to book well in advance, especially for peak camping seasons.

Season: The campground is generally open from early spring through late fall. Specific opening and closing dates can vary each year, and it is important to check the current year's schedule.

Campground Facilities

Amenities: Each campsite at Cataloochee Horse Campground comes equipped with horse stalls, allowing campers to have their horses directly at their campsite. Additionally, the campground provides:

  • Picnic tables
  • Fire rings with grills
  • Access to potable water
  • Flush toilets (but no showers)

Horse Stalls: The number of horse stalls per site may vary, and visitors must provide their own hay and feed, which must be certified weed-free to prevent the spread of non-native plant species.

Campsite Rules and Regulations

  • Food Storage: Due to black bears' presence in the area, all food and horse feed must be stored in bear-proof containers or in vehicles when not in use.
  • Garbage: All garbage must be disposed of in bear-proof dumpsters.
  • Quiet Hours: Quiet hours are typically enforced to ensure a peaceful environment for all campers.
  • Pets: Pets may be permitted but must be kept on a leash at all times.
  • Fires: Fires are only allowed in the designated fire rings.

Horseback Riding Trails

Cataloochee Valley provides an extensive network of horse trails where you can see historical buildings, elk, and other wildlife.

Notable Trails Include:

  • Rough Fork Trail
  • Little Cataloochee Trail
  • Caldwell Fork Trail

Wildlife and Safety

Elk: The park is home to elk, which were reintroduced to the area. While they are beautiful creatures to observe, visitors are advised to view them from a distance for safety.

Bears: Black bears are common in the park, and it's important to follow safety guidelines and keep a safe distance. This includes proper storage of food and scented items.

Accessing Cataloochee Horse Campground

The campground is somewhat remote with access typically involving narrow, winding roads that may not be suitable for large RVs or vehicles towing trailers. It is recommended to check with the National Park Service for road conditions and travel advisories before your trip.

Location of Cataloochee Horse Campground
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