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Survey Results

Boston...
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Survey Results

I averaged all the responses. The following are not the average number of visits to a certain area during the average Smokies visit, but the number of times the average person has ever been to each area. Responding with a "1" meant that you had been there once, responding with a "2" meant that you had been there two to four times, and responding with a "3" meant that you has visited more than four times.

Cades Cove- 2.3

Roaring Fork- 2.4

Sugarlands Visitor Center- 2.2

Newfound Gap/Clingman's Dome- 2.2

Tremont and Elkmont, Cosby and Big Creek, Oconaluftee and Smokemont, Deep Creek and Fontana Lake, Balsam Mountain, and Cataloochee were all less than 1, some as low as .5 or .6.

Thoughts?

Kristian

Saint Joseph...
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1. Re: Survey Results

Easy driving destinations if staying in popular tourist areas Pidgeo Forge, Gatlinburg, Townsend and the like. Just my thoughts. Great info though, thanks for compiling very interesting.

Boston...
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2. Re: Survey Results

I was thinking that, but Cosby isn't any harder to get to from PF than Cades Cove, nor is Greenbrier. The Oconaluftee/Deep Creek area is only a little bit further than going to Cades Cove.

Tn
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5 reviews
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3. Re: Survey Results

I finaly found Cataloochee this week! Not at all worth the horriable drive there to me! And why do they not put all those roads back there on the maps? It is so easy to get lost! They do not even show that there are 2 camp grounds so you see a sign that says camp ground and look at the map and do not want to go that way so you take the other road and end up on a road worse than hwy 32!

The Palmer House brought back some memories of one of the houses I lived in when a child, but it was not worth that trip! ( I thought the buildings were goin gto be older)

I was so tired of horriable hard bumbs and sharp switch back curves I did not even go to Balsam Mountain! And I had been wanting to for a long time but I knew it would be more bumps and I can only take so many in one day! I went to the $12. car wash today where they shrub by hand then send it threw a automatic wash, I still have that gravel powder on and in my car.

I found Elkmont this week to! It was nice but I thought the buildings were going to be older than those.

Saint Joseph...
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4. Re: Survey Results

So what your saying is redeemedBYgrace, that if I want to visit Cataloochee I should rent a horse. LOL I really would like to visit that area, never been. I don't want to tear up my car.

alabama
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5. Re: Survey Results

I am very suprised at the numbers in general as so many on here have been visiting the area for many years...those areas that were less than 1 really surprised me,they are some of the most beautiful in the park...I guess that is why they are always less crowed..which is a good thing I guess...

Boston...
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6. Re: Survey Results

I'm not really all that surprised actually. It seems like most people on here come back and see the same things over and over and over again. I've got no idea why, though.

I would NEVER recommend Cataloochee as a day trip from Gatlinburg; that's almost a silly prospect. It's inaccessible enough in the first place that adding a long drive (two ways!) on top of it would be simply too much. I would day trip to it from places any further than Cherokee or Cosby, though even those are far away. The only place where there wasn't enough signage was at the intersection of hwy 276 and Cove Creek Road. There are not two campground in Cataloochee; Mt. Sterling road goes all the way to the north of the park to Big Creek. I remember the signage at that particular intersection being very clear (I was there last March). The roads in there are windy and dusty but wouldn't actually get close to hurting your car; once you get in the park the roads are great. Cataloochee Campground is my favourite in the entire park as far as scenic quality.

I guess what I'm trying to say to people reading this is that the fact that you didn't enjoy it is not because it's not an awesome place but because you made an impractical day trip. Believe it or not, Gatlinburg is not the end all of places to see the Smokies from. There are many places in the Smokies that are very much worth visiting (just as much as Roaring Fork or whatever) but you'll have to step out of the mega-touristy areas to practically visit them.

Tn
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5 reviews
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7. Re: Survey Results

Mexicotanned, a skinny horse! There is a ranger station back there and they come whipping around those switch back curves faster than I think they should.

Blue, I agree with you on a lot of things and you are a big help to many people including me, but there are times when at your young teenage age with out a drivers licence you can not know what it is like to actually be driving those kinds of roads and what that fells like to older tender bodies dear. My 27 year old extremely brave active son was scared and hated all those bumpy switch back curves.

You could do much damage to cars on those kinds of roads! Thank God I just got new tires and alignment! I probably need another alignment now.

Not thinking the trip is worth it to me has nothing to do with starting in Gatlinburg! (I have gone from GT to Foothills West, to The Dragon, to Cherahala all in one day and drove home 6 hours the same day.)

I do not think it is a long drive from Gatlinburg to Cherokee,( my son showed me it can be done in a hour if you do not stop for pictures).

I think there is a regular and a group camp ground back there. There was a sign for group camping and we did not get on Mt. Sterling Road, (I thought we had for a while but we did not) When you leave the Palmer house with it being on your left and drive forward you come to the end you have to go straight into a camp ground (that I do not see on any of my maps) or turn right on a road that has no sign that is horrible.

What it might be is none of these maps are right. The one in the Smokies Road Guide shows you have to turn around and go back to the paved road to get to the camp ground. Is there 2 ways into the camp ground and one way is not shown on the maps? We stayed on the gravel road because there was a sign saying camp ground, we ended up doing that long gravel loop, we should have turned around after the palmer house but there were several ranger trucks coming from the other way (faster than they should) so we thought lets see what is going on. (curiosity has got me in trouble more than once in my life! LOL)

You are right they could use a sign on Cove Creek Road, (If anyone is going you have to pass both the BP and Shell gas stations, go to the restroom at BP, Shell has a sign on the men's door saying broke so everyone uses the woman's and it is a busy little place since it is the first place when you come out of the drive to go.)

You are right, There are many places in the Smokies that are very much worth visiting (just as much as Roaring Fork or whatever) but you'll have to step out of the mega-touristy areas to practically visit them.

There are many places other than Gatlinburg to see them that do not have those horrible roads.

Chattanooga...
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864 posts
27 reviews
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8. Re: Survey Results

Redeemed;

First of all, I'm sorry the dirt roads bothered you so much. Personally I don't mind them, but that's just me, and you and lots of other people may think differently.

Anyway, did you turn right off the paved road and never go farther on out the paved road to the old chapel and schoolhouse? Just beyond where that dirt road goes to the right there is a pullout on the left with a bulletin board where you can get literature about the cove, including a more detailed map. I sure hope you didn't miss the best part of the cove by making that right turn! The regular campground is just ahead on the left. A ways after that the road turns to dirt (but not very rough at all), and passes fields where the elk can be seen. Then comes the chapel and schoolhouse, then the Caldwell house and barn and another elk-watching field before the road dead-ends.

After you enter the park and come down the bad bumpy stretch, you come to a fork; straight ahead is a dirt road leading to Big Creek, to the left is a paved road leading into the cove. There's a great overlook just a little ways down the paved road. When the paved road levels out, that's where another dirt road goes to the right - the one you took to the Palmer house. Keep going on that dirt road and you'll end up at the primitve group campground, the second campground you mentioned; but before you get there you'll pass a right turn where the road crosses the creek and then eventually connects with the aforementioned road that goes to Big Creek (or loop back around to Cove Mtn. Road where you came in).

Kristian;

Back to the original topic - I'm not surprised at the results. There are certain areas in the park that are quite popular, even immensely popular. Most folks see only those places, and it's quite likely that they do so even on repeated trips to the park. I don't want to editorialize too much, but as much as I'd like for everybody to see the park and enjoy it the same way I do, I realize that probably the most that I can do is to only mildly influence their decisions.

Hey, Redeemed doesn't like Cataloochee but does like Fall Creek Falls, you don't like Fall Creek Falls but do like Cataloochee, and I like both. Is this a great country or what?

John

Boston...
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9. Re: Survey Results

I really don't understand what about the roads was bad (and yes, I do drive). My dad is in his fifties and had no problem with them. They are back country roads with lots of twists and turns, but that comes with the territory. Plus, it's not that long of a drive; we got from the highway to the campground in about fifteen minutes. There's no reason it should be hard on the car or driver unless they are driving too fast. This is the epitome of off the beaten path in the park, so you have to work to get there.

Boston...
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10. Re: Survey Results

I really didn't properly experience Fall Creek to have a real opinion about the place. I was put off the the inn there which is rather ugly and the greasy Southern food we ate there for lunch, and felt the park was more of a resorty type place rather than a natural area (which I wasn't expecting). I would def recommend it for a group who want things to do like paddling and tennis while also seeing some natural things like the waterfalls. Everything (of what I remember, it's been a while) was clean and up kept. (Other than the inn, but I'm not going to judge the park by that.)

I don't rate things by how they met what I wanted and expected, but by how they lived up to their own purpose. It's silly to rate a golf course poorly because you don't like golf, but it's fine to say that you went and didn't think much of it because it didn't match your interests. A good critic is able to write a review that weighs a (fill in the blank) against it's given purpose even if that purpose doesn't meet the interests of the reviewer. (For example, the man who doesn't like golf who writes and excellent review of the course, measuring how impressed an avid golfer would be by the course.) Does that make sense?

But in the end, some people have better opinions than others. Some are better founded by the facts and better rate the (fill in the blank) itself, not how happy they personally were with it.