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Early Cade's Cove to Townsend/Wears Valley/Cataloochee Elk?

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Johnstown, Ohio
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5 posts
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Early Cade's Cove to Townsend/Wears Valley/Cataloochee Elk?

Heading back to Smokies this weekend and looking for a well planned out day starting early at Cade's Cove. Any ideas on where to go from there that may interest someone who is into off the beaten path and not so touristy. Any nice sites nearby to not miss or even heard about Elk in area to see (where?) Maybe some "not to miss" attractions or restaurants in Townsend to try or what to see or avoid on Wears Valley Rd. back to PF. Just looking for so hidden hot spots. Any suggestions?

Boston...
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1. Re: Early Cade's Cove to Townsend/Wears Valley/Cataloochee Elk?

Unfortunately the reintroduced elk peruse the southeastern quadrant of the park from Oconaluftee to Cataloochee, two or three hours of driving from Cades Cove. Fortunately, the Cove and other locations on the northern fringe of the Smokies have so much to offer you probably won't worry about the absence of elk (even in a place like Elkmont that is now deserted of them).

Cades Cove (nor any national park location) has felt touristy to me, though I have too often felt the tourists' traffic, crowds, and generally cumbersome presence. You'll find the overtly touristy stuff in Pigeon Forge in more than adequate quantities. But you're on the money when you ask for an off the beaten path area near Cades Cove. Just a short drive away over Laurel Creek Road is the Tremont Logging History Auto Tour, one of the deepest scenic drives in the park and one almost completely deserted of people.

In Townsend there's river tubing, the Heritage Center, and the Little River Railroad museum (free).

Brunson
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305 posts
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2. Re: Early Cade's Cove to Townsend/Wears Valley/Cataloochee Elk?

What is the Tremont Logging History Auto tour, sounds interesting for a future trip hubby is in forestry.

Boston...
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3. Re: Early Cade's Cove to Townsend/Wears Valley/Cataloochee Elk?

It's an unpaved (but well maintained) road that cuts deep into the park along the Pigeon River Middle Prong upriver from the Tremont Institute. Tremont used to be a big logging area. There's a pamphlet you can read as you drive on the road, and there are historical tidbits to see though there aren't many remnants of the logging days. Reminds you that most of the forest you see in the park was once not there. Besides the history, the scenery is lovely. There's a Quiet Walkway at the end of the road.

Brunson
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305 posts
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4. Re: Early Cade's Cove to Townsend/Wears Valley/Cataloochee Elk?

Thanks for your reply, just found a new to do!! Hopefully next fall (Nov), baby due in 4 weeks, so no trip this year!

Tiffin, Ohio
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5. Re: Early Cade's Cove to Townsend/Wears Valley/Cataloochee Elk?

I just gotta vent about Cades Cove just a little bit. My family and I were just there a little over a week ago, and all we saw were a couple of turkeys and 2 deer. It was the same for me last year. I finally figured out why we never see bears or hardly any deer about half way through the loop...INCONSIDERATE IDIOTS ON MOTORCYCLES! Now I am not implying that just because you ride a motorcycle you fit this discription, but there are some that do. While cruising thru the loop at somewhere between 5 and 10 mph in order to safely look for wildlife, I look in the rearview mirror, and see some jack@$$ on a motorcycle revving up his engine so people would move over and let him by. My thoughts are if you want to cruise the open road, then do the rest of us a favor and STAY THE HELL OUT OF CADES COVE!!!

Savannah, Ga
Destination Expert
for Cherokee, Tybee Island
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6. Re: Early Cade's Cove to Townsend/Wears Valley/Cataloochee Elk?

Earlier this summer we where in Gatlinburg, Cherokee, Etc. The new road at Cades Cove is really nice. Townsend is a good place to visit.

We saw several Elk on 441 by the farm museum just before Cherokee. Also there were several on Big Cove road in Cherokee at the new school and just past it.

John

Chickamauga, Georgia
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for Orlando, Walt Disney World
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7. Re: Early Cade's Cove to Townsend/Wears Valley/Cataloochee Elk?

Yes, while the majority of elk do stay in the Cataloochee area, a few can found in and around the Oconaluftee area just outside Cherokee (if not on the visitor center ground area, then maybe over on Big Cove Rd near the school). On our fall trip last year, we saw elk in both these areas on the same day.

This time of year (non-rut), you will likely only find them in the meadows very early in the morning or late in the evening just before sunset, as this is the time they "graze" in the fields. Otherwise, they stay hidden back in the woods most of the time.

Edited: 22 July 2010, 15:22
8. Re: Early Cade's Cove to Townsend/Wears Valley/Cataloochee Elk?

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