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“Mile-high Budget and Family-Friendly Fun”

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The Cataloochee Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Mile-high Budget and Family-Friendly Fun”
Reviewed 2 August 2012

Catalooochee is a wonderful family-run, family-friendly place. The place is decidedly casual yet exceptionally warm and personal, causing a devote loyalty in its guests who return year after year. A father-daughter trio had been coming every year for fifteen years, a grandmother "steals" her grandchildren for a week every year (leading the staff to comment on the new color of the t-shirt she crafts for the occasion), and an elderly couple first came on their honeymoon. Pretty impressive. In fact, many of the folks may have been a little alarmed at us, a young couple- and we heard more than a few times that they're trying to strike a balance of keeping the place a secret and attracting new clientele. There's a lot to do on the ranch, including wonderful horse back rides that can be tailored to suit your needs- more advanced riders get to canter. People who have never been on a horse will be gently guided by Judy, who takes great pride in her animals. As she should- they were wonderfully gentle yet spunky enough to climb the mountain trails to provide us beautiful views. The same trails are available for hiking, and some lead to waterfalls. There's also a trout pond (stocked with fish), grassy lawns for lawn games (including horseshoes), and a swimming pool with a view to a butterfly garden and the mountains beyond. At night, there's a bonfire to relax around, while inside there might be storytelling or music. You could easily spend 4-5 days here. Nearby, there are also attractions like Smoky Mountain National Park, and I heard that the expedition led by the grandmother was headed to Dollywood over the border in Tennessee. Asheville and the Biltmore are also easy drives. Dinner and breakfast are included with the room, and are served either buffet or family-style. The food may not be gourmet, but it's good mountain comfort food and there's plenty of it. The jams are crafted on-site and are available at the gift shop to take home, as are other souvenirs. At the end of the day, it was a wonderful escape and a terrific value, and we wish we could have stayed longer. Couples may want to stay in a cabin or at the Silverbelle lodge (the patios are great for relaxing). The cabins are well-equipped for families and large groups. The rooms in the main guest house, where we stayed, were charming but the walls are a little thin. The main guest house feels more like a mountain escape experience while the rooms in the Silverbelle had more updated and modern bathrooms/showers. When we go back, we'll probably shoot for May or September for the flowers/fall colors- but the cool temps at that altitude were also a nice break from the summer heat.

Room Tip: Silverbelle lodge rooms are more modern and have patios, while rooms in the main lodge are more rust...
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank NavyCJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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102 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
North Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
75 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2012 via mobile

We went with a group of 20 for the steak cookout on Wednrsday. The ranch is at 5000 feet elevation, fabulous views, cool temperatures. We ate outside at picnic tables under a large covered patio, though inside seating was available as well. Steaks and chicken were grilled beside the patio while we had cocktails purchased from their bar, with a good selection of beer and wine, some liquors. Hot artichoke dip served during this time. Dinner was buffet style, and included corn on the cob, baked white and sweet potatoes, green beans, mixed green salad, two other salads, hot rolls, steak and chicken from the grill. Deserts included fresh sliced peaches, home made blackberry pie, blackberry cobbler, and several cakes. The food was good, not great, copious quantities. Go for the whole experience, relaxed, casual, country style, open air, lots of good food and drink, wonderful location, and you won't be disappointed.

Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank g0lfntravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mary C, Manager at The Cataloochee Ranch, responded to this review, 28 July 2012
Thank you so much for your review, I am glad you had a good time and look forward to seeing you again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Loganville, Georgia
Level 6 Contributor
107 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 July 2012

There must be something special about a place you return to year after year for decades, a place you bring your children to, and then your grandchildren to. The Cataloochee Ranch is just such a place. We have stayed in nearly all the cabins, Silverbell lodge and many of the rooms in the ranch house. We have visited in different seasons. We have ridden the trails and hiked the mountain paths (into adjacent Smoky Mountain National Park). We have never been anything but completely satisfied with our stay. As others have written, the scenery is simply outstanding - some of the best mountain views anywhere. Once you arrive you feel no need to leave and do other things - though there are ample opportunities in nearby Maggie Valley or Waynesville on those rainy days. We have stayed at guest ranches all over the US, and the Cataloochee Ranch remains our favorite.

Room Tip: Chestnut Cabin is our favorite for a family of four.
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Bob L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 June 2012

We snuck out of town to the Cataloochee Ranch to enjoy the beautiful scenery and some quiet time. We didn't expect it to be this fantastic! Everyone is so friendly and welcoming!! The food was fantastic; home cooked dinner and breakfast did not leave you hungry. Forget about saving room for dessert, the stomach stretch will be worth it. Music with Jeanie was such a treat! We went horseback riding and Alex was awesome. The view is unbeatable and the quality time spent together will have us coming back soon!

  • Stayed May 2012
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Helpful?
1 Thank italstal222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alpharetta, Georgia
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2012

We almost didn’t stay here due to a couple older bad reviews. That would have been a mistake. My daughter wanted to ride for the whole weekend and fortunately Chattahoochee had an opening. We rode two mornings and one afternoon. We did the Navitat zipline the day before (way worth the time and money) and went whitewater rafting the day after we left Cattahoochee.

1 - the views are SPECTACULAR; if your soul needs to get recharged by being reminded how beautiful the great outdoors is then this is a great place to go.

2 – these are the best overall “publically available” horses we’ve ever seen (my daughter is a big rider/jumper so she knows good horses when she sees them). They had horses for the beginner through advanced. On one trip we discovered that one group of riders was with us who classified themselves as better riders than they should have which normally would have meant limited trotting and no cantering, so one of the two guides with us said “let’s break off and go another route where we can let them run a bit” How AWESOME is that?

3 – rooms/cabins. We stayed in the Silver bell lodge and the room was attractive, spacious and clean with all expected amenities and the best views ever.

4 – food – OK I’m a bit of a spoiled snob as I travel the world with a very generous expense account so I get to eat very well. The first night was terrific with BBQ ribs and Chicken, excellent salads and casseroles with an extensive and tasty selection of deserts. Breakfast both days where typical: lots of fresh fruits, oatmeal/grits, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, juices and coffee. Lunch was grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, beans, etc.+ many deserts. Dinner the second night was steaks, salads, potatoes, etc. {while not Ruth’s Chris they were tasty} + multi-deserts and all served with some of the best views ever. Yes; it’s true this is not the place to go if you’re solely going there to eat, in which case might I recommend almost anywhere in Italy or France, but the food quality ranged from good to most excellent which is more than I can say for the great nation of England :>) {sorry about that mate – no offense to your mum}

5 – wine – the selection was very good AND the pour was almost to the rim so for $8 I got what a typical restaurant would charge $15-$20.

6 – fishing – the pond was full of fish and in 90 minutes we had caught 6 nice trout. They’ll actually let you take them to the kitchen, if you like, then serve them to you for lunch or dinner. We did catch and release however.

7 – nice – the staff ranged from very nice to exceptionally helpful.

8 – did I mention the views yet? Again hiking and riding their trails is fabulous as is simply sitting in a chair looking out across the mountains.

I wrote this review because I didn’t want anyone to miss out on a great time. If another ranch had been available we would have gone there based on the couple older, poor reviews we saw. There’s no accounting for personal taste or demeanor so I always try to determine how the reviewer might be biased as I read both glowing and scathing reviews as should you.

All that said, I’m glad we went and we’ll be back. BTW, it seemed that 2/3’s of the people there had previously been there and I can see why they have a large amount of repeat clientele.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Mark B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Georgia
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 February 2012

We had a great time at the Ranch. We first booked a room that was upstairts, very small I must say, so we decided to upgrade to a better one for an extra $20. This room was spacious, had a jacuzzi and a beautiful view of the hills. Breakfast and dinner were included, the food was good. There was one thing that made me and my husband a very unconfortable. Dinner is served family style, so everybody shares the platters. Well, there was this big family sitting with us at the table and I think they didn't know that we are supposed to share, because it felt very unconfortable and awkard when I asked them to pass one of the platters. I think the staff needs to make sure everyone understands how everything goes so nobody feels bad.
Nobody else spent that night in the Main Ranch House, so we were all by ourselves, wich was nice. We enjoyed the fire place, they told us we can help ourseves to water and pepsi in the kitchen.
Its a wonderful place to stay, the surroundings are beautiful, itis very peaceful and relaxing. The ski area is a mile away, not bad! The cabin itself is beautiful, solid wood everywhere, very rustic. We booked our ski tickets fromthem too, and we got a great deal. $75 per person (ski lift + equipment rental + a beginner class) from 1pm to 10 pm.

  • Stayed February 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
4 Thank anaderol_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Huntsville, Alabama
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 February 2012

We have been thinking of checking out skiing in the Northeast for a few months, but waited till the last minute to plan this weekend get away. We weren't sure if the skiing would be a bust or not so we needed a place that would be entertaining regardless. We were not disappointed. We opted to rent rooms at the main ranch house, so we could be close to the action. Besides having the greatroom as our living room we felt as if the entire staff was there to wait on us alone. There was always snacks and drinks available at our request and when dinner was served it was 10 steps from our door. The hugh fireplace was kept constantly a blaze and we found it quite comfortable to sit at the coffe table and play games. There was always someone to chat if your friendly. We love this place and the ski package they offered us for the weekend. $75 a day got your equipment, all day lift tickets (9am to 10pm) and a beginner class if you wanted it. Because we stayed at the ranch we were able to pick up all of our equipment the night before and therefore avoid the lines on Saturday morning. What a difference it made!! The only thing we couldn't get ahead of time was the beginner class. I got up early saturday morning (6:30) threw on some clothes and drove right up to the ticket building, put our kids on the list and went back to the ranch house to have a leisurely breakfast before heading over for a full day of skiing. We arrived at 9am and the lines were impossibly long, but no worries we didn't have to wait in any of them. Our kids went off to boarding class and we hit the slopes. Since this review is about Cataloochee Ranch I won't detail the skiing here, but it was decent. Similar to spring skiing in Colorado. Lots of slush, but it was 56 degrees after all.
At lunch we stayed on the slopes and took advantage of the "little red wagon" lunch truck sent over from the Ranch. The same staff that over see's the Ranch kitchen works this portable lunch wagon. They recognized our family and with big smiles asked if we would like to charge our luch to our room account or pay cash. We choose to pay cash, but thought the charge account would have been a hugh convenience if we had choosen not to carry cash. Around every corner the staff of the Ranch was working to make sure we had the relaxing vacation we were hoping for. It was worth the extra money we spent to enjoy this wonderful property and the southern hospitality they are known for.
One area that has room for improvement was the food. We are not gourmets, but like most people we know good food when its served. We all agreed the food was meadiocre at best. We used a lot of salt and pepper to help with flavor. they did have a wonderful offering of jams and jellys with the warm dinner rolls that were served and the custard pie they served for dessert was delicious. Breakfast was a dull affair; with just cold items, cereal, muffins, yogurt and the like. We did ask to take some extra muffins with us to the slopes and the staff encouraged us to take whatever we liked. They seem to really enjoy what they do and know that its their service that makes the difference between having a good time and having a great one! We incourage anyone who is considering this as a possible destination to book it without hesitation.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Galax & Trillium rooms. the beds are flat and hard compared to what we normall...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank nebrsmithers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Cataloochee Ranch

Property: The Cataloochee Ranch
Address: 119 Ranch Dr., Maggie Valley, NC 28751-8509
Phone Number:
Region: United States > North Carolina > North Carolina Mountains > Maggie Valley
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 21 Speciality Lodging in Maggie Valley
Number of rooms: 24
Also Known As:
The Cataloochee Ranch Hotel Maggie Valley

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