Cataloochee Auto Tour

This 11-mile tour passes an historic school, home, and church on the North Carolina-side of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cataloochee is bounded on the north by Mount Sterling Ridge and on the south by the Cataloochee divide. Furthermore Cataloochee is enclosed by Balsam Mountain to the west and Scottish Mountains on the east. For these reasons, Cataloochee is more difficult to get to than other areas of the Park.

Before the arrival of the Park in 1934, Cataloochee consisted of farmland maintained by an agrarian community of approximately 1,000 people. While few of the original structures remain, Big Cataloochee, the largest of several coves in the area, is considered to be North Carolina’s “Cades Cove”. The Caldwell and Woody homes, the Will Messer barn, Beech Grove School and Palmer Church in CataloocheeService.

The entrance to Cataloochee is via old NC 284 (Cove Creek Road), which is immediately south of exit 20 on I-40. From the south or east, follow US 276 to Dellwood, NC, and turn right to continue on US 276. Go approximately 5 miles and turn left on Cove Creek Road. Take note—there is no sign to mark Cove Creek Road. At approximately one-half mile, the pavement ends. After another half-mile, you will come to a fork in the road—the Cove Creek Road continues to the right. You will climb approximately 5 miles to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park boundary at Cove Creek Gap. Continue on about 2 miles. Turn left onto the new Cataloochee Road, cross Cataloochee Creek and on to Cataloochee Campground, which has 27 sites for vehicle camping.

The Boogerman Loop Trailhead is accessible from this area and is a worthwhile hike for the entire family. Expect this trip to take the entire day, so pack a picnic lunch and enjoy your day in the Great Smoky Mountains.