Cataloochee is, in some respects, the other Cades Cove. In other respects, it is quite different. A valley surrounded by mountains, Cataloochee was once the most populous community in what is now Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Its name is derived from the Cherokee’s word for the area, Gadalutsi, which means “standing up in a row,” or “wave upon wave.”
Like Cades Cove, Cataloochee is a cove surrounded by wooded mountains. Historic buildings, including a school, churches, a barn, and several homesteads, provide a sense of human inhabitation. In 2001, the park service introduced a herd of elk in Cataloochee; elk are most likely to be seen in the early morning or evenings.
Those who make the journey to Cataloochee will be rewarded with scenes of an idyllic mountain valley and notable trout fishing, as well as facilities to camp, hike, and picnic.
Getting to Cataloochee
Unlike Cades Cove, Cataloochee is not crowded. The most obvious reason for this is that getting here is a bit of a challenge. The easiest way to get to Cataloochee is to take I-40 east into North Carolina. At exit 20, it’s 11 miles along Cove Creek Road to Cataloochee. The last two miles of your journey are along a gravel road, which is fine for standard passenger vehicles but slow going nonetheless.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition