DIRECTIONS TO BIG CREEK GROUP CAMPGROUND: NOTE I 40-if you got on I40 at exit 275-that means you are 275 miles to the Tennessee border and +/- 5 more miles and +/-20 minutes to the campsite.
1. take I 40 EXIT 451 (first exit in Tenn.) 2. CROSS the PIGEON RIVER on the bridge. 3.LEFT when you get off the bridge and FOLLOW THE PIGEON RIVER UPSTREAM, the road curves right away from the river at the POWER PLANT. CONTINUE STRAIGHT THROUGH a 4 WAY intersection (there may be a shop+horse lot here) and follow the road into the park past the ranger station and straight on to the campground and look for the bath house. BEAR LEFT at the bath house for about 150' and park in our group campsite.
FOOD-ALL FOOD, COOLERS,etc. must be locked in your cars ANYTIME it is unattended, maybe even toothpaste,etc.that may have an odor that may attract vermin: bears, skunks, racoons, alligators, mice, henrys, or whatever. DRIVERS-BRING extra key(s) for riders in case you are on different hikes, sleep times, etc. so they can access their food, etc.
BIG CREEK CAMPGROUND is at 1700', can be chilly-bring some warm clothes, cap, gloves, raingear, etc. Many hikes will require good raingear, layers-something warm for the weather-fleece- synthetics best-avoid blue jeans: heavy cotton can get wet and cold with rain, your lunch, sturdy footware-boots best, maybe trek pole, etc.
DID you know the GREAT SMOKY MT. NP has the WORLD'S GREATEST BIODIVERSITY OUTSIDE THE TROPICS!
!www.nps.gov/grsm/ then to camping on right, then scroll down to group camp and then to Big Creek then click on reserve now for description of our campground facilities, etc. I will post good directions, more info, etc. the week of the event.
This RSVP is for Big Creek site. Big Creek is located on the northern tip of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Big Creek allows easy access to Mt Sterling (via Baxter Ridge Trail), Mouse Creek Falls/Midnight Hole (via the Big Creek Trail) and Mt Cammerer (via the Chestnut Branch/AT trail). THOG has used Big Creek in several years past and this site does not disappoint.
In fact, the views from Mt Cammerer are among the finest in the southeast!
Having said that, Mt Cammerer and Mt Sterling are considered strenuous hikes, but the effort is worth it!
Nearby activities of interest include Cataloochee Valley (1 hour away) for elk viewing and Max Patch (1 hour away) which offers spectacular views.
This is "car camping" You will need to provide your own sleeping arrangements (sleeping bag, tent), food and water. There are NO SHOWERS! Showers are nearby at Standing Bear campground. Weather can be a bit nippy in October, so warmer weather gear is advised. Food and supplies are less than 20-40 minutes away and traditionally some members choose to eat out on Saturday night. Cost of the campsite will be shared among participants. Water is available at our campsite and a bathroom with flush toliets+cold water sink a few steps away. In addition to your car camp gear: BRING: food for lunch-snacks on hikes, raingear-even a $2 poncho, and gear for hiking.
RSVPs will be available for signup starting on September 9, 2013 at 7PM. Organizers of THOG may add themselves to the list at anytime, as long as spots are available. If you RSVP and have a history of unreliable behavior (ie no shows or last minute cancels), your RSVP may be removed without warning. If you RSVP "yes" it is your expectation that you are going on this trip (ie you have already ensured that you are not working, or have other commitments that weekend). Last minute cancellations with excuses like "I forgot something came up" will get you on the verboten list for future events!
HIKES: 1.MT. CAMMERER 12 miles up and back, 3000' elevation gain via Chesnut Branch trail and the AT. Strenuous, but great views from tower at top. I will probably lead a hike there Sat. if weather is good.RAINGEAR of some type required. 2. BAXTER CREEK starts near our campsite and goes all the way up to the top of Mt. Sterling-also Strenuous, but can be done for shorter distances out and back. 3. BIG CREEK TRAIL starts at our campsite and follows the fire road up the creek-go as far as you want and come back-5 miles out to Low Gap Trail and contiues on -beautiful creek-good for short hike or long, Sat. or Sunday. 4. Drive to CATALOOCHEE VALLEY (at least one hour on sometimes one way dirt rd.) to view Elk in the meadows, old church+farmsteads, and trails: Boogerman -Caldwell Fork Loop 7.5 miles or just follow it upstream-another beautiful creek. This is a good Saturday option. 5. MAX PATCH BALD: 360 Degree views from top, AT crosses the top, WOW! for views. Other side of I40 and about a hour drive on dirt rd. to park. A good option for Sunday return.
WAIT LIST: PLAN ON COMING. IF you do not get a spot in the group camp, there are options:1. www.standingbearfarm.com/ is nearby+/- 4 miles and will have tent spaces for sure for $15/night for 2 people incl. hot showers, internet, etc. Maybe bed in bunkhouse $15 night. Close enough for you to cook, enjoy campfire, hike with the groupetc. [masked] 2. Individual park campground right next to group camp-12 sites first come first served. $14 night for 4-2 cars, 2 tents. Usually there are sites available. phone me for help.