To say that Cataloochee Valley is a special place would be an understatement.

Elk in Catalooche Valley
Lori Douthat – Copyright 2019

Nestled among rugged 6,000 foot peaks, this extremely remote valley was once the largest and most prosperous settlement in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, even surpassing Cades Cove.

Today it sports a thriving elk herd and some of the best wildlife watching in the Park. Especially in the early morning and evening hours, the big open fields in the valley will have elk, white tailed deer, wild turkey, black bear, butterflies and many species of birds. Do not enter the fields when elk or bear are present. They are both big and dangerous!

There are still nine historic buildings in the valley from the 1800’s and early 1900’s. There is a school, church, barn and six homes that are within a short walk. The school has a peculiar history. Beech Grove School House is the very school that the government had to rebuild after the residents of the community burned the old school house. The government officials in Waynesville had denied their request for a new school. At this time the community made its living by farming, especially growing and selling apples and it had even started a tourism industry boarding fishermen and people that wanted to vacation in the mountains. Cataloochee Creek is still known for its abundant population of wild trout.

The main entrance road to Cataloochee Valley, Cove Creek Road, is a winding mountain road with steep drops and no guardrails. Three miles of this road is gravel and is basically the way it was when it was built in the late 1800’s by the early farmers. Cove Creek Road is scheduled to be closed November 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020 for repairs of a slide outside the park. The only other access to the Valley is to take Route 32 from Cosby. This route will take an hour spent on a rough gravel road and is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Come visit and explore the beauty and lifestyle of East Tennessee.

Excited about the area and want more information, visit or call 800-747-0713.