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Old 06-06-2011, 06:48 PM   #1
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Balsam Mountain Campground GSM NP

Has anyone stayed at Balsam Mountain Campground (Great Smoky Mountains National Park)? If so, please share your experience.

Specifically, how difficult is the drive from Cherokee, NC to the campground? Also, was your experience pleasant?

I'm planning to spend Father's Day week at Balsam ... we are pursuing cooler weather and a quiet boondock. Balsam's elevation is @ 5310 feet. I'm not finding much information or feedback searching the web ... I guess that reaffirms that the place will be quiet. However, I'd love to hear more about Balsam if any of you have been. The picture below is represented as being from the campground. Thank you in advance for any info.

BTW, yes, I searched the forum for information on Balsam ... I apologize in advance if I've missed information in another thread.
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:28 PM   #2
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Not sure if we have stayed there or not... can't remember. We have traveled to around Maggie Valley (NC), and have camped at Elkmont, which is a gorgeous campground in the Smokies near Gatlinburg. I'm sure you will be fine, although some of the roads can be a bit steep and a little windy. Great area, nice and cool. Catch the synchronized fire flies!
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:32 PM   #3
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These two shots were taken at Elkmont...
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:40 PM   #4
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My kids would be on cloud nine if they saw a bear climbing a tree and two on the ground like the ones in your picture!

We've stayed in Cades Cove multiple times (with the billion majestic fireflies) but my wife and I are really wanting some cool air and quiet. I was thinking Balsam Mountain because it is the highest elevation and is generator free.

BTW, your picture of that stream in Elkmont looks like something the kids would love.

It looks like we drive through the Cherokee Indian Reservation and then off onto a smaller and less travelled road to get to Balsam. Hopefully the road isn't too treacherous.
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:28 PM   #5
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Im sorry, this is probly to late. But for what its worth I have spent a lot of time in that area during the summer camping with my grandparents. Now as adults my wife and me try to take the kids there as much as we can.

As far as the campgrounds go we found Balsam nice and secluded but there is not much for the kids and its warmer there than Smoke Mount. Elk Mount ia very semaler to Balsam as far as we are concern, nice but harder to keep the kids happy.

Are favorite's are Smoke mount and Cads Cove. In that order. Cads Cove has the Loop,nice genarle store, horse back ride, plenty of wild life and has a lot of camp sites.

Smoke Mount dose not see as much wild life, has fewer number of camp site, no store, but it has the river that runs thru it and most of the time its high enough to tube down, specially after a ran. I have spent many of hour tubing in that river and have watched my children do the same. There is a lot to do around the Smoke Mount area, ten minuets from Cherokee, the parkway, great fishing area, trails, swimming holes, and don't blow off the welcoming center between Cherokee and Smoke Mount, that is the only place we have seen the Elk crossing and feeding out in the pasture and there is a great swimming area down the trail behind the old pig pen.

There is a road called Balsam Mtn Rd. You take it out of the Balsam camp and it one way down the mountain where you will come out behind the fish hatchery between Smoke mount and Cherokee. Its not just for any vehicle, but worth the trip. Take a lunch and swimming gear, there are a lot of places to play in the water or hike from.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:22 AM   #6
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Thanks Mallet.. We are in route now. We took the scenic rout through Tellico Plains and stopped off near Indian Boundary to break the trip. What's drawing us to Balsam is 5300' elevation, 20 degree temp difference from Alabama and quiet (it's a no hookup, no generator campground). Based on both of your recommendation above, we'll definitely try to get over to see what Smokemont is like and check it out. BTW, we frequent Cades Cove and love it ... but we are in pursuit of the lowest temps possible this week.
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:42 PM   #7
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For anyone who might care to know, our intended destination, Balsam Mountain Campground in the GSM National Park, pales in comparison to the Cherokee owned Mile High Campground 7 miles down the road ... it's on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, $20 per night, 5400' elevation, and views like nowhere else in the Smokies. Here's a pic out our window ...
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:18 PM   #8
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For anyone who might care to know, our intended destination, Balsam Mountain Campground in the GSM National Park, pales in comparison to the Cherokee owned Mile High Campground 7 miles down the road ... it's on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, $20 per night, 5400' elevation, and views like nowhere else in the Smokies. Here's a pic out our window ...
Nice. Thanks for sharing.

-Chris
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:10 PM   #9
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Love it! Never heard of it, but will definitely check out next time!
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:15 PM   #10
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That's a great find. thanks for the heads up! Did you get to see any elk? We are not going to get to go this year and I'm am so depressed about it. I found there web sit but couldn't tell if the offer any hook ups?
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Old 06-22-2011, 03:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mallet2442
That's a great find. thanks for the heads up! Did you get to see any elk? We are not going to get to go this year and I'm am so depressed about it. I found there web sit but couldn't tell if the offer any hook ups?
No hookups. They have hot showers if you need to conserve water. Trust me... when you get to this place, you won't care about hookups. Cool/cold air and amazing sunrises and sunsets ... made the s'mores taste better. Yes, lots of Elk and Turkeys.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:27 PM   #12
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No hookups. They have hot showers if you need to conserve water. Trust me... when you get to this place, you won't care about hookups. Cool/cold air and amazing sunrises and sunsets ... made the s'mores taste better. Yes, lots of Elk and Turkeys.
Wondering how your rig made it through the roads to this camp. Any information you could share would be great! I've spent many summers camping along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but would really love to find some place even more remote. Thanks, Derek
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Old 08-19-2011, 03:40 AM   #13
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Wondering how your rig made it through the roads to this camp. Any information you could share would be great! I've spent many summers camping along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but would really love to find some place even more remote. Thanks, Derek
Mile High Campground is on your left about seven miles before the entrance to Balsam Mountain Campground in GSM NP. If you can drive the Blue Ridge, you can get to Mile High. You can always call the hosts, they were nice people and answered my questions in advance of visiting. Here's the link to their site: http://www.campmilehigh.com/Milehigh.com/Index.html
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Old 08-19-2011, 06:19 AM   #14
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That looks like a wonderful getaway...we have land in NC and hope to spend more time there when we retire in a few years. This is now on our list of places to check out thanks to you and the forum. What a resource we all have here!
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