Planning a Cataloochee Valley visit to view the elk during fall rut?
While the Cataloochee section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open and can be reached like normal via Cove Creek Road off Jonathan Creek, visitors can’t drive all the way to the end of the road once they’re down in the valley.
Flooding in late spring washed out a huge gulley in the road making it impassable. Vehicles can only go as far as Palmer Chapel. Visitors can park there and walk the rest of the way to see the fields where elk typically graze.
There have been high levels of visitation recently, especially during mid-day and on the weekends, so visitors planning trips during that time should brace themselves for longer waits.