Hiking Project Logo

gem icon Cataloochee Valley Wildlife Viewpoint [Suggest Edits]

15 votes
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Description

While the Great Smoky Mountains offer a variety of native species for visitors to observe, few capture the imagination in the same way that the park's elk population does. Starting in 2001, elk were released into the valley in an effort to restore this majestic creature to the area. These large animals were mostly eradicated from the area before the 1850's. Restoration efforts began with 25 animals that were imported from the Tennessee - Kentucky border. The following year, the National Park Service imported another 27 animals to bolster the herd's numbers.

These beautiful animals are awe-inspiring, and observing the gentle giants in the fields of the Cataloochee Valley can create lasting memories. In the fall, bull elk display their signature antlers, and the fall is when the animals are most active. Bugles from bull elk courting potential mates echo through the valley, and can be heard up to 1 mile away. The spring months allow visitors to observe cows with newborn calves, and the spotted youngsters are the most captivating residents of the park. Photographers hoping to capture bulls, babies, or harems of cows will have the best luck at dawn and dusk when the animals are most active. During the heat of the day, most elk take refuge in the shaded portions of the park.

Please remember that the animals in Great Smoky are wild, and should NEVER be approached. Use binoculars, telephoto lenses, or sighting scopes to get a closer view, but please refrain from disturbing the animals, or from feeding them. Animals that are fed by humans are usually euthanized.

On the Road: While elk often move through the whole valley, this viewpoint can be reached easily by car.

Family Friendly: Youngsters will love the chance to see these incredible animals, and will also love the improbable noise that these large animals make.

Gem Type: Viewpoint

Shared by:
Mikhaila Redovian

0 Comments

You & This Gem

Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jun 5, 2022
Robbie Weeks
May 15, 2022
Kelly Champion-Smith
Elk viewing area
May 13, 2022
Haden Smith
Turkeys
Apr 29, 2022
Timothy Hine
Saw 3 female turkeys only
Oct 23, 2021
Erin Marasco
Aug 26, 2021
John Silvers
Keep
Jul 30, 2021
Qing Pan
Jun 17, 2021
Tom Herr
Saw 5 elk and explored a 1903 home and school. Long winding road to get there.

Nearby Gems

gem Favorite Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower - located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the Appalachian Trail. For a day hike, start at Cosby Campground and take Lower Gap Trail ( about 11.1 miles r/t).

Mt. Cammerer Lookout Tower

(19) Newport, TN
gem Favorite Inside the mill

Mingus Mill

(26) Cherokee, NC
gem Favorite Rays and ridges from Waterrock Knob. Photo by Robert Stephens.

Waterrock Knob

(9) Maggie…, NC
gem Favorite Hen Wallow Falls - courtesy of the National Park Service.

Hen Wallow Falls

(23) Newport, TN

Nearby Trails

8.0 mi 12.8 km Ramsey Cascades Trail
Difficult
Gatlinburg, TN
Difficult
Gatlinburg, TN
Minor Issues
Update
Muddy
93 days ago
70 
17.7 mi 28.6 km Mt. Sterling Loop (Big Creek / Baxter Creek)
Difficult
Cove Creek, NC
Difficult
Cove Creek, NC
Unknown
Update
55 
10.8 mi 17.4 km Mt. Cammerer from Low Gap
Difficult
Newport, TN
Difficult
Newport, TN
Unknown
Update
45 
1.5 mi 2.4 km Max Patch Short Loop
Intermediate
Marshall, NC
Intermediate
Marshall, NC
Unknown
Update
27 
102.3 mi 164.7 km AT: Smoky Mountain Hiking Club (TN/NC)
Intermediate/Difficult
Robbinsville, NC
Intermediate/Difficult
Robbinsville, NC
Minor Issues
Update
Mostly Dry, Fallen Trees
56 days ago
14 
6.6 mi 10.6 km Baxter Creek Trail
Difficult
Cove Creek, NC
Difficult
Cove Creek, NC
Unknown
Update
14 
34.7 mi 55.8 km Tricorner Knob Loop via Appalachian Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Cove Creek, NC
Intermediate/Difficult
Cove Creek, NC
Unknown
Update
73.1 mi 117.6 km Smokies Challenge Adventure Run (SCAR)
Difficult
Robbinsville, NC
Difficult
Robbinsville, NC
Unknown
Update
6.7 mi 10.7 km Gabes Mountain Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Newport, TN
Intermediate/Difficult
Newport, TN
Unknown
Update
17 
0.6 mi 1.0 km Mount Cammerer Trail
Intermediate
Newport, TN
Intermediate
Newport, TN
Unknown
Update
Shared by Mikhaila Redovian on Aug 4, 2016. All Page Views: 2,005. Last Month: 14.