RV Rental Cherokee National Forest, TN

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Spanning 655,598 acres Cherokee National Forest straddles both the states of Tennessee and North Carolina. It lies about 27 miles away from Elizabethton, TN, and 36 miles from Johnson City. Nestled deep in Southern Appalachian Mountain Range, this is the only forest in the state of Tennessee. It was designated in 1920. The forest is named for the Cherokee Indians, who lived here in the past. Six hundred thirty-one thousand seven hundred fifteen acres lie in Eastern Tennessee while 377 acres lie in Western North Carolina. Great Smoky Mountains National Park bisects the forest into southern and northern regions. It touches ten counties, including Polk and Sullivan. Cherokee National Forest offers a mix of mountainous and plain terrain.

This vast forest features waterfalls, lakes, rivers, scenic byways, and streams. Book a motorhome rental in Elizabethton and enjoy land activities, including hiking, biking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and hunting. The Ocoee Scenic Byway and the Cherohala Skyway pass through the forest. Rivers and lakes offer plenty of aquatic activities, including whitewater paddling, boating, fishing, and windsurfing.

Discover Cherokee National Forest

Getting Outdoors

A fun way to enjoy the forest is to hike some of the 500 miles of trails. The 80-foot high Laurel Falls is located just off the Appalachian Trail. The hike to Margareta Falls is a popular trek in the Cherokee National Forest. One hundred fifty miles the Appalachian National Scenic Trail meanders through the forest.

Love animals? Cherokee National Forest plays hosts to hundreds of animals. Once you set your foot in the forest, you are assured of up-close encounters with the animals. Visitors can see turtles, beavers, squirrels, foxes, river otters, coyotes, and bobcats. Cherokee National Forest is a birder's haven. Most common birds found here include towhees, peregrine falcons, warblers, blue jays and mourning doves.

Visitors can fish in the forests streams, lakes, and rivers, which are regularly stocked with rainbow trout. Other species include brook trout, bass, crappie, brown trout, and bluegill. If the kids are coming along for the Elizabethton RV rental vacation, consider visiting Cherokee National Forest during the annual Cherokee National Forest Kids Fishing Day.

For white water rafting enthusiasts, there are multiple spots to practice on your skills. There are seven water rafting rivers in Cherokee National Forest. They include Ocoee River, Pigeon River, Nolichucky River, French Broad River, Pigeon River, and Tellico River.

Camping at Cherokee National Forest

When you book a camper rental in Carter County, you’ll be glad to find out that there is no shortage of campgrounds in Cherokee National Forest. There are over 25 campgrounds available.

Indian Boundary Recreation Area is one of the most popular campgrounds here. Located adjacent to the 96- acre Indian Boundary Lake, this campground has 87 sites. Amenities offered include electric hookups, a dumping station, restrooms, and water spigots.

Located adjacent to McKay Lake Chilhowie Campground has 78 campsites. Most sites have electric hookups. Other amenities include a dump station, restrooms, and showers. Whether you prefer camping with an RV or pitching a tent, Parksville Lake Campground will accommodate you. Forty-one sites are available, of which 17 sites offer electric hookups. Campground amenities include showers, a dump station, and potable water.

Perched on the shores of the 7,580-acre Holston Lake Little Oak Campground has 72 sites divided into four loops. Amenities offered include a bathhouse, a dump station, and vault toilets.

Exploring the Area

Whether you’re interested in historical sites, local events, gardens, or zoo, your RV rental in Elizabethton will offer you the freedom to explore it all at your own speed. If you’re a fan of history, you should consider driving your camper rental to Tipton-Haynes Historic Site. Spreading over 45 acres, this site tells the history of early Northeast Tennessee. It features historic buildings dating back to 1784, a cave, and lots of artifacts.

Should you love animals, you absolutely must make time for a trip to Brights Zoo during your RV rental trip. Located in Limestone, this zoo offers shelter for lots of animals, most of which are endangered species. They include capybara, giraffe, sloths, red pandas, ibises, flamingos, camels, and goats.

Looking for a place to relax? Botanical Gardens at Asheville is a great place to visit with your RV rental. Located in Asheville, NC, this 10-acre garden features meadows and woodlands. Some of the native plant species found here include trees, herbs, shrubs, and wildflowers.

When renting a motorhome near Elizabethton, consider spending a few hours at Tweetsie Railroad. Located in Boone, NC, this is a lovely place with many family-friendly activities. Fun activities include carousel rides, train rides, arcade games, and exciting shows.

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Popular nearby hiking trails and campgrounds

  • Hiking TrailLocation
  • Conasauga Falls Trail, TNTellico Plains, TN
  • Warriors Passage Trail, TNTellico Plains, TN
  • Ivy Trail, TNTellico Plains, TN
  • Bald River Trail, TNTellico Plains, TN
  • Coker Creek Falls Trail, TNTurtletown, TN
  • Turtletown Falls Trail, TNTurtletown, TN
  • North Shoal Creek Falls, TNTurtletown, TN
  • Panther Branch Trail, TNTellico Plains, TN
  • John Muir National Recreation Trail: Hiwassee River Segment, TNTurtletown, TN
  • Gee Creek Trail, TNBenton, TN

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