Date of Stay: Friday August 11 – Friday September 8, 2017 (1 month)
Rate: $625/month plus electric ($105 for us)
Website: Great Outdoors RV Resort
321 Thumpers Trail (gps 35.233108 83.347896)
Franklin, NC 28734
Description: Located just north of Franklin (far southwestern tip of NC) on Hwy 441/23, this park has easy access for big rigs. Paved roadways and gravel sites with FHU(50A) and cable tv. We were on site 6 and had good data signal with Verizon but had to drive up the hill to make phone calls. Nice office building for check-in and LP filling and a separate clubhouse near the heated swimming pool. This area is surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest with the Chattahoochee National Forest just south of here in Georgia. The Appalachian Trail runs nearby so there are lots of trails and nature to enjoy here.
Trash and Recycle: Dumpster near the exit but no recycle.
Activities: Tricia and Dan stayed on site 3 so we enjoyed our time together. We had several shared meals, hikes, car hikes and relaxing times with them. One of the first hikes I did with T&D was actually several short hikes along a narrow curvy dirt road (FS67) to see Laurel Falls, Mooney Falls, Albert Mountain Fire Tower, and Pickens Nose. Tricia’s sister Barbra joined them for a few days and we hiked to Williams Pulpit on the Wallace Branch of the Bartram Trail and also the Tennessee River Greenway in Franklin together. It was time for some car hikes with Gin and T&D. We took FS67 just for the adventure because it is a very curvy mountain dirt road. We all went to the town of Highlands (too rich for my blood) by way of Hwy 64 which is curvy and goes right by some waterfalls. When I made the reservation last winter, I was told that we would be here for the “big event” on August 21. When I asked what that was, I was pleasantly surprised when I was told about the total solar eclipse. We were in the path of totality and it was awesome! The rv park had live music at the clubhouse but we hung out with T&D and it was great! Another car hike found us at Fontana Dam near Bryson City and the Road to Nowhere which is a decaying dead end road in the Great Smoky Mountain NP. Time for another hike so I joined T&D on Jackrabbit Trail on Chatuge Lake. We also found Bell Mountain near Hiawassee, GA with such beautiful views that we had to take Gin on a car hike there. Although it is a paved road leading to it, it is still narrow, steep and curvy. A couple more hikes included Rufus Morgan Trail and Wayah Bald Tower with the AT winding beside the dirt road leading to it (FS69). We all went to Bryson City one day for a ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in an open air car to the Nantahala Gorge. It was nice but noisy. One of the latter car hikes took us all to a couple of farms in GA and SC (Hillside Orchard… kid friendly, and Chattooga Belle Farm… beautiful, adult friendly). On Labor Day, I went with T&D to Tallulah River Gorge State Park in GA. The hiking trails have several overlooks to soak up the beauty of the gorge but there are over 1000 stair-steps along the trails and a suspension bridge! We actually left here a couple of days earlier than planned because Hurricane Irma was coming up Florida and the forecast was for a lot of rain in the western part of NC.
Great Outdoor RV Resort, Franklin NC
Entrance to the rv park Office on Total Solar Eclipse day
Swimming pool Deck of clubhouse
On site 6
Laurel Falls and Mooney Falls
Nice wooded hike by a creek to Laurel Falls
More hiking to find the reward of Laurel Falls
It was a short trail to Mooney Falls
Albert Mountain Fire Tower
Fog is rolling in at the fire tower, still a nice view
The fire tower only has three flights of stairs…
…but that’s high enough for Tricia and me. Dan’s just a billy goat!
Goofballs! Wonderful view along the trail
Wooded trail has some burned spots from last years fire but we got a rhododendron hug from nature!
Views near the top
Fog rolled in and it was total white out… no view at all!
Williams Pulpit on Wallace Branch of Bartram Trail
Nice hike in the woods with Dan, Barbra and Tricia
Mostly up hill to get there then back down… I’m so proud of you!
Gorgeous view from the pulpit!
Waterfalls along Hwy 64
Bust Your Butt Falls
Dry Falls has a nice parking lot so that you can take the walkway behind the falls
Syl, Tricia and Dan waving up to Gin Yes we stayed dry
Judaculla Rock Petroglyphs also found on this car hike
Total Solar Eclipse
Tricia and Gin Dan and Gin Gin and Syl
No pics of the actual eclipse because I didn’t want to take a chance of messing up my camera
Fontana Dam and the Road to Nowhere
Fontana Lake T&D at an overlook of the lake
Fontana Dam and the Visitor Center
Road to Nowhere was supposed to go around Fontana Lake but the government never completed it
Jackrabbit Trail on Chatuge Lake
Gentle wooded trail but shared with mountain bikers
Lunch break on Chatuge Lake
Bell Mountain, Hiawassee GA
Top of Bell Mountain is scarred due to a mining fiasco
Deck atop the mountain
The views of Chatuge Lake are gorgeous!
Worth driving the steep curvy narrow road!
Especially nice to share with Gin on a picture perfect day!
Rufus Morgan Trail
Nice wooded loop trail to a waterfall with a little cascade along the way
Syl and Tricia at the main waterfall… Dan’s in the middle pic but quite small
Wayah Bald Observation Tower
Fire damage from Fall 2016 Paved walk to the tower Truck on the Appalachian Trail
Wayah Bald Observation tower with the roof burned off… the AT goes right around it
View from the tower on a cloudy day
Great Smoky Mountain Railroad
Inside our open air car Parked for a break at Nantahala Gorge
It takes two diesel locomotives to pull the train in these mountains
Love looking around the curves but lots of kudzu
Great day to look out the window at Fontana Lake on the trestle bridge
Fontana Lake That’s the front of the train!
Folks rafting the Nantahala River Train parked next to the river rapids
We enjoyed our day riding a piece of history
Tallulah River Gorge
Nice trail L’Eau d’Or Falls Hurricane Falls
Lots of stair steps! Suspension bridge too!
Yes, we did it!
Beautiful day at gorgeous Tallulah Gorge!