Posted 7/5/2011 9:57 PM (#58861) Subject: Heintooga Round Bottom Road - Smoky Mtn National Park
All, I first learned of this road from a post by Dirt Dabber so he deserves the credit. I just got back from a 600 mile round trip ride from Columbus, Ga to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Over by Cherokee, NC, pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) beginning at it's Southern terminus in the National Park. You ride north for roughly 11 miles through beautiful scenery, while every other visitor is taking the highly trafficked road up to Newfound Gap (which is beautiful in it's own right). You take the Balsam Mountain Campground exit after 11 miles on the BRP and ride about 5 miles along an equally beautiful road. When you reach the campground, ride one mile further to reach the picnic area where the entrance to the Heintooga Round Bottom Road begins. It extends, one way, through the National Park as an unimproved, but well graded forest road. You'll have relatively undisturbed peace and quiet the whole ride. We went over the 4th of July weekend, and rode the Heintooga on July 3d, 2011. The speed limit is 15 mph the whole way, but you'll enjoy it more just cruising slowly and enjoying the views. We only saw 4 cars driving the road the entire 3 hours we were on the road. There were other places that served as parking lots for hikers, and you'll see some cars there as well. Towards the lower section, there was evidence of horse travel on the road and we passed one set of "horse campers". Great road, and one we'll do again. It connects to another road that leads you back to Cherokee NC which you'll pass through at the beginning of the trip and makes for a place to grab a bite to eat.
Ride safe and enjoy the ride longer!
Go through Cherokee to get to the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP)
View along BRP
There are many scenic overlooks in just the first 11 miles. This one is the sidecar view.
On the road to Balsam Mountain Campground
Entrance to Heintooga Round Bottom Road
About one mile into the road.
The road follows a trout stream for many miles as you near the end.
Old family cemetary near end of the road. You have to take a short climb to find it.
Posted 7/27/2011 9:22 PM (#59254 - in reply to #58861) Subject: Re: Heintooga Round Bottom Road - Smoky Mtn National Park
I was so disturbed by what I percieved to be the poor appearance of the cemetary that I wrote the Great Smoky Mountain National Park service and provided the above photo. I demonstrated a nack for showing my ignorance every now and then. I learned from Alan Sumeriski, Chief of Facility Management, Great Smoky Mountains NP that:
"This cemetery is maintained once a year, along with more than 150 other backcountry cemeteries within the Park. The Sequoia Indian cemetery was prepared for Memorial Day visitation this year by clearing away all debris, fallen tree limbs, and removal of leaf litter. It is the tradition in many of the local cemeteries that we “remound” the graves to make the appearance of the grave to be newly interned. This practice may have led you to believe the graves are eroding but, just the opposite, they had been freshly mounded."
So...the grave site is supposed to look that way. I learn something new every day...but that's always better than the alternative.
Posted 3/17/2012 10:45 PM (#63855 - in reply to #58861) Subject: Re: Heintooga Round Bottom Road - Smoky Mtn National Park
Location: Ball Ground, GA.
I have ridden some of the Blue Ridge Parkway last year and will try to follow up on this area this summer. Looks very interesting.
I was raised in Asheville , live in the NGA area around Ball Ground, so it is a relatively short trip for me. Great pix! Thanks.