Thursday, July 28, 2016

Up the Creek: A nice campground in Pigeon Forge, TN

Three times in the past, when our children were younger, we travelled to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area and rented cabins.  The area is undeniably "touristy" and often crowded, but people are attracted by all of the things to do there.  Lots of shows, rides, amusements, and shops dot the multi-lane Parkway all the way from Interstate 40 on the north, through Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.  If you can name the restaurant, you will probably see it on the Parkway.  And there are more pancake houses than Carter has liver pills.

The areas surrounding that major thoroughfare have huge mountains with charming valleys where you can see farms, rural shops, roadside stands, and beautiful homes as you deftly negotiate curvy roads and hills.  

There are a lot of RV parks in the area; so many that it's quite a chore to pour through all of their web sites as you try to decide where to stay.  I wanted to be reasonably close to the Parkway, but have a place that was quiet so we could sit outside and read a book.  After a lot of consideration, I decided that we would stay at a place called Up the Creek.  We called and asked for one of their Deluxe Creekside sites, which were going for $44 per night and included "Full Hookup with patio dining table and chairs, concrete patio and stone fire pit" on one of the two creeks bordering the campground.  Our reservation was confirmed, but not with a specific site number.

We arrived at Up the Creek early on a Saturday afternoon in mid-July.  The drive lane in front of the office is double-wide, so it's the best place to un-hitch.  Check-in was quick and there were no problems.


We drove back to the site and easily pulled in because it was front-in parking.  Our windshield looked right out to the creek.  Nice!  There was also room to park our pickup truck right beside the coach, although many sites looked like they had to park behind or in front of their rig.

The site was gravel, with a stone/concrete (like pebbles in concrete - I'm sure there's a name for it) patio deck that was in front of the coach; it wrapped around the door side of the motorhome for another 15 feet.  I noticed that we were one of the few, and maybe the only site, that had this sort of l-shaped concrete patio.  Many others just had the patio on the door side.

Connections were easy, just like other parks.  Their cable TV offers about 16 channels.  Channels other than the major networks included Discovery, FoxNews, USA, History, Weather, ESPN, ESPN2, Travel, and Nick.   After we got comfortable in our site, the cable TV went out.  It turns out that there's a breaker switch in the pedestal for the cable TV booster.  It had tripped and just needed to be reset.

My rig is about 13'6" high, and a tree to our left was slightly scraping the roof.  I saw two men riding in a golf cart and asked if they worked for the campground.  They said they did, and the younger gentleman climbed up on a ladder and cut the branches.  As he was doing so, I thanked him for doing it and said that it was nice that he could cut the trees a little bit without consulting the manager.  He told me that he was the owner, and it was no problem.  Didn't expect that.

The creek wasn't flowing very much while we were there, but it was still nice sitting outside to talk and read.  You would think that mosquitoes would be a problem near a creek, but we didn't see any at all.  As a matter of fact, there were very few bugs as long as we kept our chairs on the concrete patio.  When walking through the grass, gnats come up and quickly become bothersome.  The solution is just to walk a few feet to the concrete.

Campground Overview

Up the Creek was recently expanded to 59 sites, and the owner told me that he was in the process of adding two more. From the campground, it's about a 15-minute drive to the Parkway via Highway 321.  If you take some winding back roads, it'll take you about 22 minutes, but you'll come out towards the northern end of the Parkway near the shows and the Apple Barn - and have no traffic at all.

The campground has trolley service to the Parkway that runs from 8am to 10pm and with pick-ups/drop-offs once every hour.

Pets are allowed, and they have a small fenced-in area that looks like a place to let 'em go and play.

Without a doubt, the best thing about Up the Creek is its relative isolation and quietness.  Many of the other campgrounds we saw as we drove to Up the Creek were crowded and the rigs were really crammed together.  Up the Creek offers a place to step out of your coach and enjoy nature without the sounds of cars and lots of people.

On the downside, there are no typical amenities at Up the Creek.  No playgrounds, pools, bath houses, public restrooms or laundries.  For this reason, I thought it was a little overpriced...but not by much.

In summary, if you are traveling without children, I'd recommend staying at Up the Creek.  But if you have the kids or grandkids, they better have water shoes and be happy walking in the creek and throwing rocks.  Otherwise, you'll be at Up the Creek without a paddle.  (Yea, couldn't resist it)

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