Cosby Campground – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We recently took a last-minute trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to enjoy some fall colors. We didn’t have reservations, so we decided to camp at Cosby Campground. It’s one of the least popular campgrounds in the park. In my book, that’s a good thing. Cosby is about 30 minutes east of the tourist mecca of Gatlinburg, so we didn’t have to deal with traffic or crowds. Here’s a map of the entire park >

Camping - Cosby Campground - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

It was dark when we arrived at the campground. We selected site B67. It is located in the back of loop B (Cosby Campground map). These sites are among the best in the campground. They are elevated from the road and surrounded by woods.  The entire campground is wooded, but there isn’t a lot of undergrowth, so the sites are only semi-private. Each site has a picnic table, a fire ring with a nice cooking grate and a flat, crushed gravel pad for your tent.

our-site-at-Cosby-2

We had just arrived and I was rolling out our sleeping pads in the tent when someone from a couple of sites over came over and told Billy that there was a bear nearby. She shined her flashlight into the woods and the bear was 20 feet from our tent – the tent that I was inside! I got out of the tent barefoot and walked quickly toward the car, not even bothering to zip the tent shut. Moments later the bear stuck his head inside our tent! He then circled around the tent and then slowly walked away. Our hearts still pounding, we drove over to the camp host’s trailer to let her know about the bear.

Our bear encounter was the talk of the town the following day. When we went to buy firewood, the shop owner exclaimed “that was you!?” We saw a couple more bears during our stay at Cosby, but we were careful not to leave food out so we didn’t run into any problems.

Cosby campground is very beautiful. It’s a clean and well maintained campground, including the bathrooms. The bathrooms don’t have soap, so don’t forget to bring some from home.

Camping - Cosby Campground - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

{us after five days, no showers}

There aren’t any showers at Cosby. I’m fine with not showering for five days, but if you are desperate for a shower, you can take one for $5 in the town of Cosby.

There are lots of hikes of varying difficulty that start at Cosby campground. We especially enjoyed the hike to Hen Wallow Falls and the self-guiding nature trail. Hiking and other things to do in the Cosby area >

Location: 471 Cosby Park Rd, Cosby, TN
Reservations: Only a handful of sites are reservable online. Most sites are first come, first serve. With the exception of holiday weekends, you should have no problem finding a site.
Camping fees: $14/night

Have you visited the Smoky Mountains? Where did you stay?

Fall DIY Projects

I’m having a craft day with my sister-in-law today, so I’ve been thinking about some crafty fall DIY projects. Here are a few that I really like.

Fall DIY Projects from The Camp Gal

1. Solar Lanterns

These lanterns are great. How cool would it be to hang these from trees around a campsite? I love the look of the copper pots and that they are solar powered.

2. Fall Pinecone Garland

What a great, inexpensive project! I’m definitely doing this! I love bringing the outdoors in. I’m skipping the glitter, because I can’t stand the mess. (Hint: buy your twine at the hardware store, it’s usually cheaper than craft stores).

3. Sweater Redos 

There’s something I love about the elbow patches on this sweater. And I love the zipper and leather details on this sweater.  I’m on the lookout for the perfect thrift store sweaters for these two projects.

4. Cross-stitched iPhone Cover

I picked up a little cross-stitch cell phone case at Walmart for under $6. I’m planning on creating a plaid iPhone cover. I’ll post photos when it’s done. I haven’t cross-stitched since I was a little kid, so we’ll see how it turns out. This chevron pattern is really neat as well.

5, Painted S’mores/Hot Dog Roasting Sticks

How cute are these? I’d totally make them if I was camping with kids!

Update: Here’s the pinecone garland I made:

Pinecone garland - Fall DIY Project from The Camp Gal

I love how it turned out!

10 Free iPhone Apps for Camping

Most of the time I keep my cell phone turned off when we’re on a camping trip, but there are a few apps that I like to use.

10 free iPhone apps for camping

Try them out; they’re all free!

10 Free iPhone Apps for Camping

Waze

Waze is a navagation app with turn by turn directions. It will help you avoid traffic and speed traps on the way to your campsite.

 

10 Free iPhone Apps for Camping

Field Trip

Google’s Field Trip will notify you when you’re near interesting landmarks, historic buildings and great places to eat. It’s perfect for any road trip!

 

10 Free iPhone Apps for Camping

Chimani National Parks Apps

Chimani’s apps are a great companion for a visit to a National Park. They have apps for Acadia, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains and more. Each app contains tons of features including photos, interactive maps, audio tours, sunrise/sunset times and even ranger events.

 

10 Free iPhone Apps for Camping

Gorillacam

Gorillacam allows you to shoot time delay photos, stop motion video, but my favorite feature is it’s photo timer. I can just prop my iPhone up on the branch of a tree and snap a photo of Billy and I.

 

10 Free iPhone Apps for Camping

Instagram

I use Instagram as my personal field guide. It helps me remember the names of plants I encounter. I snap a photo of the plant, identify it and post it to my Instagram account. You can follow me here.

 

10 Free iPhone Apps for Camping

Photosynth

Microsoft’s Photosynth allows you to take amazing panoramic photos and share them with your friends.

 

10 Free iPhone Apps for Camping

Coleman’s Classic Camping Cookbook & Meal Planner

This camping cookbook lets you search by cooking method, meal or ingredients. It has all the classic camping recipes.

 

10 Free iPhone Apps for Camping

SkyView Free

Sky View Free is really helpful for identifying stars and constellations. It uses the iPhone’s camera and overlay’s the names of the stars.

Also check out SkyView Satellite guide. It’s free for a limited time and lets you track satellites, the International Space Station and more.

 

10 Free iPhone Apps for Camping

Coleman Lantern

This cute, simple app will help you find your headlamp after dark. (hint: it’s packed in the deepest, darkest depths of the trunk of your car)

 

10 Free iPhone Apps for Camping

Yahoo! Weather

Yahoo! Weather is easy to use and it has all the information I need: current temp, 5/10 day forecast, detailed forecast, weather radar map, chance of rain and sunrise/sunset times. Thanks to images from flickr, it’s beautiful as well.