Camping in the Great Smoky Mountains

When camping comes to mind there is only one word that can describe it and that word is isolation, quietness, serenity, noise free, hammocks, clear skies, stars in the heavens, private, outdoors and isolation. OK, I admit, it can’t be described in just one word. It is like a picture is worth a thousands words! It is indescribable unless you experience it.

Camping in the National Park

And to experience camping at its best, the BEST is found in The Great Smoky Mountains and in The National Park with 10 great camping locations ready to impact your adventurous life. Imagine, for a moment, that you have the awesome privilege of selecting from over 925 miles of superlative trails, tracts of untouched forest land, observing over 4,000 species of plants, over 65 mammals, birds that number into the hundreds, and of course if you are fortunate enough, you might look up into a tree and glimpse a famous black bear staring down at you, but that’s rare.

Let’s get started! The array in campground size is huge, from the massive Elkmont to the miniature Big Creek. There is something for every J.S. Camper. The Smoky Mountain National Park maintains 10 great camping locations within the park and they are as follows in alphabetical order:

Abrams Creek Elevation - 1,125 feet 16 sites
Balsam Mountain Elevation - 5,310 feet 46 sites
Big Creek Elevation - 1,700 feet 12 sites
Cades Cove Elevation - 1,807 feet 159 sites
Cataloochee Elevation - 2,610 feet 27 sites
Cosby Elevation - 2,459 feet 165 sites (most popular)
Deep Creek Elevation - 1,800 feet 92 sites
Elkmont Elevation - 2,150 feet 220 sites
Look Rock Elevation - 2,600 feet 68 sites
Smokemont Elevation - 2,198 feet 142 sites


The nearest place for outdoor splendor and fun is Abrams Creek which is on the western perimeter of the park. Sheltered on each side you will find considerable amounts of hemlock and white pine. Because of its size and beauty, it is a favorite among the locals in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Plenty of trails will line the area of Abrams Creek and even when it is crowed it still seems quiet!

Cades Cove is noted for the amazing scenery and abundance of deer that graze in the meadow. This campground is very popular for families. Bring your bike on this trip as you will travel the 11 mile circumference of the park before you settle in to camp.

Big Creek is the intimate campsite. Though it is the smallest among the 10 campsites of The National Park in The Great Smoky Mountains, it is in the mist of a deep forest. Only bring your tent to this campsite. Oh, and remember, all of the campsites within National Park have electricity and bathroom facilities. Campsites range in fees from $14 to $23 per site.

Tent camping in the Smoky Mountains

Similar to Cades Cove is Cataloochee Valley. You will find many historic buildings along the trails of this great camping area. You will find only dirt roads to this destination. You will want to grab hold of Cataloochee Valley campsite on the east side, with fewer crowds.

Cosby is the superior and the gem of all campsites in the Great Smoky National Park. Even though it is the most popular it is seldom over crowded. When, on rare occasions that Cosby is crowded, it is very quiet and reserved. You will not be disappointed with so much to see and do. If you are a camper, this one is for you.

For more information on the campsites of the Great Smoky Mountains you may call toll free at (800) 365-CAMP. There are regulations concerning food storage, generator use, and quiet hours. Remember again that each campsite and campground has restrooms with cold running water and flush toilets, but there are no showers or electrical or water hookups in the park. Shower facilities are available in the communities surrounding the national park.

Make you plans now to camp in The Great Smoky Mountains.