Camping In The Smoky Mountains (The Smokies)

There are many ways of camping in the Smoky Mountains. Frontcountry campsites (10) are developed and maintained by the National Park Service and include bathrooms and drinking water, while backcountry campsites (88) are just designated locations for backpackers to set up their own camps. Read on for more information about the types of campgrounds in the Smoky Mountains.

Smoky Mountain Campgrounds

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park service maintains Smoky Mountain campgrounds at ten locations in the park: Abrams Creek, Balsam Mountain, Big Creek, Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Cosby, Deep Creek, Elkmont, Look Rock, and Smokemont campgrounds.

Smoky Mountain Campgrounds

Camping at each location has restrooms with cold running water and flushable toilets, but there are no showers or electrical for water hookups in the park. Each individual campsite has a fire grate and picnic table. Call 1-800-365-CAMP or visit the National Park Service Reservation Center online to make reservations for camping in the Smoky Mountains!

Backcountry Camping

Consider backcountry camping in the Smoky Mountains only if you are prepared to carry in all necessities! Backcountry campsites are for the avid backpacker. All backcountry campers are required to obtain a free backcountry permit. Remember to camp only in a designated site or shelter. There are 88 backcountry campsites and 15 shelters available in the national park.

Backcountry Sites

Backcountry Permits

Backcountry permits for camping in the Smoky Mountains are available at most ranger stations and visitor centers along with free backcountry maps showing all the hiking trails, camping areas, and a list of rules, regulations, and safety concerns. Backcountry permits and AT thru-hiker permits can be made within two weeks from the first night of your trip.

Backcountry Permits

Campgrounds & RV Parks

Looking to camp outside of the national park? Camping in the Smoky Mountains isn't limited to backcountry and frontcountry. Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg have amazing luxury camping or glamping options to choose from. If glamping is more your style, choose from camping cabins, luxury tents, and RV rentals on our campgrounds page.


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