Best Camping in the Smoky Mountains

A creek running through the Smoky Mountains with a cabin on the side
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Are you ready to escape the chaos of everyday life and immerse yourself in the untamed beauty of the Smoky Mountains? Prepare to be captivated by nature’s symphony as you embark on a remarkable camping adventure in this majestic mountain range. Tucked away between Tennessee and North Carolina, the Smokies unveil a world of enchantment, where towering peaks, dense forests, and crystal-clear streams converge to create an outdoor paradise. In this post, we invite you to unlock the secrets of the Smoky Mountains as we unveil the top camping spots that will serve as your gateway to tranquility and discovery. From starlit nights to thrilling hikes, get ready to embrace the wilderness, reconnect with nature, and create memories that will last a lifetime in the heart of this natural wonder. So, lace up your boots, gather your camping gear, and let the Smokies beckon you to embark on an unforgettable wilderness retreat unlike any other.



Cades Cove Campground

Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Cades Cove Campground, nestled in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. Surrounded by towering trees and picturesque landscapes, this campground offers a serene escape into nature. Discover the rich history of the cove, explore scenic hiking trails, and revel in the tranquility of the outdoors. Cades Cove Campground invites you to experience the magic of the Smokies firsthand.

Reasons to Camp in Cades Cove Campground:

  • Scenic Beauty: Immerse yourself in breathtaking vistas and lush forests, providing a picturesque backdrop for your camping adventure.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a diverse array of wildlife, from deer and wild turkeys to black bears and coyotes, creating unforgettable wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • Historic Sites: Explore the rich history of the area, including preserved cabins, churches, and grist mills that offer a glimpse into the past.
  • Hiking Trails: Discover a network of scenic hiking trails that wind through the park, leading to majestic waterfalls, peaceful streams, and panoramic overlooks.
  • Tranquil Escape: Experience a sense of serenity as you disconnect from the modern world and embrace the peacefulness of nature, allowing you to recharge and rejuvenate.

Recommended Gear: Camping Chairs, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Headlamp, Camping Stove, Hiking Boots, Cooler


Elkmont Campground

Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of the Smoky Mountains at Elkmont Campground. With its idyllic setting along the peaceful Little River, this campground offers a serene and picturesque escape. Whether you seek relaxation by the water’s edge, captivating firefly displays, or access to scenic hiking trails, Elkmont Campground is the perfect gateway to a magical camping experience amidst nature’s wonders.

Reasons to Camp in Elkmont Campground:

  • Riverside Serenity: Experience tranquility by camping along the gentle banks of the Little River, with the soothing sounds of flowing water creating a peaceful atmosphere.
  • Firefly Spectacle: Witness the breathtaking display of synchronous fireflies during the summer months, as Elkmont is one of the few places where this mesmerizing natural phenomenon occurs.
  • Scenic Hiking Trails: Explore a variety of scenic hiking trails that wind through the surrounding mountains, offering opportunities to discover cascading waterfalls, wildflowers, and stunning vistas.
  • Water Recreation: Enjoy recreational activities like fishing, tubing, or simply cooling off in the refreshing waters of the Little River, adding a touch of adventure and fun to your camping experience.
  • Proximity to Attractions: Elkmont Campground is conveniently located near popular attractions such as the historic Elkmont Ghost Town and the scenic Gatlinburg Trail, allowing you to easily explore the area’s unique cultural and natural treasures.

Recommended Gear: Camping Chairs, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Lantern, Insect Repellent, Hiking Boots, Camping Cookware


Smokemont Campground

Discover a hidden gem in the heart of the Smoky Mountains at Smokemont Campground. Situated in a tranquil wooded area along the picturesque Oconaluftee River, this campground offers a serene escape into nature’s embrace. With easy access to scenic hiking trails, enchanting waterfalls, and the nearby visitor center, Smokemont Campground is the perfect retreat for those seeking a balance of tranquility and outdoor adventure.

Reasons to Camp in Smokemont Campground:

  • Scenic River Setting: Enjoy the soothing ambiance of camping along the beautiful Oconaluftee River, where you can relax, fish, or simply take in the picturesque views.
  • Abundant Hiking Trails: Embark on a variety of hiking trails that meander through the surrounding forests, leading you to breathtaking waterfalls, panoramic viewpoints, and encounters with wildlife.
  • Proximity to Visitor Center: Take advantage of the nearby visitor center, where you can learn about the park’s history, geology, and ecology, enriching your understanding of the Smoky Mountains.
  • Wildlife Watching: Keep your eyes peeled for the diverse wildlife that calls Smokemont home, including deer, black bears, salamanders, and various bird species, offering remarkable opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts.
  • Tranquil Seclusion: Revel in the tranquility and seclusion that Smokemont Campground offers, allowing you to disconnect from the busyness of everyday life and immerse yourself in the serenity of nature.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Stove, Camping Chairs, Lantern, Hiking Boots, Insect Repellent


Cosby Campground

Escape to the tranquil beauty of Cosby Campground nestled in the Smoky Mountains. Offering a serene retreat, this campground is a haven for nature enthusiasts seeking solitude. Surrounded by the peaceful ambiance of the forest, Cosby Campground provides easy access to scenic hiking trails, including the popular Cosby Nature Trail, allowing you to reconnect with nature and create lasting memories in this idyllic wilderness setting.

Reasons to Camp in Cosby Campground:

  • Secluded Wilderness: Enjoy the tranquility and seclusion that Cosby Campground offers, providing a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
  • Scenic Hiking Trails: Explore a variety of scenic hiking trails, including the picturesque Cosby Nature Trail, where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding forest and discover hidden gems.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Encounter a diverse range of wildlife, such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and possibly even black bears, adding excitement and awe to your camping experience.
  • Nature Photography: Capture stunning moments of natural beauty as Cosby Campground presents countless opportunities for nature photography, with its lush greenery, wildflowers, and serene landscapes.
  • Family-Friendly Atmosphere: Cosby Campground offers a family-friendly atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for camping with loved ones. Create lasting memories while enjoying outdoor activities and bonding in the midst of nature.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Chairs, Camping Stove, Lantern, Hiking Boots, Insect Repellent


Deep Creek Campground

Experience nature’s playground at Deep Creek Campground nestled in the Smoky Mountains. Set alongside the scenic Deep Creek, this campground offers a gateway to adventure. From exhilarating tubing trips down the river to picturesque waterfalls and miles of hiking trails, Deep Creek Campground provides a perfect blend of outdoor exploration and serene relaxation amidst the breathtaking beauty of nature.

Reasons to Camp in Deep Creek Campground:

  • Waterfall Wonderland: Explore a paradise of waterfalls, including the iconic Juney Whank Falls and Tom Branch Falls, offering scenic beauty and the soothing sound of cascading water.
  • Tubing Adventures: Enjoy the thrill of tubing down the crystal-clear waters of Deep Creek, providing a refreshing and exciting way to cool off during the warmer months.
  • Hiking Haven: Discover an extensive network of hiking trails that wind through the lush forests, leading to stunning vistas, serene streams, and the popular loop trail known as the Deep Creek Loop.
  • Fishing Paradise: Cast your line into the river and try your luck at trout fishing, as Deep Creek is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, allowing you to reel in a memorable catch.
  • Family-Friendly Recreation: Engage in family-friendly activities such as picnicking, wildlife spotting, and nature photography, creating lasting memories and fostering a love for the outdoors.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Chairs, Camping Stove, Lantern, Hiking Boots, Fishing Gear


Abrams Creek Campground

Discover the serenity of Abrams Creek Campground nestled in the scenic Smoky Mountains. Situated along the picturesque Abrams Creek, this campground offers a peaceful retreat for nature lovers. Immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance, as you listen to the gentle sounds of flowing water and explore the surrounding forest. With abundant outdoor activities and stunning natural beauty, Abrams Creek Campground is the perfect destination for a rejuvenating camping getaway.

Reasons to Camp in Abrams Creek Campground:

  • Tranquil Creekside Camping: Experience the soothing ambiance of camping along the peaceful Abrams Creek, providing a serene and picturesque setting for relaxation.
  • Water Recreation: Enjoy swimming, fishing, and tubing in the crystal-clear waters of Abrams Creek, providing refreshing and adventurous activities for water enthusiasts.
  • Scenic Hiking Trails: Explore a network of scenic hiking trails that wind through the surrounding forest, leading you to breathtaking viewpoints, hidden waterfalls, and diverse wildlife.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Observe a variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and various bird species, offering remarkable opportunities for wildlife photography and appreciation.
  • Nature’s Beauty: Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains, with stunning landscapes, wildflowers, and peaceful forests that create a picturesque backdrop for your camping experience.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Chairs, Camping Stove, Lantern, Hiking Boots, Fishing Gear


Cataloochee Campground

Embark on a journey to the peaceful haven of Cataloochee Campground nestled in the Smoky Mountains. Surrounded by breathtaking beauty, this remote campground offers a tranquil escape from the modern world. Immerse yourself in the serenity of nature as you explore the nearby Cataloochee Valley, home to historic buildings, abundant wildlife, and picturesque hiking trails. Discover a perfect blend of solitude and natural wonders at Cataloochee Campground.

Reasons to Camp in Cataloochee Campground:

  • Secluded Wilderness: Enjoy the tranquility and seclusion of Cataloochee Campground, providing a serene escape from the bustling world, allowing you to reconnect with nature.
  • Historic Charm: Explore the historic buildings of Cataloochee Valley, including preserved cabins and a picturesque church, offering a glimpse into the rich history of the region.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a diverse range of wildlife, such as elk, deer, and black bears, as Cataloochee Valley is known for its thriving populations, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts.
  • Scenic Hiking Trails: Discover a variety of scenic hiking trails that wind through the lush forests and meadows, providing opportunities to witness stunning vistas, wildflowers, and serene streams.
  • Photography Opportunities: Capture captivating moments of natural beauty, from misty mornings and vibrant sunsets to wildlife sightings, as Cataloochee Campground presents numerous opportunities for stunning photography.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Chairs, Camping Stove, Lantern, Hiking Boots, Binoculars


Balsam Mountain Campground

Uncover the secrets of Balsam Mountain Campground, an oasis of natural splendor in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. Perched at a breathtaking elevation of 5,310 feet, this hidden gem offers a secluded sanctuary for those seeking a truly immersive outdoor experience. With its pristine wilderness, panoramic vistas, and crisp mountain air, Balsam Mountain Campground beckons adventurers to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with the untamed beauty of nature. 

Reasons to Camp in Balsam Mountain Campground:

  • Secluded Wilderness: Experience the serenity of being surrounded by untouched wilderness, offering a peaceful escape from the crowds and a chance to reconnect with nature.
  • Panoramic Mountain Views: Marvel at the breathtaking vistas from the campground, where you can witness stunning sunrises, sunsets, and the majestic beauty of the Smoky Mountains.
  • Abundant Hiking Trails: Explore a network of scenic hiking trails that wind through the pristine wilderness, leading you to hidden waterfalls, tranquil streams, and encounters with wildlife.
  • Stargazing Delight: Be mesmerized by the brilliance of the night sky at Balsam Mountain Campground, far away from light pollution, providing an ideal setting for stargazing and celestial wonders.
  • Cool Mountain Climate: Enjoy the refreshing coolness of the mountain air, even during the summer months, as Balsam Mountain Campground’s higher elevation offers relief from the heat and a comfortable camping experience.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Chairs, Camping Stove, Lantern, Hiking Boots, Binoculars


Big Creek Campground

Discover the enchantment of Big Creek Campground in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. With its serene setting along the picturesque Big Creek, this campground invites you to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature. Explore scenic hiking trails, cast your fishing line into the creek, or simply unwind amidst the peaceful ambiance. Big Creek Campground offers an idyllic retreat where you can reconnect with the beauty of the great outdoors and create lasting memories.

Reasons to Camp in Big Creek Campground:

  • Scenic Hiking Trails: Embark on exhilarating hikes along picturesque trails, where you can discover hidden waterfalls, breathtaking vistas, and diverse wildlife.
  • Tranquil Creekside Camping: Experience the soothing sounds of Big Creek as you camp alongside its tranquil shores, providing a peaceful and rejuvenating camping experience.
  • Fishing Paradise: Cast your line into the clear waters of Big Creek and try your hand at fishing, as the creek is known for its abundance of trout.
  • Nature Photography: Capture stunning shots of the natural beauty that surrounds you, from cascading waterfalls to vibrant wildflowers and majestic wildlife.
  • Outdoor Adventure: Engage in thrilling outdoor activities such as swimming, tubing, and mountain biking, making Big Creek Campground an ideal destination for adventure seekers.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Chairs, Camping Stove, Lantern, Hiking Boots, Cooler


Greenbrier Campground

Escape to the natural paradise of Greenbrier Campground, nestled in the scenic wonderland of the Smoky Mountains. Enveloped by lush forests, rolling hills, and the gentle melody of the Greenbrier River, this campground offers a tranquil retreat for outdoor enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in the serenity of nature, embark on scenic hikes, indulge in fishing, or simply relax by the riverside. Greenbrier Campground invites you to discover the beauty and tranquility of the great outdoors.

Reasons to Camp in Greenbrier Campground:

  • Spectacular Scenery: Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Smoky Mountains, with its lush forests, rolling hills, and the scenic Greenbrier River, providing a stunning backdrop for your camping adventure.
  • Tranquil Riverside Camping: Enjoy the soothing sounds of the Greenbrier River as you camp alongside its tranquil shores, offering a peaceful and picturesque camping experience.
  • Abundant Outdoor Activities: Explore a plethora of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, swimming, and wildlife spotting, providing endless opportunities for adventure and exploration.
  • Scenic Hiking Trails: Discover a network of scenic hiking trails that wind through the verdant landscapes, leading you to cascading waterfalls, panoramic viewpoints, and encounters with diverse flora and fauna.
  • Nature’s Playground: Delight in the wonders of nature as you witness vibrant wildflowers, spot wildlife like deer and birds, and immerse yourself in the serenity of the great outdoors, creating unforgettable memories.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Chairs, Portable Grill, Headlamp, Hiking Boots, Insect Repellent


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