Frontcountry Camping (in developed campgrounds)

Frontcountry campgrounds in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have campsites that can accommodate tents, pop-up trailers and RVs. Nearly 950 campsites are available at 10 locations within the park:

* Abrams Creek (16 sites)

* Balsam Mountain (46 sites)

* Big Creek (12 sites)

* Cades Cove (159 sites)

* Cataloochee(27 sites)

* Cosby (165 sites)

* Deep Creek (92 sites)

* Elkmont (220 sites)

* Look Rock (68 sites)

* Smokemont (142 sites)

Each of these campgrounds has restrooms with cold running water and flush toilets. However, there are no showers, electrical hookups, or water hookups in the park. Shower facilities are available in the communities surrounding the park. Each individual campsite has a fire grate and a picnic table.

Campsites at the Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Cosby, Elkmont, and Smokemont may be reserved online, or by phone at (877) 444-6777. Advance reservations are required at the Cataloochee Campground. All remaining park campgrounds are first-come, first-served.

Only two campgrounds, Cades Cove and Smokemont, are open year round. For more information on open/close dates, fees and reservations, please click here. Additional information is available for group campsites and horse camps as well.

Backcountry Camping

Great Smoky Mountains National Park requires all backpackers to stay in designated campsites and shelters while camping in the backcountry. The park now requires a permit and advance reservations for all backcountry camping as well. As of 2013 the park began charging a fee to camp in the backcountry. For additional information on reserving a campsite or shelter, please click here.

Backpackers and hikers are subject to all Backcountry Rules and Regulations. Failure to abide by park regulations may subject you to a fine under Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations. Maximum fine for each violation is $5,000 and/or 6 months in jail.

black bearBefore planning your backcountry trip it is advised that you read through the park trail closures and warnings page beforehand.

For more information on backcountry camping in the Smokies, please click here.

You can also click here to view maps and GPS waypoints for each of the campgrounds, shelters, and backcountry campsites in the Smokies.

If you're new to camping in bear country, I highly suggest reading The 10 Commandments of Camping in Black Bear Country. For some additional tips from the American Bear Association, please click here.

To purchase a copy of the Trails Illustrated Map for the Great Smoky Mountains, please click here.