The park operates nine developed campgrounds. Each campground has restrooms with cold running water and flush toilets. Each individual campsite has a fire grate and picnic table. There are no showers or electrical or water hookups in the park. Shower facilities are available in the communities surrounding the national park. Please inquire about the nearest facilities when you check-in at the campground. For RVs, there is an additional dump station at the Sugarlands Visitor Center.
Sites can be reserved at five of the campgrounds (see below for which ones) by visiting recreation.gov or calling (877) 444-6777. The rest are first-come, first-serve.
Great Smoky Mountains Campground Facilities
Approximate 2016 Open Dates for Smoky Campgrounds
5/27 - 10/10
4/8 - 10/31
3/25 - 10/31
4/8 - 10/31
4/8 - 10/31
3/11 - 11/28
Abrams Creek Campground (TN)
Open from late May to mid-October. Located just west of Cades Cove, this 16-site campground sits in the woods along Abrams Creek. Maximum RV length is 12 feet.
Balsam Mountain Campground (NC)
Open late May to mid-October. This 46-site campground sits just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at 5,310 feet. Maximum RV length is 30 feet.
Big Creek Campground (TN)
Open early April to late October. Located in the park’s remote northeastern corner, this 12-site campground along the creek is quiet and open to tents only.
Cades Cove Campground (TN)
Open year-round. This popular campground is one of the park’s largest, with 159 sites. Fits trailers up to 35 feet and motor homes up to 40 feet. Reservations accepted.
Cataloochee Campground (NC)
Open late March to late October. Reservations are required at this 27-site campground nestled in the Cataloochee Valley. Fits RVs up to 31 feet, but be aware that the access road is steep and winding. The entrance road to Cataloochee Valley is a winding, gravel road that has some steep drop offs with no guard rails. Horse trailer traffic may be encountered on the road. Because the road is narrow, it may be necessary to stop or back up to allow other vehicles to pass.
Cosby Campground (TN)
Open early April to late October. A large (157 sites) campground located in the lesser-visited northeast part of the park. Maximum RV length is 25 feet. Reservations accepted.
Deep Creek Campground (NC)
Open early April to late October. A 92-site campground sited along lush Deep Creek just outside Bryson City. Fits RVs up to 26 feet.
Elkmont Campground (TN)
Open mid-March to late November. The park’s largest campground (220 sites) is famous for its synchronous fireflies, which blink in unison on June nights. Fits trailers up to 32 feet and motor homes up to 35 feet. Reservations accepted.
Open year-round. This large (142 sites) campground near the Oconaluftee entrance is located on the Bradley Fork River. Fits trailers up to 35 feet and motor homes up to 40 feet. Reservations accepted.
More than 800 miles of trail grant access to the Smokies’ spectacular backcountry. All backpackers must get reservations and permits up to 30 days before the start of their trips by stopping by the Sugarlands Visitor Center in person or visiting smokiespermits.nps.gov. The website also allows you to check campsite and shelter availability and print your permit. For trip-planning help or to ask questions, call the Backcountry Office at (865) 436-1297.