Guide to Camping in the Great Smoky Mountains

By Aviator31 - English Wikipedia, Public Domain,

It doesn’t matter whether you are a luxury camper or you like to rough it; there is no disputing that camping is great fun. The fact that it brings you closer to nature and can make you feel like part of your surroundings is simply a bonus!

Of course, you need to decide what kind of camper you are before you can head into the Smoky Mountains. It is also important to consider who you are camping with. Families will particularly enjoy the Maggie Valley attractions which border these mountains.

In fact this is where you can witness some of nature’s best sites; such as Soco Falls.

Now all you need to do is get your gear ready and choose your camping style:

Keep It Simple

If you have a family or are new to camping then you may wish to start with a modern site that offers toilets, showers and perhaps even facilities for your children.

These sites are purpose built and can usually handle an RV with a tent; or just your tent. You may even find some sites that have tents readymade for you.

For this type of camping you can try Big Creek, Cades Cove or Elkmont.

Go Wild

Carry your tent and everything you need on your back; it is possible and not as difficult as you think. There are approximately 100 backyard camping sites across the Smoky Mountains. These are all simple sites with no modern conveniences. You will truly be able to sleep under the stars.

This is not the idea approach for those new to camping but if you have a little experience you’re certain to create great memories.


An alternative is to ditch the tent and head for one of the shelters dotted across the mountains. These will provide you with somewhere warm to bed down and you may even meet fellow explorers.

You can then share stories, a drink and a campfire.


If you’re hiking in the Smoky Mountains then it is worth considering staying at some of the high quality motels. This will give you the luxuries of modern life while still surviving on your own wits!

This is a great option if you are hiking and looking to enjoy the attractions in the area; you can do both and feel like you’re having a real adventure!


Take Your RV

There are some places in the Smoky Mountains that you simply won’t be able to reach with a vehicle; especially one as big as an RV.

However, this can make a great base for you to explore different parts of the mountain ranges and surrounding towns. Effectively you can turn your Smoky Mountain vacation into a multi-destination break!

The RV does give you the advantage of being able to stay where others are or to be completely remote while still having the facilities you need to comfortably enjoy your camping trip.

The one thing that is not recommended is going camping without any supplies; you do need to be aware of the animals that roam in the area.

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