All Smoky Mountain Vacations logo
Smoky Mountain Backcountry Campgrounds

All Smoky Mountain Vacations
214 Sharon Dr.
Seymour, TN  37865

info@allsmokymountainvacations.com

Nestled within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are 10 developed campgrounds, 5 horse camps, 7 areas for group camping and over 100 backcountry campsites. Fire grates, picnic tables, cold running water, flush toilets, tent sites and the larger campgrounds are equipped with amphitheaters for slide shows and ranger talks. No electrical hookups, water hookups, or showers are available. All campgrounds are on a first-come, first-saved basis, unless reservations are made through the National Park. 

Home

Log Cabins & Chalets

Luxury Resort Rentals

Wedding Chapels

Bed & Breakfast Inns

Hotels & Motels

Campgrounds

Condominiums

Gatlinburg

Pigeon Forge

Townsend

Sevierville

Cosby

Events Calendar

Smoky Mountains

Cades Cove

Views of the Smokies

Attractions

Fishing

Golfing

Area Sports

Trolley Routes

Site Map

Smoky Mountain Links

Contact Us

Backcountry camping, open year-round, offers over 150 different trails to choose from in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Most trails were created from old wagon roads that existed prior to the National Park's establishment, thus creating loops that meander from a variety of trails.

PERMITS: A free backcountry permit MUST be obtained from a ranger station, park campground, Sugarlands Visitor Center or Oconaluftee Visitor Center for ALL overnight trips. Your permit must designate the campsite or shelter at which you will stay for each night of your trip. One permit per 8 people. For general information call 865-436-1231.

RESERVATIONS: Reservations are Required for Cades Cove, Smokemont and Elkmont campgrounds May 15 - October 31, for all 16 backcountry shelters and for 14 tent areas in the backcountry. Reservations can be made through the National Park Service at (800) 365-2267.

RECOMMENDATION:  Due to maintenance, weather or wraths of nature, the Park Service may close campgrounds, shelters and roads. For updated road and weather information, call 865-436-1200. 

CAMPGROUND MAPS:  Downloadable maps for several of the developed campgrounds and the park itself are available at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/maps.htm  

12 MOST VISITED LOOPS:

 ~ Abrams Creek Area - One night loop, 13 miles, moderate hike, campsite #11 Beard Cane, elevation 1,530', no reservations required.
Trailhead - Take Happy Valley Rd. towards Abrams Creek Campground. Park just past the ranger station, walk 0.4 mile to the far end of the campground. Backcountry permits area available at the bulletin board near the parking area.
Highlights - Abrams Creek gorge, solitude, lightly-used campsite.
Hiking Directions - Take Cooper Rd. Trail to Beard Cane Trail to Campsite #11. Backtrack Beard Cane Trail to Hatcher Mountain Trail to Little Bottoms Trail to Cooper Rd. Trail to trailhead.

 ~ Cataloochee Area - One night loop, 19 miles, strenuous hike, Laurel Gap Shelter, elevation 5,600', reservations required.
Trailhead - In Cataloochee Valley, drive past Palmer Chapel approximately 100 yards to gated road near the old school.
Highlights - High elevation spruce-fir forest and views.
Considerations - Horse use.

 ~ Cataloochee/Big Creek Area - One night loop, 17 miles, strenuous hike, campsite #39 Pretty Hollow, elevation 3,040', no reservations required.
Trailhead - From TN, take exit #451 on I-40 (Waterville Rd.) Cross the bridge, pass the hydroplant. At 4-way intersection turn left and go 7 miles on gravel road (NC 284) to Mt. Sterling gap and signed trailhead. From NC, take exit #20 on I-40 to (US 276). Turn right onto Cove Creek Rd. Stay right when you see the paved road into Cataloochee Valley and continue on narrow, gravel (NC 284) to signed trailhead at Mt. Sterling Gap.
Highlights - High elevation Spruce-fir forest, historic Little Cataloochee, optional side trip to Mt. Sterling fire tower.
Considerations - Horse use.
Hiking Directions - Take Mt. Sterling Trail to Long Bunk Trail to Little Cataloochee Trail. Take Pretty Hollow Gap Trail to Campsite #39 to Mt. Sterling Ridge Trail to Mt. Sterling Trail to trailhead.

 ~ Newfound Gap/Appalachian Trail - One night loop, 13.6 miles, strenuous, Kephart Shelter, elevation 3,500', reservations required.
Trailhead - Newfound Gap parking area midway between Gatlinburg and Cherokee, NC on US 441.
Highlights - Great views, Charles Bunion, old growth forest.
Hiking Directions - Follow the Appalachian Trail past Charles Bunion to Dry Sluice Gap Trail. Follow Dry Sluice Gap Trail to Grassy Branch Trail to Kephart Shelter. Return on Sweat Heifer Creek Trail to the Appalachian Trail to the trailhead.

 ~ Abrams Creek Area - Two night loop, 21 miles, moderate hike, Campsites #11 Beard Cane, elevation 1,530', no reservations required, #15 Rabbit Creek, elevation 1,550', no reservations required.
Trailhead - Take Hwy. 129 to Happy Valley Rd. and follow the signs toward Abrams Creek Campground. Park just past the ranger station and walk 0.4 mile to the far end of the campground.
Highlights - Solitude, big trees, lightly-used campsites.
Considerations - You must wade Mill Creek at the start of Rabbit Creek Trail. Can be difficult in high water.
Hiking Directions - Take Cooper Rd. Trail to Beard Cane Trail to Campsite #11. Backtrack to Cooper Rd. Trail and follow it to Wet Bottom Trail and on to Abrams Falls trailhead. Ford creek to Rabbit Creek Trail and hike to campsite #15 and on back to trailhead.

 ~ Cades Cove Area - Two night loop, 17 miles, moderate hike, Campsites #15 Rabbit Creek, elevation 1,550', no reservations required, #11 Beard Cane, elevation 1,530'. no reservations required.
Trailhead - Form one-way Cades Cove Loop Rd., take gravel road to Abrams Falls trailhead (past sign post #10). You must wade Mill Creek to start Rabbit Creek Trail.
Highlights - Solitude, big trees, lightly-used campsites.
Considerations - You must wade Mill and Abrams Creeks. Abrams Creek especially can be dangerous in high water. This loop can also be hiked as a one-night outing.
Hiking Directions - Take Rabbit Creek Trail to Campsite #15 to Hannah Mountain Trail to Hatcher Mountain Trail to Beard Cane Trail to Cooper Rd. Trail to Wet Bottom Trail to trailhead.

 ~ Tremont Area - Two night loop, 16.3 miles, moderate hike, Campsites #28 Marks Cove, elevation 3,490', no reservations required, #27 Lower Jakes Gap, elevation 3,520', no reservations required.
Trailhead - Drive to the end of Tremont Rd. (the last 3 miles are closed January 1 - mid March).
Highlights - Pleasant streamside trails with waterfalls.
Hiking Directions -
Take Middle Prong Trail to Lynn Camp Prong Trail to Campsite #28. Continue Lynn Prong Trail to Miry Ridge Trail to Jakes Creek Trail to Campsite #27. Backtrack to Jakes Creek Trail to Panther Creek Trail to Middle Prong Trail to trailhead.

 ~ Lakeview Drive Area - Two night loop, 23.8 miles, plus an optional 1.8 mile roundtrip side trip to High Rocks, strenuous hike, Campsites #70 Janas Creek, elevation 2,400', no reservations required, #75 Poplar Flats, elevation 2,800', no reservations required.
Trailhead - From downtown Bryson City, NC drive 9 miles on Lakeview Drive to road's end.
Highlights -
Waterfalls, views, optional side trip to High Rocks.
Hiking Directions - Follow the Lakeshore Trail through the tunnel to White Oak Branch trail to Forney Creek Trail to Campsite #70. Take Jonas Creek Trail to Welch Ridge Trail. If you wish to go to High Rocks, continue on Welch Ridge Trail past junction with Bear Creek Trail. Otherwise, take Bear Creek Trail to Campsite #75. Continue on Bear Creek Trail to Forney Creek Trail to Lakeshore Trail to trailhead.

 ~ Twentymile/Gregory Bald Area - Two night loop, 18.1 miles, strenuous hike, Campsites #113 Birch Spring Gap, elevation 3,680', reservations required, #95 Dalton Branch, elevation 2,360', no reservations required.
Trailhead - Take Hwy. 28 to the turnoff to Twentymile Ranger Station. Proceed past the ranger station to the trailhead.
Highlights - Gregory Bald, the Appalachian Trail, solitude.
Hiking Directions - Follow Twentymile Trail to Appalachian Trail to Campsite #113. Continue on the Appalachian Trail to Gregory Bald Trail to Wolf Ridge Trail to Campsite #95. Continue on Wolf Ridge Trail to Twentymile Trail to trailhead.

 ~ Smokemont Area - Two night loop, 26 miles, strenuous hike, Campsites #49 Cabin Flats, elevation 3,060', no reservations required.
Trailhead - D-Loop in Smokemont Campground.
Highlights - Spring and summer wildflowers, Charlies Bunion, views from the Appalachian Trail.
Hiking Directions - Take Bradley Fork Trail to Cabin Flats Trail to Campsite #49. Backtrack Cabin Flats Trail, then hike up Dry Sluice Gap Trail to the Appalachian Trail to Charlies Bunion. Backtrack the Appalachian Trail to Hughes Ridge Trail and Pecks Corner Shelter. Follow Hughes Ridge Trail down to Chasteen Creek Trail to Bradley Fork Trail to trailhead.

 ~ Cosby Area - Two night loop, 18 miles, strenuous hike, Campsites #34 Sugar Cove, elevation 3,240', no reservations required, #29 Otter Creek, elevation 4,560', reservations required.
Trailhead - Designated hiker parking area near entrance to Cosby Campground. Gabes Mountain Trail starts across the road.
Highlights - Old-growth forest, spring wildflowers.
Hiking Directions - Follow Gabes Mountain trail to Campsite #34. Continue on Gabes Mountain Trail to Maddron Bald Trail to Albright Grove Loop Trail. At the end of the loop, continue on Maddron Bald Trail to Campsite #29. Follow Maddron Bald Trail to Snake Den Ridge Trail to trailhead at entrance to campground.

 ~ Elkmont Area - Three night loop, 25 miles, strenuous hike, Campsites #26 Dripping Spring Mountain, elevation 4,400', no reservations required, Silers Bald Shelter, elevation 5,460', reservations required, #23 Camp Rock, elevation 2,300', reservations required.
Trailhead - Turn off Little Rive  Rd. onto road to Elkmont Campground. Just before he campground turn left and continue on Jakes Creek Trailhead at the end of the road.
Highlights - Wildflowers, views, scenic Little River.
Hiking Directions -
Follow Jakes Creek Trail to Miry Ridge Trail and Campsite #26. Continue on Miry Ridge Trail to the Appalachian Trail to Silers Bald Shelter. Continue on the Appalachian Trail to Goshen Prong Trail to Campsite #23. Continue on Goshen Prong Trail to Little Rive Trail to road. Turn left and return to trailhead.

SAFETY: 
Always let someone know your route and return time and advise that person to contact the National Park officials if you are overdue. Hike with another person and carry a current trail map. 

 ~ Check the current weather conditions and forecast before your trip.

 ~ Treat all water from the backcountry by either boiling or filtering.

 ~ If someone gets injured and cannot be moved or move to a trailhead, leave someone with the injured person, note the exact location and hike out to get rescuers. 

 ~ Bears - If you see or are approached by a bear, slowly back away watching the bear. If the bear is persistent and follows you, change direction. If the bear gets closer, shout at it or throw non-food items. Do NOT run or turn away from the bear and don't leave food for the bear. Be sure to hang all food, shampoo, dirty utensils and toothpaste using the cable system at your campsite. If you are attacked by a bear, fight back aggressively with anything available and report it immediately to the Park officials.

 ~ Lightning - If you find yourself in the middle of a thunderstorm, seek shelter away from rock outcroppings, ridge tops, overhangs, solitary trees or tall trees. If shelter is not available, find a shallow depression to crouch into away from metal, tree roots and streams.

 ~ Waterfalls and Stream Crossings - Average rainfall in the Smoky Mountains is up to 80 inches per year and heavy rain can cause streams and waterfalls to become very dangerous when attempting to cross them. If you must cross, unbuckle the waist strap of your backpack so it can be easily removed. If you fall in, float with your feet downstream to protect from hitting your head. 

 ~ Insects - Yellow jacket wasps are one of the largest concerns in the park. Their nests are concealed in the ground and the wasp becomes extremely aggressive when disturbed. Anyone with allergies should always carry medicine in their first aid kit.           

WHAT TO BRING: 
 
~ Flashlights or headlamps with extra batteries.
 
~ Rain gear, including pants, poncho or jacket.
 
~ Extra Clothes - Cotton is NOT recommended. Synthetic fleece or wool is.
 
~ Small first aid kit.
 
~ Boots that provide ankle support.
 
~ Matches - Keep in a waterproof container.
 
~ Current Trail map.
 
~ Whistle - Use it to alert officials if you become injured or lost.
 
~ Water Purification filter or something to boil the water in for at least 1 minute.
 
~ Rope to hang food or supplies with if the cable system is damaged at your campsite. 

All Smoky Mountain Vacations would like to thank the Great Smoky Mountain Association in cooperation with the National Park Service for the information above.

Home | Log Cabins & Chalets | Wedding Chapels | Bed & Breakfasts | Hotels & Motels | Campgrounds | Condos | Gatlinburg
Pigeon Forge
| Townsend | Sevierville | Cosby | Events Calendar | Smoky Mountains | Cades Cove | Views of the Smokies | Attractions
Music Theaters
| Hiking | Fishing | Golfing | Camping | Area Sports | Trolley Routes | Smoky Mountain Links | Email

All Smoky Mountain Vacations
214 Sharon Dr.
Seymour, TN 37865

Copyright 2013 All Smoky Mountain Vacations - All Rights Reserved