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Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NORTH CAROLINA
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Most Recent Great Smoky Mountains National Park Camping Reviews
Beautiful Trails and Falls, Barebones Campgrounds

My girlfriend and I camped at Gorges State Park for a few days in October of 2017. The trails are excellent and they were in great condition when we visited. The waterfalls are beautiful and it isn't a very strenuous hike to Rainbow Falls.

Camping seems to be hit or miss. The campsites aren't bad, but during our stay the privy pit was nearly unusable, so we dug our own. The access road to the campsite trail was closed as well, so the hike to the campsite from the parking lot felt closer to 3 miles. Given the lack of amenities and the distance to the Raymond Fisher campgrounds, I'd advise that you snag one of the primitive backcountry sites instead. They are situated along the main trail to Rainbow Falls, and almost every backcountry site was in a nice spot with easy access to the stream. Be aware that many of these backcountry sites are directly adjacent to the trail, and hikers will probably pass by your campsite.

If you are camping, expect bears. I don't know if this is still an issue, but we had a bear messing with our stuff every night. It didn't exactly bother us, but we did have to hang our trash and food far from the campsite while we slept. It made us a little nervous because we were the only campers there and you are miles from your car, but it didn't come close enough to our tent to really frighten us.

That being said, we had an incredible time and would definitely return. Despite being in a state park campground it still felt very secluded, and we felt that all the set backs made it more of an adventure.

Amazing Place to Camp

This place is by far my families favorite. We camp here every year. The campground is beautiful. The sites are clean. They have an amazing playground with an activity center. They always hold events for families. They have everything you could possibly think of. Staff is wonderful. You go long enough and they feel like family. Most highly recommended in western north Carolina. We love this place.

Super Campground

This was the nicest, cleanest and newest camping resort I have ever seen. Beautiful views at a lake below the Smokey Mountains. Huge paved sites and stone fireplaces.

First to Review
Love Love Love this Campground

We have been camping here for Thanksgiving for years. It is a family owned campground.

The bathhouse is the cleanest one I have ever seen and used. The fire pits are clean when you check in. They are right on the Trolley Route, just simply walk to the road and the Trolley will stop and pick you up.

They have Safari Tents, Tent Sites, Tree Houses, Retro Campers, Pull Thru and Back up Sites that will hold the largest of RV's. The RV sites have fire pits, grills, and a grass area that is always mowed.

They have a swimming pool and outdoor activity center. They have special activities going on at different times to keep the little ones entertained.

Quiet/Peaceful

We love camping here! We usually camp in the 3rd site when you enter at the ranger station. It is usually nice and quiet. Last yr we decided to try the out side loop across from the nature trail this site provided alot more excitement as someone fell on the nature trail. Then we had 3 unexpected visitors for dinner (mom an her 2 cubs). The next morning we saw a deer and her fawn across the street. Just love the nature and feeling of camp everyone is friendly. We can leave camp during the day and not worry about it. (Great spot to camp and walk the cove when closed to traffic!)

One of our favorites

The new owners have done an amazing job with the renovations. So good unfortunately that it is becoming very hard to get a spot. The river is amazing and great for tubing, fishing, and swimming. The bathrooms are the best I have ever seen in a campground. They are currently expanding so hopefully I can get back out there soon. Directly across the street from a quiet entrance to the national park. Great staff. Great campground. Highly recommend.

Getting better all the time

I have stayed here a few times because it is close to my house. It has a lot for kids to do. They have invested a lot of money in recent years. If you want to be in the middle of all the tourist stuff and still be camping, this is for you.

Amazing place

We have stayed at Elkmont on several occasions. It is operated by the National Park Service. Amenities are limited but the restrooms and camp store are very good. You can run a generator during the day to charge batteries but not at night. The river is amazing and there are hiking trails there. Synchronous Fireflys in late May / Early June. Wonderful campground. Highly recommended. You can reserve 6 months in advance. Fills up quickly in the summer.

Best time we had

It was a great place we went fishing swimming and hiking loved it

Wow

There is drinking water. No electricity, so if you need to charge your battery, you’ll need to have a generator. The wild life here is so wonderful. If you want to see the elk, you’re going to have to be up early. I use to be in the park at 5 AM with night vision gear, I saw some very nice elk. If you go in the winter, the elk are out eating most of the day. The rut here usually goes on from about Late October through December. I had about 40 rolls of film with just elk.

GSMNP Remote Island Available by Watercraft

Available by watercraft. Remote Island in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Check - In is available at the Fontana Boat Ramp.

This is two Islands at high water. One at low pond after Labor Day. There are a couple of places to setup tents or hammocks. There are no services

Unimproved tent or hammock site

Double Island Remote Campground Fontana Lake in the Smoky Mountain National Park is available by watercraft only. There are boat ramps in the surrounding area that provide access.

Campground use is via the Check-in Stations, there is one at Fontana Dam Boat ramp.

I have camped there on three occasions. More fun while boating when the water level is up prior to Labor Day. We did see more wildlife including bear when the level was down as they had to travel down to the low level shore.

There is plenty of downed driftwood firewood in the area you have to leave the Island though and forage the shore.

This is a pack it in, pack it out type location. The Rangers typically stop by in the Summer to check your papers. Make sure you have plenty of ice. It's a long way back to Fontana Dam or a local Marina…unless you are in a power boat.

A great place to camp, fish, swim. ski and kayak

Private Campground that is professionally managed. Great family location with dry camping for tents, travel trailors and places for RVs. Some are on the Tellico Lake Reservoir.

Many of the sites are occupied by seasonal residents. All the sites are well kept.

There is a small marina if you want to bring your boat. Fishing is good on the Reservoir with access to over 80 miles of woods, trails, coves galore, with a few restaurants accessible by water.

There are small restrooms with showers.

Reservations are recommended.

Nice campground

We camped at Riverbend Campground November 19 – 24, 2018 on site C-17. Our site was next to the roadway but this wasn’t a problem because there was very little traffic. We did not have sewer on our site but every other day the staff would come by on a tractor to pump the sewer from RV. The park had gravel roads, gravel sites, picnic tables, fire ring, 20/30/50amp, cable and water; most sites had sewer. There are around 40 sites backed up to river bank (nice), a small store, firewood, a pavilion, pool, laundry room and clean bathrooms. The park is well maintain and the personnel were nice.

This was our first time and we found it to be very relaxing. We stayed through Thanksgiving and the park had a Thanksgiving dinner gathering for the whole park. The park supplied the meat and the campers supplied two sides. This was a big gathering; I guess about 225 people. Standing in line was enjoyable because it gave us a chance to talk with other campers that we did not know.

I only gave it a 4 rating because of gravel sites and road. We will be going back and I encourage others to go.

Family friendly lakeside camping

I have camped across the US in tents, camper, or just the back of my truck. I have been a campground host at Ralph Andrews Park for several years. This is one of the best campgrounds that I have ever stayed in. It is small, only 38 campsites. It has a few full RV hookups, 10 or so el/water sites&12 or so primitive. Campground is located on Glenville Lake (aka Thorpe Reservior) which is the highest elevation lake east of the Rocky Mts. The Lake is a TVA lake built in 1941 and is 4 miles long The gates are locked from 10pm until 8am which reduces any drive-through traffic and increases safety. The staff are helpful and friendly and the campground is well maintained. Reservation for coming season (2019) now open

Fabulous Resort Camping!

Amazing lake views and very helpful staff.

Great

Good and spacious. Depending of what sites you choose some have water and electricity.. there is a store that sells wood and a diversity of items in case you forgot something (opens until 8). Good trails and views! Well marked so you don’t get lost.

The Little Gem Where the Blacktop Ends

Just a stone’s throw from the bustle of Asheville, yet secluded enough to forget it all, this little gem is conveniently located at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest.

I went camping here on November 2nd, just after half of the campground closes for the off season. Usually starting at $22 per night, after November 1st the prices get cut in half, so I stayed for $11 (hard to beat)! To pay you fill out a permit envelope, tear off the receipt, include your payment and insert it into a mailbox of sorts. Make sure to bring a writing utensil (I forgot one, but luckily my neighbors let me borrow theirs). You then simply place the receipt portion in the provided zip-lock bag on the number post in front of your site. Check-out time is noon.

Each site comes with a gravel platform for your tent, picnic table, bear box, and a fire pit with a grill top. I opted to set up my backpacking tent in the bed of my pickup, but the site was very clean and well maintained. The host made rounds in the evening and the following morning, and was very approachable and informative, and even gave out weather predictions for the coming days to those who asked. The bathroom facilities may be limited in the off-season due to being unheated, but they were open during my stay, and shower facilities are available during the regular season.

I had a blast enjoying the peace and serenity of the woods, smelling the autumn spice of decaying leaves and campfires, and listening to the babbling river that runs through the center of campground. The other occupants were quite mellow, with no unwanted noise or partying (not that it would be a deal breaker, everyone camps a little differently). In the morning I took a stroll through the recreation area and got to see the group sites; everything was pristine and gorgeous in the gleaming yellow sunlight. My pooch also enjoyed the area, and I was grateful for the free bags to pick up after her.

I would recommend this little spot to anyone looking for a quick getaway from the traffic and humdrum of the nearby townships, as well as visitors to the park. Hiking trails, fishing and hunting opportunities, and scenic waterfalls are all nearby, making the location prime. A big chain grocer is also just a 10 minute drive up the road, making it easy to grab last minute items you may have forgotten. I look forward to returning!

Left early cause it was so bad!

Water was nice but the actual camp ground not so nice. No room what so ever to actually camp.

Great Family Campground Near the Island

Sites are gravel so they are not perfectly level. RV sites have a concrete pad and a fire ring and most have a picnic table. Bath houses are nice and kept clean. Best price in the area hands down. The camp store is connected to a convenience store and gas station. Fast food close by, and cheap propane fill ups just down the street. We've stayed here a couple of times and will be back. Some sites are not very long and some are not very wide. We usually stay close to the rear of the park - a lot quieter. Very friendly staff!

One night stay

We had a great pull thru spot (D2) for our one night stay. We stayed one night as a halfway point on the way up and then again on the way back. It seems they have a lot to offer, though we just used the area as a place to sleep. Very friendly staff. Gave 4 stars because the cable didn't seem to work at our site. We didn't stay long enough to try to figure out how to work it.

This Camp Ground is awesome.

This is the best camp ground I have ever stayed at. During the summer they have activities for the kids. The camp staff is friendly. The bath house is awesome. It is like your own personal bathroom with shower. There is several of them. My son loves the pool.

Cozy

My first time there and I am a newby so wasn’t sure what to expect. Since it rain the entire time it’s hard to give a detailed review

Terrible managment. Treats customers like dirt and doesn't care.

First of all, I had been loyal to this location for over twenty years. Dozens of trips there over the years with various friends and family. I have also been loyal to KOA in general and have been to dozens of KOA around the country. This time we arrived for our reservation on October 25th and I had reserved the month prior. I was directed to a cabin that was nothing like what I had booked or paid for. It was extremely inferior with no view, but I had paid a premium for a view. I asked if they were at least refunding part of my payment for the inferior cabin and extreme inconvenience, but the night guard would not let me talk to a manager. He would talk to the manager on the radio but she refused to address the situation. She was extremely rude and refused to adjust me to a lower price for the far inferior cabin and inconvenience. At the time, I felt they should have offered me some discount or adjustment for neglecting to honor my original reservation--especially since they didn't warn me ahead of time. If they had, I would have never wasted my time and money getting there. When I felt uncomfortable paying my original premium price for the the far inferior substitute they offered, she threatened that I had to leave or she'd call the police. I had been a long time customer of over twenty years and was stunned at this terrible customer service and aggressive rudeness. They refused to treat me with any decency and would not take care of the situation. They left me with no place to stay for two very young children after an eight hour drive, and the company still refuses to answer calls or messages. They have been irresponsible and unethical. To be denied my reservation, treated like trash, and refused any adequate adjustment of the price was just stunning. The corporate office does not reply to messages either. They simply have no interest in customer service.

Horrible management. Treats long time customers like trash.

First of all, I had been loyal to this location for over twenty years. Dozens of trips there over the years with various friends and family. I have also been loyal to KOA in general and have been to dozens of KOA around the country. This time we arrived for our reservation on October 25th and I had reserved the month prior. I was directed to a cabin that was nothing like what I had booked or paid for. It was extremely inferior with no view, but I had paid a premium for a view. I asked if they were at least refunding part of my payment for the inferior cabin and extreme inconvenience, but the night guard would not let me talk to a manager. He would talk to the manager on the radio but she refused to address the situation. She was extremely rude and refused to adjust me to a lower price for the far inferior cabin and inconvenience. At the time, I felt they should have offered me some discount or adjustment for neglecting to honor my original reservation--especially since they didn't warn me ahead of time. If they had, I would have never wasted my time and money getting there. When I felt uncomfortable paying my original premium price for the the far inferior substitute they offered, she threatened that I had to leave or she'd call the police. I had been a long time customer of over twenty years and was stunned at this terrible customer service and aggressive rudeness. They refused to treat me with any decency and would not take care of the situation. They left me with no place to stay for two very young children after an eight hour drive, and the company still refuses to answer calls or messages. They have been irresponsible and unethical. To be denied my reservation, treated like trash, and refused any adequate adjustment of the price was just stunning. The corporate office does not reply to messages either. They simply have no interest in customer service.

Dog friendly...kinda

Better places to visit on the weekends. this place gets a lot of traffic. Lots of black bears in the summer, though!

Dog Friendly...kind of

Dog friendly area, but not dog friendly trail. This place gets a lot of traffic. It's beautiful, but there are better places to go on the weekends.

love it!

I will say that when I was looking into this camp I was really impressed with its great peace that came over me when I was there. Unlike many of the sites it does not seem to be as crowded and it seemed a bit more relaxed. For this reason I found it to be a great place for a day use area or perhaps you can camp as well.

I personally was in the area for the day, but I did manage to check out the camping options which offered both flush toilets and drinking water. There were no connections at the camp but no one seemed to mind. There were more than enough hammocks relaxing in the area.

My favorite thing about this are was the access it had to numerous trails which were just moments away from where you would lay your head for the evening making it a great place, that until this trip I didn't know was here!!

Midsized Camp with Great Amenities

I wanted to visit MaryVille Kentucky because they have what was known to be the Largest Elmtree. I was very excited to see this. However there is no camping directly in Maryville so I doubled back and went to Poland Creek campgrounds which came highly recommended by someone in town.

This is a medium size campground which offers both RV and tent camping. There is a recreational facility which can be used for day use as well. Overall everything is grassy green and beautiful.

Sites are well shaded and even. There is a playground as well as a water area where you can launch a boat. I really enjoyed the campground as a whole because even if it was highly occupied it didn’t seem as though you were right on top of your neighbor.

The location wasn't far from Louisville which made it a great escape from the city yet close enough to get back easily. I can see this being a perfect spot for a day cation as well with a swimming area perfect for families.

My site was not located right on the water, those sites are reserved for those wanting electricity. Instead I was a short distance from, still very doable. I paid $18 for the site and it was great. I had full access to all the amenities at a fraction of the $30 charged for electricity.

TIPS:

  • The camping season here is April through October so if you are trying to stay during off season you will need to contact the City of Louisville to make arrangements.

*If you would like to bring a boat, it must have inspection and tags for the state of Kentucky.

Not Camping!!

This site is a manufactured housing site and is not available to short or long term rv campers or tent campers. It appears on all major listings as a campground however it is not!! Don't make the mistake of driving here like I did :(