Situated in the stunning Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this campsite offers an ideal setting to enjoy the outdoors.
Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World-renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian culture, this is Americas most visited national park.
Smokemont Campground is surrounded by picturesque mountain ranges, with pristine mountain streams and rivers setting the backdrop for your camping adventure. Whether blanketed in spring wildflowers or vivid fall colors, the scenery at Smokemont never disappoints.
At 2,200 feet, Smokemont provides a moderate climate, characterized by mild winters and hot, humid summers.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park preserves a rich cultural history of Southern Appalachia. From the prehistoric Paleo Indians to the early European settlements in the 1800s, the park strives to protect its historic structures, landscapes and artifacts that tell the stories of the people who once called these mountains home.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hikers paradise, offering over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short, leg-stretchers to strenuous treks, with a number of those trails easily accessible from the picnic area. But hiking is not the only reason for visiting the Smokies: Fishing, picnicking, wildlife viewing and auto touring are also popular activities.
Campers can enjoy high-quality backcountry fishing in the cool waters of the countless streams and rivers that snake through the mountains, with trout available in abundance. The nearby Bradley Fork River provides a great place to go for a dip or fish for trout.
Wildlife viewing is a popular pastime, and with around 1,500 bears living in the park, its not uncommon for visitors to spot one. The park is a sanctuary for a magnificent array of animal and plant life, all of which is protected for future generations to enjoy.
The park also holds one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States. Over 90 historic structures, including houses, barns, outbuildings, churches, schools and grist mills, have been preserved or rehabilitated in the park.
Smokemont Campground offers an unforgettable outdoor experience with the added convenience of flush toilets, drinking water and sinks. There are campsites for tents as well as RVs available, and tent pads, grills and fire rings are provided. There is also a flat, grassy area that is perfect for group activities like football, volleyball, or simply soaking up the sun.
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Oconaluftee Indian Village and Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, located 6 miles away in Cherokee, North Carolina, provides cultural and historical information about the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Cherokee also has fuel.
We camped 3 nights at Smokemont in July 2020. Our site was C9, which is a tent only area. We loved our site because we were at the end of the tent rows and had plenty of room, and we were close to the creek! The campsite in general was quiet and most campfires were out by 10:30. The creek was great because it helped drown out any noise from other sites! We even had a big family with lots of little kids next to us and didn't hear a thing.
Campground was very clean. Bathrooms very clean. You cannot bathe in the creek nor dump any water at the sites - all has to be done at the Dishwashing station or in the bathroom sinks. Make sure you read all the campsite rules, they are very strict (for good reason, you're in bear country!) We saw 2 sites get violations.
Wood was $7/bundle, ice $3, we needed fuel which was $7/can. Also have horseback riding available for booking, $35/hour or $80 for 2.5 hours.
Campsite has multiple trails but we didn't do any of them. We hiked Alum Cave to LeConte (strenuous), Ramsey Cascades (strenuous), and Mingo falls (easy). The Mingus gristmill was an interesting place to visit too, and we saw lots of elk on the way!
Maybe it was the time of the year, but this campground was merely adequate for our stay. Sites here are super small and very crowed, yet they were clean. Restrooms were cleaned once a day in the AM. Yet even when they were cleaned, they had a super strong urine smell. The campground itself was very loud. No cell service (which was to be expected on the location). Not super close to town, about 20 minutes to Cherokee.
There are several camping options in the Great Smoky Mountains NP. I loved the Smokemont Campground. It's located next to a river, and is very peaceful. The sites are decent size. Great location to get to the trails.
The kids had a lot of fun playing in the area. A very quiet and pleasant place to spend a few days and enjoy nature.
Great campsite. Clean bathrooms. Right down the road from good hiking spots.
Smokemont is located a few miles up Newfound Gap Rd from Cherokee, NC and the Oconaluftee visitor's center and farm. You'll have a head start on driving to Clingman's dome to watch the sunrise and you're not far from places to explore on the east side of the Smokies.
Smokemont is one of the few campgrounds open year round, with loops A & B available in the off-season. I stayed here in early April and there were plenty of open sites. You can make reservations online or take a chance at first-come, first-served. With the exception of two sites offering electric for medical equipment, there are no utilities available. Firewood is available at nearby Towstring Horse Camp. Bathrooms are basic, with flush toilets and running water. Sites are good sized, most with square tent pads; it may be difficult to fit some of the larger tents on these pads.
Loop F is across a bridge and for RVs only. Some of the sites on the outer edge of the loop are on the river; i liked the looks of sites F34, 35, 38. Sites in the middle of the loop are more open. None of the other sites in the campground are directly on the river, but they're just across a road and you'll fall asleep to the sound of babbling water and be able to wade in it during the day. D loop sites are largely pull-through sites, great if you have a larger rig.
If you have a longer stay in the national park, spend a couple of nights here and enjoy all that the area has to offer, then move to another section and explore that area as well. You'll spend less time on the road each day and enjoy your visit more! While here, check out the Mingus Mill, go into Cherokee and learn more about the tribe and its history, and visit the farm at the visitor's center. Keep your eyes open as you drive, esp. in the early morning or at dusk; you may see deer, bear, or elk.
Smokemont Campground-Blue Ridge Parkway, Cherokee, NC-
-site 25($25 nightly).
Nestled in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park at 2200 feet, close to crystal clear mountain streams, great hiking, and right down the Ridgeway from Clingman’s Dome.
There are far too many outdoor activities to list that are a short drive away. So the location is prime.
(Disclaimer: My perspective comes from a tent camper that prefers privacy and solitude…so take my ramblings with a grain of salt…and I ordinarily fly by the seat of my pants without reservations).
Even during the week in late October, there were only four available sites left right near the entrance. Campground Rangers in the office and walking the grounds were very friendly and helpful. All sites are line of sight…and though at capacity, campers were politely quiet.
Tent sites have a gravel pad that you must utilize…firepit and picnic table. An all non-electric, non-generator campground. You won’t get cell service either…you must travel to the nearby visitor center for that convenience.
Bathrooms are modern, no showers.
Water is available throughout the campground.
The park’s visitor center, roughly a mile down the road usually have local herd of elk grazing in the adjacent fields where tourist stop to take photos. A few gobblers joined the elk during my visit. Warning signs and Rangers on foot, keep photographers from encroaching onto the fields…but the visitor center parking lot is usually filled and vehicles are parked along both side of the roadway.
Clingman’s Dome is a highlight. Realize that though you get to drive most of the way up the mountain, you must still walk from the parking lot to the summit and up the ramp for the birds eye 360 view.(**Pit latrines are in the parking lot only…not in the tiny visitor center, nor at the summit) Note: while the walkway to the summit is paved, it has a fairly steep pitch. Tip: earlier in the day has fewer clouds, afternoon tends to see more view-obscuring cloud cover. The wind is strong and several degrees cooler than the parking lot.
Final Thoughts: Smokemont Campground is a quiet, comfortable, conveniently located campground for short stays in a wonderful setting…but realize it is extremely popular and fills up nightly.
You'll get to know your neighbors at this campsite. Luckily there are always great people here, but the campsites are space closely together. The bathroom in loop a never smelled very good. My kids had a great time playing in the river and hiking, and the campground is well located with many great attractions nearby.
Despite having rained for a week, staying at this campground wasn’t half bad. Building a fire was next to impossible. I think there might have been thirty minutes without rain, so pictures are limited. Being in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you need to be prepared for rain since it is a temperate rain forest. I had brought Boy Scouts to this campground years ago and wanted to go back. This time, we did not stay in the group camping area. Since it was at the beginning of the week, it wasn’t too crowded, although there were two Boy Scout groups in the group camping area. There are several camping areas, and the one we were in allowed generators during the day. I think I heard one, but it was not so bad. Unfortunately, there are gravel tent pads, which is bad news for campers with tents you have to stake down. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. As a tent camper, I hate gravel tent pads. Being in the national park, the amenities are about the same as the other national park campgrounds. However, I was surprised that the bath house had an electrical outlet to be used for blow dryers and shavers. I don’t remember any other Great Smoky Mountains National Park campgrounds having that luxury. But like the other ones in this national park, the bath house does not have showers or campsite hookups for water, sewer, and electricity. There are several trails in the area, but the ones that originate from the campground is the¾ mile nature trail and the Bradley Fork Smokemont Loop. When my son and I hiked this trail, we had to watch out for and step around horse poop. Since this trail is also used by horses, there was lots of it. Fortunately, the nature trail didn’t allow horses. My granddaughter loved walking over the log bridges and skipping rocks at the campground while it wasn’t raining. I think that was her favorite part. As with most of my camping trips, I want to explore, and there is plenty to explore around this campground. Being in the national park, there is a wide variety.
Fewer than three miles down the road, there is an old mill (Mingus Mill), the Oconaluftee Visitors Center (which has the Mountain Farm Museum), elk, wild turkeys, etc. Within the boundary of the campground I discovered something at the campground that I never knew existed. There was an old church at the campground that was built before Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established. We were able to go into the church for me to take a few pictures. It was first constructed in 1836 and rebuilt in 1912. Not too far from the campground is the Appalachian Trail, the Benton MacKaye Trail, and the Kephart Prong Trail. This campground is also one of the largest campgrounds in the national park that I have been to. Although it is not an equestrian campground, Tow String camping area is“next door,” and it is an equestrian campground. The horseback riders pass beside the campground on route to the Bradley Fork Trail. Overall, this was one of my better experiences with national park campgrounds except for the rain.
We camped here with a trailer on site D44. It was a nice site with full shade. My grands enjoyed playing in the shallow river in front of our campsite. The bathroom is clean, but no hot water or showers.