Campers venturing across Tennessee have access to hiking, boating, fishing, biking, rock climbing and picnicking across 56 state parks, enough variety to satisfy any adventurer’s soul. With terrifically high Appalachian peaks and plunging caverns, Tennessee travelers can get a sense of the sublime landscape that inspired music legends from Nashville to Memphis by camping in Tennessee.
East Tennessee is home to a part of the oldest mountain range in the world, the Great Smoky Mountains. As the name suggests, the peaks are often shrouded in fog, but that doesn’t make the view from Clingmans Dome any less spectacular. At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome towers as the highest point in Tennessee and the third highest point east of the Mississippi River. Make sure to say hi to the hardcore hikers, many people hiking the entire Appalachian Trail will stop at this unforgettable lookout.
A clear day at the dome observatory provides views as far as 100 miles. But explorers camping in Tennessee should plan on hiking their way up to the point, the roadway that leads to the observatory closes during inclement weather and from Dec. 1 to March 31 every year.
If you’re camping with the kids and they’re looking for more occupation than your campsite offers, many of the natural attractions in Tennessee are also family friendly. Lookout Mountain is only minutes from Chattanooga and offers several world-famous sites like Rock City and the See Seven States point.
All the mountain peak trails may leave the heights-averse camper less than enthused. But Tennessee has something for everyone. Also at Lookout Mountain, but plummeting beneath ground level, is where you’ll find Ruby Falls, the largest and deepest underground waterfall in the nation.
Scenic views and dramatic natural landscapes are part and parcel for any Tennessee camping adventure, as long as you know where to look. Camping in Tennessee can be done right with The Dyrt to guide you along your trails!
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We don’t need much space, we have a tiny tent and don’t have any other gear, and it was still tight. We drove 2 hours from Knoxville for this. Total waste of gas. The camp slots on area -C are so close to one another that most people couldn’t use their fire pits for fear of burning their own tent, or their neighbor’s. Every time a camper came in, people panicked fearing their cars were going to get hit because the road and is so unbelievably narrow and inches close to tents and parking spaces. The space issue also means this is an extremely loud place. If you’re looking for a small spot to pitch your tent and spend some time in silence, keep going. This is not the place.
After a careful amount of research I selected this campground as my destination and home for a couple days as I got acquainted with the Great Smoky Mountains. The campground itself is pretty immaculate. The NPS personnel are friendly, helpful, and professional. The trail right by my campsite leads directly to the Low Gap Trail, which is apparently the most difficult trail in the entire park (which I learned from a ranger on the way DOWN).
The park and staff are very serious about bears, for good reason. I can say I didn’t personally experience any sign, sight, or sound of one while I was there. I did come across someone on my hike who ran across one while hiking the day before. They’re definitely out there, so bone up on your preparedness and come equipped. I was alone, so I had a bear bell at my waist, ringing with every step.
Cosby is a neat little town. The prices at Janice’s Diner are crazy low, just make sure you bring cash.
We stopped over for a night on the way to Gatlinburg. Very nice park located about 30 miles from any larger town. There were 6 couples traveling together and we stayed in site A18. The sites are small, unlevel and really hard to get in to. Every one of us had a pretty rough time getting into the site and one of our group had to change sites twice. Water, sewer and electricity on our site but our back door was 4.5 feet off the ground and required 3 blocks on the side! Good thing it was just a stop over!
This was our first experience with Tennessee State Parks and found this park really nice! We stayed in site 11 which was AAA and level at the top. Only negatives were a steep incline to back into site, no cell service and pay as you go park WiFi. Overall a nice clean park!
Cherokee Dam campground is a TVA campground and is similar to other TVA campgrounds I’ve been to. The campground had just reopened from being shutdown due to Covid, so the place was extremely clean. The camp hosts were so awesome, I feel like they take great care of the campground all year. The office/camp store had all the things you might need, including firewood, which they delivered to our site. We had site 36, lots of space in that one, and water views. There are some really great lakefront sites here, and the tent spots are great, note- they are walk in sites, and you can get in the water from these sites. There is a playground and a swimming area, lots of picnic spots, kayak rentals, etc. Several people were walking/running across the dam. The campground is close to the town so it is easy to get to. There is a railroad tunnel on the route our GPS took us, so if you are pulling a camper, you will be able to take a side road and go around the tunnel. This is a great lake campground.
We stayed just one night while driving our new camper home. It was a beautiful park and our site (27 in the west campground) was in a great spot. Keep in mind, a trailer much longer that 16' will have trouble getting in.
We were right next to a trailhead and that gave us a lot of extra room