Standard (Tent/RV)
Tent Cabin
Dispersed
Group
RV Sites
Tent Sites
Drinking Water
Fires Allowed
Pets Allowed
About Chilhowee Campground

Located in the Chilhowee Recreation Area, Chilhowee Campground offers a multitude of camping opportunities for both RV and tent sites, many with electric hookups. The day-use area includes McKamy Lake, a swim area with sand beach, picnic sites, a group picnic area, and a bathhouse. 

Be Aware; Do not use GPS directions: GPS coordinates will direct you up Benton Springs Rd. This route is not recommended. We recommend using Forest Service Road 77 to reach the recreation area. It's important to note, this facility requires driving 7 miles up to Chilhowee Campground on a narrow, winding road. Do not use the Benton Springs Access Road to the campground as this is an unpaved and dangerous road for RVs. Inexperienced RV drivers may have difficulties getting to and around the site.

Recreation

Chilhowee Recreation Area is an excellent hub for hiking and mountain biking in the Chilhowee Trails System, fishing in McKamy Lake, and wildlife viewing without having to get in your car. The 7-acre McKamy Lake offers a swim area with a sand beach, and fishing from the bank. Boats are allowed, but gasoline motors are not. Within the recreation area are approximately 25 miles of hiking and biking trails, and a scenic waterfall. The views and lake are beautiful, especially hiking to Benton Falls via a 1.5 mile in and out moderate trail. On the drive up to the campground, stop at one of the many observation overlooks to see beautiful mountain settings. Wildlife is abundant in this area, so have your camera ready and tread lightly. 

Chilhowee Recreation Area Map and Guide  

Facilities

Picnic tables, grills, and lantern posts are located at each site. Bathhouses providing flush toilets and warm showers are available in each loop, as well as in the day use area. Water hydrants are located throughout the campground. An RV dump station is located at the end of E Loop. Loops A and B offer walk-in tent sites with electricity.

Be Aware; Do not use GPS directions: GPS coordinates will direct you up Benton Springs Rd. This route is not recommended. We recommend using Forest Service Road 77 to reach the recreation area. It's important to note, this facility requires driving 7 miles up to Chilhowee Campground on a narrow, winding road. Do not use the Benton Springs Access Road to the campground as this is an unpaved and dangerous road for RVs. Inexperienced RV drivers may have difficulties getting to and around the site.  

Natural Features

The Cherokee National Forest is located in eastern Tennessee and stretches from Chattanooga to Bristol along the North Carolina border. The 650,000-acre swath of land is Tennessee's only national forest. It lies in the heart of the Southern Appalachians and is home to more than 20,000 species of plants and animals, as well as many rivers, creeks and lakes. 

Nearby Attractions

In addition to the immediate local activities, world class whitewater rafting opportunities are nearby on the Ocoee and Hiwassee Rivers.

ADA Access: N

Price
$12.00 - $30.00
Operator
USDA Forest Service
Access
Drive In
Walk In
Hike In
Boat In
Features
ADA Accessible
Drinking Water
Electric Hookups
Fires Allowed
No Market
Pets Allowed
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Reservable
Showers
Toilets
Trash Available
No WiFi
RVs and Trailers
Sanitary Dump
Sewer Hookups
Water Hookups
No 30 amp Hookups
50 amp Hookups
Pull-Through Sites
Max Length: 90 ft.
Location
Chilhowee Campground is located in Tennessee
Latitude
35.1521 N
Longitude
-84.6086 W
Get Directions
Directions
The campground is located on FDR 77/Oswald Dome Road. Be Aware; Do not use GPS directions: GPS coordinates will direct you up Benton Springs Rd. This route is not recommended. We recommend using Forest Service Road 77 to reach the recreation area. It's important to note, this facility requires driving 7 miles up to Chilhowee Campground on a narrow, winding road. Do not use the Benton Springs Access Road to the campground as this is an unpaved and dangerous road for RVs. Inexperienced RV drivers may have difficulties getting to and around the site.   From Highway 64/411 intersection travel east 7 miles, turn onto Forest Road 77, drive 7.5 miles to campground/recreation area. Do not use Benton Springs Road for access to the mountain.
11 Reviews of Chilhowee Campground
July Visit

Be sure to read the instructions on the park website about how to get here! Google will lead you astray! It was raining when we arrived, and I was so grateful for the nice new road, especially after seeing the road Google wanted us to take.

My husband and I visited the first week in July. There was rain in the forecast everyday, but it only really rained one day (it was a down pour that lasted ~30 mins). It was fairly humid the rest of the time, with a random sprinkle here and there. Camper pads are crushed rock, which I think helps them to dry quickly, but did produce a LOT of mess going in and out of the camper.

We stayed in E loop, but drove the whole park. Loops A&B are closest to the lake and looked great for groups, or folks with kids. Loops E&F were a bit more secluded, and better fit for couples, dogs that don't like a lot of passersby, or people that generally want to keep more to themselves. C&D were somewhere in between.

We were here during COVID, so felt a bit nervous about using the park restrooms, but didn't have an option as our site was electric only, and we needed showers everyday after hiking/biking. The showers were clean, hot and great water pressure. Also, there was a restroom for every 6-7 sites, so not too much traffic.

Some hiking trails were cleared well, and others were overgrown. Benton falls was great, but crowded. For a more secluded waterfall experience head to the Rainbow falls. We didn't go to the swimming beach, because dogs are not allowed. We did hang out at the lake and fish (no bites), but the water was not appealing for swimming (lots of down trees/branches and very silty). 

There is no WiFi or AT&T cellular signal in this park. However, if you drive to any of the scenic overlooks just outside the park, you will get AT&T LTE signal. We also picked up 3 TV stations over the air, which was great for weather/news.

If you need a civilization break, head to Copperhill, as soon as you get to town there is a brewery called Buck Bald Brewing. Excellent craft brew, outdoor seating, and you can bring a picnic or order food delivered from several nearby restaurants. Check out the Olympic White Water runs on your way back!

Not for the faint of heart!

To get to this campground you have to go up a steep narrow windy mountain road. The camp sites are distanced well and the entire campground is in the shade. There are a lot of hiking trails. The bathrooms could use some TLC.

So many things to do!

I love this campground. There are so many hiking/biking trails right off the campground road. You can swim at the lake, go visit a beautiful waterfall, & walk around the loops. Only certain spots have electric. No water, but has a dump station with water to fill your tank. Numerous water slickers around too.

The place to stay on the Ocoee

Takes a bit to get up and down the mountain, so make sure you’ve got everything you need with you.

Gorgeous campground. The hosts were great and checked in with us a few times.

There’s a great mountaintop lake with picnic pavilions near the D loop.

Great place during lightning bug season!

This campground is great! It has clean bathrooms with showers, fire rings with grill grates, lots of hiking, hike to a beautiful waterfall, huge lake to swim or float on a raft, and the lightning bugs were breath taking!!

We stayed at site #39. Next to the trail that leads to the lake. Next to rest room, trash bin, and water spout. This specific site has the driveway and then stairs to the fire/table/tent pad. We set our large tent on the tent pad and a smaller tent on the driveway next to the stairs.

Pros: No reservation needed. Warmish showers. Hiking. Lake to swim in. Beautiful waterfall. Perfect to see millions of lightning bugs. Easy payment (put money in slip and put in bin, and yes they do check). Pets allowed.

Cons: we had the WORST neighbors I’ve ever experienced while camping! The staff warned them about quiet hours but never came back to in force it. Fire ring grill topper was broke off.

DON’T drive up the dirt path, we made that mistake. Take the regular rode. GPS sends you automatically to the dirt road.

Over all I’m defiantly going to camp there again. Well kept and overall has a lot to offer

Extremely Remote

Getting here was like Mr Toads wild ride.  Extreme inclines full of switch backs for a long 5 miles.   The rain did not help much.  Very scary.    Once arrived area well marked and easy to park.  Had electric but no water or sewer.  There are local spigots scattered throughout if you run out in your rig.   Small lake with fishing.  Nice hiking areas.  Love the blooming wild azaleas.   Close to the Ocoee River.

Perfection

I believe this place is the best campground I’ve stayed! They have tons of sites, and all are spacious and secluded. They do have some with electric hookups, but we didn’t have that, as we were in the rooftop tent. You can’t hardly see your neighbor with all the trees. We were in D loop #36, which was right across from the restrooms and bathhouse, and still we weren’t bothered with noise from a completely sold out campground on Memorial Day weekend. There is a nice little lake area for swimming and/or fishing, picnic areas, hiking trails, beautiful, scenic views, a group site and dispersed primitive area. Getting to the campground is a little tricky. There isn’t much signage to lead you to the campground, and the directions on the website aren’t very clear, we used the Waze app and it took us right to it. I absolutely can’t wait to return!

One of the most beautiful campgrounds I've ever stayed at.

If at all possible try to drive in during sunset and you will not be disappointed! There are multiple scenic overlooks with a absolutely breathtaking views. Campground, including restrooms is as well kept/clean as they can be. Campground was completely full and we still didn't feel crowded. Awesome hiking trails as well as a decent sized fishing/swimming lake (McKamey Lake).

Great site for large group camping!

I absolutely loved this site and hope to go back here soon! There is a beautiful waterfall called Benton Falls near this location and it is a very pleasant, short hike. Our location was very large and had bathrooms near and showers about a mile away.

Chilhowee

This campsite was beautiful. sites were clean. the bike trails were challenging. my only complaint is the bathroom. it's not that it was dirty. like most campgrounds insects get into the bathroom. I'm not big on sharing a stall with spiders.