Tucked in the mountains under a canopy of cool shade, this campground creates a peaceful and secluded environment for visitors, offering the best that the Great Smoky Mountains National park has to offer.
More than 100 campsites are available at Cosby Campground on a first-come, first-served basis and 26 campsites are available for advanced reservations. All campsites accommodate tents and, even when all reservation sites are booked, tent campers are likely to find a great site anytime except Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day weekends. RV sites are less common and reservations are recommended on busy weekends. Call (423) 487-2683 to check availability. This campground is usually quieter and without the hustle and bustle of the busier campgrounds. Come and give this campground a try!
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, Great Smoky Mountains is Americas most visited national park.
At 2,460 feet, Cosby Campground 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 19th century European settlers, the park strives to protect the 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, with over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short, leg-stretchers to strenuous treks, with a number of those trails easily accessible from Cosby Campground, including the Appalachian Trail, just three miles away via the Lower Gap Trail.
Hiking is not the only reason for visiting the Smokies: Fishing, picnicking, wildlife viewing and auto touring are 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.
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.
Cosby Campground provides campers with a secluded environment for traditional camping. Though some RV sites are available, Cosby is mostly a tent campground, with plenty of shade and tent pads at each site, along with fire rings, grills and tables, perfect for family meals and late night smores.
The site offers modern amenities like flush toilets and drinking water. Although 26 sites are reservable, an additional 131 sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Cosby, Tennessee, located about five miles from the campground, offers convenience stores and fuel.
Gatlinburg, a one of the Smokies famous tourist towns, is located about 20 miles from the site, offering visitors tours, organized rafting trips, museums, restaurants, galleries, an aquarium, skiing and more.
Historic & Cultural Site: Historic Sites
Visitor Center: Ranger Station
Day Use Area: Amphitheater
This is our favorite campground in the Smokies, we go here often. FYI there are NO showers at campgrounds in the GSMNP. There aren't any groceries stores near by so have what you need before. There are a few small stores near the entrance. There are way fewer tourist on the east side of GSMNP. Chataloochee Valley is nice day trip to see all the Elk and historical buildings also really nice hiking.
Nice and peaceful as this campground is very private. In a beautiful spot on the she of the smoky mountains. Bring extra water and bug spray!
Cosby was a great campground. Sites did not seem too close with all the trees around. B loop is better than A loop but requires a reservation for most sites. Most sites have steps up or down to the site along the backside of B loop.
Some campgrounds in gatlinburg feel a little too crowded, not Cosby. I loved this site plenty of room, nice and quiet; the only negative was the bathroom were dark which made me a little nervous at night but I am a little paranoid. Other than the bathroom not having electricity it was a great experience. I will say we stayed there at the end of 2017 so they may have update the bathrooms since then.
I was too early in the season to stay at Cosby (it doesn't open until id/late April), but I was exploring this area of the park and spent some time wandering through the campground. I wished i'd been there a few weeks later to enjoy this area. A beautiful river runs along the road into the campground and there is a picnic area and amphitheater for Ranger programs in season. Of all the no-frills campgrounds in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this one falls on the more basic end of the spectrum and the low cost reflects it.
Unlike the more popular campgrounds where sites are practically on top of each other, Cosby’s sites are generally farther from each other, offering a little more privacy. Most of the sites are better suited to tent campers, though a few of them are designated RV sites offering a back-in parking pad. The parking at the sites is parallel to the road and then the picnic table, fire ring and tent pad are either above or below the parking area, sometimes a dozen stairs or more. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but you’re in bear country, so all food needs to be secured in your car when not in use. You won’t want to haul your cooler up and down a few times each day, etc. A few of the sites are small, with limited space around the picnic table and/or fire ring. The B loop seems steeper than the A loop. It also contains 3 group camp sites. As with other campgrounds in the park, bathrooms provide flush toilets and sinks with a dishwashing sink outside. No showers. Buy heat treated firewood outside the park or you can gather firewood in the park. No camp store here.
Several trails leave from the campground, including the popular Hen Wallow Falls trail. A beautiful river runs alongside the road into the picnic area and campground. The Roaring Fork Auto Road isn’t too far away, with hikes to more waterfalls and Mt. LeConte; Greenbrier is another starting point for hikes, including Ramsey Falls. There’s rafting available during the summer just outside the park. It’s about 25 minutes to Gatlinburg in the spring, probably longer during peak season . I wouldn’t make it my home base for a week-long visit to the Smokies, but it’s worth a night or two here to explore this side of the park, away from all the crowds. It’s at least 90 minutes from here to Cades Cove and that’s a spring, low crowd estimate; I can’t image how long it would take during peak season.
100 of the 140 sites are online reservation only; if you have an RV you'll probably want reservations to be sure you get a spot that is optimized for an RV. No cell service.
When traveling to the Smoky Mountains there are so many options for camping. Depending on your preference, group size or location you can find sites scattered throughout the park which suit your needs. As a solo traveler, a lot of times I miss out on the awesome amenities offered by the various group camps around the country, however I decided while enjoying my time in the Smoky Mountains to check out a few of them just to see what I was missing.
Cosby Group Camp is about 5 miles from the town of Cosby. Despite being in the park, unlike many which are located inside its bounds this means you are closer to amenities like modern stores and plenty of supplies. The roads here are wide and sites are spacious and the sites are secluded in a beautiful shaded array tall trees.
The bathrooms here are much nicer than some of the campgrounds in the area and offer flushing toilets and drinking water, although I didn't notice any showers when I was visiting.
The camp is made of 3 main sites, so it by no means is the largest group camp in the park, so if you are looking I would suggest trying to make your reservations early. Each site has tent pads and firings with grills. Picnic tables are scattered throughout the site and plenty of parking is available for guests so you could probably have a pretty sizable group in each of the sites.
I'd say this site would be great for a group of friends traveling together or a family out on a vacation together. And I think the overall best part of the site was that it only was $30 for each site, which is crazy considering some of the solo sites I had looked at in the area were that much with the same amenities.
Stop off in Crosby if you need food or other supplies, the closest next town would be Gatlinburg which has tons of entertainment.
Book in advance, don't try to arrive and book on same day, that apparently is rare.
Keep in mind this campground is not open year round so if you are traveling check online first before trying to stay to make sure it is open. Dates are flexible for opening based on weather in the area.
Cosby Campground is amazing! Most sites are walk up, so you don’t need a reservation, and there are probably 100+ sites, so even during the busiest of times you can find a good site. Each site has plenty of space too, so you’re not on top of the site next to you. No showers, but several restrooms in the campground. The trailhead for Mt. Cammerer via Low Gap leaves from here also, and that was a great hike, the first 3+miles are rough and steep, but once you hit the AT it gets easier. Highly recommend Cosby Campground!!!
My hubby and I were in the Smokies last weekend to camp, hike and take in the changing fall colors - along with a few thousand other people. We were told that the only campground with an open spot for tent camping would be Cosby. Cosby was not close to any of the other attractions we wanted to see, but we went there nonetheless as we were ready to camp. We are so glad that we went to Cosby. It is quieter as it is not located in the more popular areas - and this made it the perfect spot for my husband and I as we are not too fond of crowds. We found quiet hiking trails nearby - compared with the rest of the Smokies that had very crowded hiking trails.
The campground staff was friendly, informative and helpful. The bathrooms were very clean and the campgrounds as well. We will definitely camp in Cosby again!
I was just passing through when I stayed at Cosby Campground and I wish I could have stayed for longer. The nature in the surrounding area is incredible and the other campers were very friendly. It's a fairly large campground with multiple loops, some reservable, some not, some for tent campers, some for RVs.
The hosts were very helpful in finding a good spot. The bathrooms have flush toilets and sinks but no showers and were kept in good condition. The sites are far enough a part that you don't feel crammed in. A lot of the tent sites had stairs/trails up or down a small so that the site itself was set off the road.
This is one of the first National Parks I've visited in a while that allows wood collection. You are not allowed to bring in your own campfire wood unless it was purchased locally and have been treated to appropriate standards. It was a little rainy and chilly in later October but the sites still were more or less filled by early evening.
great tent sites. clean and big bathrooms.