Standard (tent/RV)
RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Allowed
Pets Allowed
Drinking Water
About Elkmont - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
National Park Service
Drive In
Walk In
Hike In
+ More
ADA Accessible
Alcohol Allowed
Drinking Water
Electric Hookups
Fires Allowed
Firewood Available
Pets Allowed
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Sanitary Dump
No Sewer Hookups
Trash Available
No Water Hookups
No WiFi
Elkmont - Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located in Tennessee
35.659 N
-83.586 W
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23 Reviews of Elkmont - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Large National Park Campground with Lots of History in a Beautiful Setting

When you first get to the campground, you may think it is the typical national park campground, and it is in a several ways. However, this campground has a little-known area that many people ignore. First of all, the campsite we stayed in was spacious and had a fire ring. It didn’t have electricity and water, but it was large enough to put a really large tent for my best friend and me. The bath house does not have showers, but they are more than adequate for primitive camping. The campground is located in an area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that has the Little River through it, so you have the sounds of the creek at night. You can gather wood for your campfire, but you cannot transport firewood into the campground unless it has been certified and sealed in plastic. If you are not tubing or fishing in the river, you can travel a few miles to explore Cades Cove. However, next to the campground, there is the little-known area I mentioned earlier. I found it fascinating and lots of fun to explore. It is a ghost town, which began as a logging town. In the early 1900s, it became a resort, and from what I understand, many of the residents were from eastern Tennessee. Some of the buildings have been restored, but most of them are deteriorating quickly. We were able to go inside most of the buildings, but you have to be careful. You are not allowed to go into the some of them, which have signs and are dangerous. However, just to walk down the streets among the buildings is a beautiful sight, especially in the fall. The last thing I heard is that they are going to raze most of the buildings. Overall, Elkmont Campground is a peaceful place to stay with a lot of history. My advice would be to plan ahead since this campground can fill up during peak season. It is the largest campground of the Smokies, if I understood correctly, but campers come from all over the United States to stay here.

Great place to base a Smokies trip!

Elkmont is a huge campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

They have plenty of sites for tents and RVs. There is a camp store, showers, and restrooms. They provide potable water access. Some sites do have electric hookups for medical needs, which are also handicap accessible. Most site are primitive sites with no water or electric hookup available. Some loops do allow the use of generators during certain hours. Pets are allowed in the campground, but not on the trails.

This campground has great access to hiking and fishing, as well as wildlife viewing.

We spent our weekend trip hiking and enjoying the butterflies that fill the park in September.

The best!!

This is my 2nd favorite campground ever! The sites are huge, the river running through is perfect for inter tubbing, good swimming areas, tons of hiking, & beautiful scenery. PEACEFUL!! My parents started bringing me camping here when I was 9 we’d come every year for a week. I’m 30 & married now so I drag my husband camping here ha I still tube on the river & hiking is the best. My favorite time to come is summer. I’ve camped there twice during the synchronized firefly show (definitely look it up if you haven’t heard of it). The campground closes from Nov-March but you can still go in & hike. March is a gorgeous time to go & there aren’t a lot of people camping around that time. It’s primitive so there aren’t any hook ups at all. There aren’t showers but they have many nice bathhouses set up that have toilets & sinks. Highly recommend!!

Perfect for our stay in GSMNP!

GSMNP is so huge, it is difficult to decide where in the park to stay. Elkmont is sort of centrally located and has trails from the campground (although we drove to other trailheads). This busy campground is huge with loops A-N. We stayed in Loop A and although our site did not back up to the creek, we could easily hear it. Good spacing between sites. Clean bathrooms with cold running water and a utility sink. No internet, showers or hookups but for $12.50/night (with 50% senior discount), you can’t beat the price! Firewood is available for purchase in the park and it was the best wood we’ve ever bought. Our two bundles had our fire going for well over four hours. Although the campground is huge and full, it was very quiet.

Nice area to explore!

Elkmont Campground has over 200 campsites with paved driveways, gravel tent pads, fire rings, and picnic tables. Due to its central location and variety of amenities, Elkmont Campground tends to be very busy in the summer and into the fall. Restrooms at Elkmont Campground have flush toilets, cold running water, and utility sinks. Potable water is available at spigots near each restroom.

A variety of hiking is available in the park. Outside of the park in nearby Gatlinburg, you can find rafting trips, museums, restaurants, and more!

One of my faves

Beautiful camping, hiking, and incredible views and overlooks. My favorite time to camp or spend time in Elkmont is definitely the fall.


I’ve been camping ther since I was a kid. By far the most amazing campground around.

No Glamping allowed.

Beautiful campground, surrounded by nature. The most predominate sound is the river that runs the entire length of the campground. This is our favorite campground in the Smoky Mountains.

Rustic, primitive camping

I've stayed at Elkmont many times. It's about 7 hours from my house, so know the miles are worth it. For those that can do without electricity and onsite water and sewer, this is the best campground in the Smokies. All others have a dump site in the campground. The closest to Elkmont to dump RV tanks is across from the Sugarlands Visitor Center almost 7 miles away. I wish Elkmont would remedy that, but it stays full most of the camping season as it is, so I doubt any upgrades are forthcoming. It's the only thing keeping me from giving it 5 stars.

That aside, this campground is our favorite. The Little River that flows through the campground is great. It's good for tubing. The campground store is well stocked most of the time. There aren't as many ranger led programs as there used to be, but the one's still there are wonderful.

The circus that happens during the firefly event is also worth putting up with. There is nothing like the display the fireflies put on usually the first 2 weeks in June. Keep in mind reservations for that week must be made pretty soon to the 6 month period the NP set up. Wait a month and you won't get those weeks.

Lastly the weather, although this area receives the 2nd most rainfall in the lower 48, is very cool in the dead of summer. Might get hot in the middle of the day on rare occasions (good time to dip into the aforementioned river that never gets too much above 40 degrees), the nights are usually cool enough to sit around a campfire.

The "month visited" down the menu would only give me one choice. July is the last visit we made, but any month its open is great. Again if you want the firefly weeks or leaf peeping fall weeks, make sure to reserve right at that 6 month window. Or you will have few choices if any.

Very popular but very pretty in GSMNP

This campsite is in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is one of the biggest and busiest.

Yay: this is a fairly typical big national park campground in many ways. There is a camp store with firewood (you are required to buy it from an authorized location!). Nice roomy campsites with a lot of plant cover letting you feel like you have a private area. You can hike some trail from right on site. Rangers have almost nightly programming for all ages.

Nay: given the traffic it is well maintained but can still be a little behind in restroom cleanliness. We’ve stayed here many times and how clean the campsite and bathrooms/facilities are can vary a lot. The staff are all excellent though and are happy to hop to it and solve any issues you may have with the facilities. Also bring tons of bug spray! No showers.

Surprise: cool little ghost town nearby for neat photos. Many sites are along an adorable creek (B-teens for example).