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Alcoa, TENNESSEE
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The property is beautiful, surrounded by a little rushing river which you can hear from quite a distance - lovely white noise for sleeping.

Gravel tent pads prevent mud when it rains. They're a little small though. Only 16' x 16' tents allowed though which made things challenging for my family of 7. We had to buy a new, smaller tent, and had no room to store our kitchen supplies inside.

Most of the tent sites are in a clearing the middle of all the campers, which makes you feel a bit on display. There are about 6 sites that are down by the river, surrounded by more trees and away from the campers that are fantastic, but they fill up fast.

This campground is definitely geared more towards campers / glamping. The shower rooms were nicer than many hotels and well maintained.

There is lots of room for kids to play safely and they're constantly expanding and adding new features. Firewood is available for sale, as well as golf carts for rent.

BRING QUARTERS if you plan to use the laundry room. Change is only provided during office hours.

I plan to return.

Nice campground

Campground has grass RV sites that are pretty level with full hookups, tent camping, a small store with food & supplies. Sites are very close together with a creek running behind them. Only long enough for 30-35ft at the most. Shady a lot of the day. Campground is clean. Owners are very nice. They offer whitewater rafting trips—mine was great—8mi (2-3hrs) down the nantahala river. There is gem mining & a trout farm nearby.

Nice with great owners

Campground has cabins, RV sites with hookups, places for tent camping. RV sites are concrete pads, somewhat level. Cabins are fully stocked. Most are on hillside but a couple are easily accessible. Enclosed pavilion has restroom, shower, TV, soda machine, AC, & kitchen you can buy food cooked by owner. No wi-fi. I had two bar signal on verizon. Campground is close to the bottom of the tail of the dragon. Everything is very clean & kept up.

Love it!!!

I have stayed at this campground twice. Both times we had fantastic fishing. The camp sites are well maintained and allow for lots of room. There are lots of activities outside of fishing as well. But that was what I was there for.

Tent spots on the lake!

We only stayed one night, but will return to take advantage of the prime lake front tent spots! On the map it shows individual sites, but it’s more of a disbursed area. You can see in my pics how close you are to the water, you could easily launch a kayak, swim, fish, etc. and the frogs and crickets sing so loud at night! It’s wonderful! However, in the morning there’s some road noise, we stayed on a weeknight, so weekends could be better, but I’m not sure. There is a portable restroom in the tent area, it was extremely clean, I didn’t go in the bathhouse. The rest of the campground is rv sites and is heavily wooded, so there’s lots of shade and privacy despite being close together. They also have a nice pool! The campground is very close to downtown knoxville too. We really enjoyed it and would recommend.

Great fishing hole for tent campers

If you are wanting to fish the bank or even put in kayaks this spot is money. The tent sights are located right on a great fishing cove on Fort Loudon reserve. We booked tent site 7 but when we got there someone was fishing off the point where our campsite was supposed to be. We just took the spot next to it and didn't bother. They ended up leaving late and we had what is somewhat like our own private island that night. The peacefulness of that evening was far from the same in the morning. The tent spots towards the point are apparently very close to the hwy and morning commute traffic was pretty loud. It is probably not near as loud on the weekends but we stayed Sun night so heard Mon morning commute traffic.

Loved the State Park

Campground had everything you need but little more. Not a bad place to stay just didn't love being right along the powerline. We drove over to the West Campground and wished we had booked a spot there. Nothing wrong and completely adequate on the East but would highly recommend booking the West Campground if spots are open. You will be more in the timber and shaded by some canopy.

East Campground

I’ll start by saying the park is beautiful! Views of the lake and dam are breathtaking! Just don’t plan to swim, as there is no lake access point for swimming. You can rent kayaks, boats, paddleboards, etc at the marina, but if you were planning to bring a float and get in the lake, you’ll be disappointed. There’s lots of hiking trails, and the Clinch River Brewing Co is very close too. The east campground is pretty small, and sites are close together. The primitive sites looked better and the cabins looked great. The restrooms were very outdated, and barely any water pressure in the shower. We drove by the west campground and it looked nicer, if we return we will stay on that side.

Great spot

Great place to stay before hiking long day hikes

Beautiful

Beautiful

Great easy short hike to secluded camp

Geat for anyone looking for short easy hike to secluded back country camp. Great space and nice flat area to set up camp right near water. Already has set up to hang everything from bears too. Really enjoyed and definitely recommend

Great secluded site in busy park

Saw only 1 person entire 3 days at site after short and easy trek. Right next to water which is always good & equipped with PCT to keep bears away from food. Had a great time

Basic, small, but gets the job done

I stayed here on a lollipop backpacking loop I did in the Smokies. While I was there, it was raining fairly heavily for my entire trip, which obviously hampered my camping experience a little.

This campsite is slightly remote for the Smokies, and I had to do a bit of bushwhacking to get myself back there at the end of the trail. I was the only person there—did not see a single person on any of the trails around there for two days. So, if you're looking for seclusion in the most visited national park in the country, this is where you'll want to go.

All-in-all, the rain was a damper, but it's a nice stop overnight for a backpacker. Just don't plan on spending multiple days there.

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.

Great Little Hiking and Fishing Spot

Rock Creek Campground is the only campground for the Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park. It's a primitive campground with 11 sites for tents only. RVs are not allowed. There is a restroom for campers with pit style toilets. No potable water available, but there is plenty that you can treat.

Each site has a picnic table, lantern hook, bearproof food locker, fire ring with grill, and a tent pad. Bearproof trashcans are located throughout the campground. A section of the Cumberland Trail begins at the campground. The Emory River runs right alongside the campground with easy access. There is no camp store, but the town of Wartburg is about a mile away if you need anything.

Pros: Good hiking trails and great fishing. Easy access to the river. Restrooms available.

Cons: The sites are very close together and it gets quite crowded during the summer months and on weekends. A public road runs right next to the campground so there is traffic at times when people are coming and going from work. No camp store or potable water available. Bathrooms are not kept stocked.

Smokey getaway

Great campground to go for one night or many, close to downtown Gatlinburg and conveniently by Great Smoky national park

Off the beaten path nestled in the mountains.

Great family place to stay. Lots of things to do for everyone even thr furry four legged family members. Very reasonably priced as well.

Small KOA, very clean, family oriented, quite, with lots of stuff for kids.

Great for families, tons of stuff for kids if all ages!

Off the main strip a bit for some peace.

We have been coming to Up the Creek shortly after they opened. This campground is a short drive off the main strip in Pigeon Forge which makes for some peacefulness while camping. We love the fact that there is trees between campers so it doesn’t feel like your camping on top one another. There are clean a lovey creeks around the campground that makes it nice to camp by or kids play in. The shade helps with cooling in the summer, and makes it nice to sit outside. They have grown and now have some new larger campsites, and there is a dog area that is fenced in. This is a very clean campground and the pigeon forge trolley comes around every so often for guest. They don’t have a bathhouse yet, playground, but they do have full hook ups, cable, WiFi and super friendly staff. If you wanna be away from traffic give this campground a try.

Back up plan if the Smokies are full

This campground is right off of Route 321. The campsites are packed in tight and there isn’t much enjoyable space to walk around in. There are bathrooms with hot showers, and there was a washer and dryer available. They do allow tent and RV camping.

Get a spot on Millionaires Row

Good: The river was amazing. Most spots are relatively spaced out. Very flat tent areas in every single site.

Just so you know: No showers. No cell service in the campgrounds, closest is towards Sugarland HQ about 10-15 minutes east. Camp store is only open 4-7pm. Can’t bring your own firewood.

Great location to explore Cades Cove Loop

I'll give it 5 stars because there is no way to beat the location of the Cades Cove campground located at the entrance to the Cades Cove loop road that is dotted with old homesteads, trails to waterfalls, and wildlife. Stay here because the road itself is crowded enough during peak seaon; you'll be glad you won't have to fight the traffic just to reach it!

Some of the B loop sites are starting to look a little older, with cracking pavement. There's been some tree loss here as well. The back of the campground offers slightly larger, more level, and quieter sites. bathrooms are no frills, clean, flush toilets, no hand soap. The C loop is open year round, but not all of it. The front rows tend to have more of a slope and are closer together; the ones on the back side of the loop are larger, more level, and more secluded. No showers in the park; ask at the visitor's center for a list of area campgrounds that will allow you to shower for $3-5.

This is one of two year-round campgrounds in the park. Make your reservations online. You need to spend a couple of days here, but not your entire stay. The camp store is heavy on souvenirs, also has take out food. Bike rentals make it easy to take advantage of the bikes only mornings on the loop road. Firewood is available here, but you may also gather downed firewood in the park. Otherwise, it must be heat-treated firewood.

No cell service; head into Townsend, TN for that.

Less crowded campground; stay while exploring this part of the Smokies

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.

Gorgeous wilderness, no amenities

This campground has very few sites and they don’t allow pre-bookings. It’s very rustic - there is a bathroom with toilets but no showers. The campground is walking distance to Joyce Kilmer memorial forest and a boat launch on lake Santeetlah. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever camped.

Most beautiful campground

We go back to Windrock park every year. It's our favorite place to camp. It's always clean and well kept. Lots to do.. Off roading, shooting range, mountain bike trails, atv rentals. Very close to town if needed. The serenity and peace we feel staying there makes us never want to leave.

Ranger Review: Wenzel Sun Valley Screen House at Elkmont Campground

Campground Review

On a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you quickly learn that you’ll enjoy your visit a lot more if you are located close to what you want to see and do. This means you may find it worth your while to move from one campground to another during your stay, as I did. My final night in the park found me setting up camp at Elkmont Campground, < 5 miles from the Sugarlands entrance, so I would have a shorter drive to view sunset and sunrise from overlooks along the beautiful Newfound Gap Rd. This is also the viewing area for the synchronous fireflies in late May/early June (dates vary; parking passes by lottery in April) if you don’t have a campsite reservation).

Elkmont is open early March – October and reservations are required. If you arrive without a reservation, there is a phone line there that you can call to make them, or you can return to town where you have cell service and make reservations online. This early in the season (mid-April) the campground wasn’t full, some of the loops were closed. I was in site A14, beside a branch of the Little River with a large tent pad, fire ring, picnic table, and paved, slightly sloped, parking pad. It was a compact site;  the location of the picnic table between the tent and fire ring made it a challenge to set up a screen house over the picnic table and maintain sufficient distance from the fire. I was pleased with my site and the privacy, though I liked the looks of A13 even better. It was somewhat larger and more secluded. Many of the sites, particularly those on the western side of A - F loops, are along the river. Most of the sites are shaded. A few of the B-loop sites are walk-in. It’s bear country, so your food and toiletries need to be locked in a vehicle or hard-side camping unit; there are some food storage lockers provided for the walk-in sites. There’s a small camp store with limited supplies and hours (open late afternoon); Cades Cove has a much larger one, though it tends more toward souvenirs.

There’s cold running water, flush toilets, and a dishwashing station available, but no showers or hookups (a couple of accessible sites do have electricity for medical equipment). Bathrooms are basic, no frills, but clean; The one in the A loop didn’t even have an outlet or hand dryer. If you ask at the visitor’s center, they’ll provide you with a list of area campgrounds that allow you to take a shower for $3-7. The nearest dump station is a seasonal one at the Sugarlands Visitor Center (doesn’t open until late May); the one at Cades Cove is open year round. Buy firewood in the park or, better yet, pick up deadwood around the park.

One of the more intriguing areas to explore at Elkmont is the Daisy Town ghost town. Once you’ve set up camp, walk or drive down the road toward the Little River and Jakes Creek trails (leaves the camp road to the left before the ranger station on your way into the campground). Follow the signs for additional parking and you’ll find yourself at the end of a road lined with assorted cottages and cabins that used to be vacation homes. Some are open for exploration, others are cordoned off, and some are undergoing renovation. Another nearby, popular highlight is the hike to Laurel Falls.

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I sometimes I get to test and evaluate products. This is a review of a Wenzel Sun Valley 12’ x 12’ Screen House As a camper with a teardrop, I’m always looking to maximize my outdoor living space in subpar conditions, so I was excited to try this out at Elkmont.

I set this up alone the first time in 14 minutes without reading the instructions. The instructions are attached to the inside of the bag and recommend 2 people for set-up, but if you’ve pitched a dome tent in the past, you’ll find this inituitive. Continuous sleeves for 4 of the fiberglass poles and the “Fast Feet” made set- up easy. I did wish the sleeves for the cross-poles were continuous as well, but the gap allows for a hook to hold the ceiling up and it didn’t take much extra effort to slide the poles in. The hardest part was getting the 4th end of the cross poles for the roof into place. I couldn’t bend them enough to slide it in while on the ground, so waited until everything else was up…should have figured it out while it was at ground level rather than over my head! This part would definitely be easier if there were two people pitching it.

The zippers on the two doors close tightly and easily without extreme tension, though it was definitely easier to open and close with 2 hands rather than one. There was no gap at the junction of the 3 zippers. Once you are inside, you have a crystal clear view of the outside! It’s quite tall, I couldn’t touch the ceiling in the middle with a raised hand. It doesn’t have a floor, just a wide border around the perimeter, so you can place it over a picnic table. The picnic table (about 6’) fit inside it easily with plenty of room to walk around and even add a chair in a corner. I had to be careful about making sure the bottom of the walls lay flat on the ground, otherwise there were gaps.

It comes with 10 thin metal stakes for the feet and 4 plastic ones for the guy lines. A word of advice: USE THEM.  The first time I set this up, this experienced camper made a rookie mistake. The weather was nice, but it was getting dark, and I wanted to move it over the picnic table in the morning…so I didn’t stake it down. That night a wind storm blew through and blew it away! Found it at 4am in the next campsite,  astonished to discover it was still intact! No broken poles, just a slight abrasion on one sleeve and a tiny tear in one part of the screen that will be easily repaired. A couple of the poles slid out of the Fast Feet during its overnight adventure, allowing the screen house to collapse and preventing damage to the poles themselves (I’ve seen MANY other screen houses/canopies with bent and broken poles from wind). Truly impressed.

Pitched it again the next afternoon with the wind still blowing and as you can see in my video, the screen house was like a kite until I staked it down. Once staked, it stood up well to the wind, though it did cause the bottom edge of the screen house to lift a bit. If bugs are out in that weather (there were wind advisories), they probably deserve a chance for some shelter, too.

Taking it down, it easily fit back in the storage bag, with the zipper extending down one end to open the bag a bit more. Oh, and it weighs so much less than many of the canopies do, coming in around 20# and not requiring a wheeled case to lug it around. If you’re looking for a  screen house, this one has a lot going for it!

Black fly season is coming and with the Wenzel Sun Valley Screen House packed, I’m ready! MY fuller video review is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ealCyAi02HA

Spacious and wooded campground/outdoor resort

We stayed here off-season, so it was super quiet and empty, and we could experience all of the amenities that they have to offer, but what we saw if the grounds was wonderful. The sites are nice, and the RV sites have a stone patio, stone firepit, and a composite patio table with patio chairs, which was a lot nicer than the 'rustic' wooden picnic tables we are used to. The resort offers free WiFi and cable. The playground is huge and newer and my kids loved it. The KOA campstore onsite had groceries, cold drinks, camp essentials, and firewood.

Primitive camping in the most beautiful State Park

We have camped here in our tent and my only complaint is that the tent pads are slightly elevated and we have a huge two room tent that would not fit on any of the tent pads. We found a site that didn't have a tent pads and that's where we set up. So of you have a large or abnormally shaped tent you'll need to do some research first to find a tent site that will accommodate your tent. We love how wooded and shaded the sites are. We camped in the middle of a hot sticky Tennessee summer and felt just fine in all of the shade. Right around the corner from the loop of historic Cade's Cove, we were able to explore the loop and all that it offers. We were also close to the gift shop and camp store so the kids could go grab an ice cream cone in the afternoon. We had a a great time here.

If Pottery Barn made a campground...

This is a BEAUTIFUL outdoor resort with five star amenities, truly. We have camped here as a tent camper, and in our camper. The sites are small and close together, but this is still one of my favorite places to camp. You don't feel like you're on top of one another. The grounds are well appointed, landscaped, and maintained. The playground is beautiful and the kids loved it. There is a community firepit with rocking chairs around it, and it looks like it came out of a Martha Stewart magazine. The bathrooms were FABULOUS. SERIOUSLY. I've never wanted to bathe I'm a campground bathroom before, but I do it out of necessity. Well these bathrooms were luxurious and modern and so SO clean. I gladly bathed in the showers here and felt so clean afterwards! Lol. The bathrooms are locked with a pinpad and the codes are given upon check-in so you know random people aren't walking in off of the highway or anything. There is a pool on site, but we stayed in the fall so we didn't get to use it. There are also cabins and yurts available and they look really nice! There is a coffee shop on site also, with a playroom for small kids, and nice comfy chairs to lounge in. The coffee comes from a local artisan coffee roasters up the road and it was so tasty. The owners live onsite and are present and interacting with the campers. They run the office and shop, they checked us in and sold us our firewood. One weekend we were there (Fall) they had a live band for entertainment, on a Saturday evening, and it was awesome. They also had a S'mores bar set up for the kiddos, so that was pretty cool. We spent a lot of time at the community firepit meeting people and having adult beverages. It was wonderful! The campground also offers free WiFi and cable so we hooked up our TV and tailgated (during football season) and had an awesome time.

Family-friendly/tween-friendly outdoor resort

This is a large campground resort that offers cabins, spaces and hookups for RVs and travel trailers, and camping spots for tent camping. We have stayed here in a tent and in a camper so I can give a pretty good review as a camper here. The tent spaces were pretty large and very shaded and wooded. They offer electrical and water, and have a designated firepit and picnic table. We did not feel like we were on top of our neighbors at all, and with all the trees we were able to set up our hammocks easily. When we returned with our camper we still had a very wooded space,(although there are sections for larger RVs that are typical RV park spots that don't have much room or trees.) Our spot was on the river towards the back of the campground and felt secluded and was very shadedand and awesome. We were a little far from the pool, but still within walking distance, it was ok. The kids had room to play and explore and we were close to the playground, where many kids were playing, so my kids had a great time. The campground offers events on weekends, like pool parties and water balloon fights and scavenger hunts, and there is a gameroom on grounds for older kids. The pool is huge and there is a mountain waterslide and inflatables for the kids(and some grownups too) to enjoy. We loved camping here and felt that it was great for kids and tweens and teens. Probably not the best place if you want a quiet getaway though, lol. Also restrooms were okay, not the worst but not the best.