The best camping near
Cherokee National Forest, TENNESSEE

675 Reviews 311 Campgrounds
Camping Tennessee Cherokee National Forest
EXPLORE
Most Recent Cherokee National Forest Camping Reviews
Our Travel Trailer Maiden Voyage

We booked a little late here for our trip so our campsite was near the more residential campers with several just overnighters coming in and out beside us. Huge campground with a nice stream flowing through with ducks and geese and a pond. Lots of walking areas, some paved, most not so it can take a beating on a stroller. Extremely golf cart friendly. Beautiful landscaping and gardens maintained by a sweet lady for the managers/employee housing. Cabins scattered about. Playground doesn’t have a infant swing but is in great working condition. Lots for the kids to do including a small arcade. Staff overall were nice and accommodating. Easily accessible to grocery stores and a few restaurants. Laundry area is well maintained and sufficient. They even have rolling baskets to transport wet clothes to dryer and a waiting area if you wanted to read or book adventures while you wait. We traveled here in early fall/late summer (after Labor Day). Had we known the pool was still open, we would’ve taken advantage of that as well of course weather dependent.

Very clean

This camp ground was super clean and very well taken care of. The women on the camp ground was wonderful, we had gotten there after dark because of thanksgiving traffic and she waited up for us to get our site. The only reason I’m giving it a four star instead of five is because we like to tent camp and over the tent grounds there was a bright light that wouldn’t turn off. Definitely more of an RV place but still very nice.

Favorite Campground Yet💛

Visited for just one night in mid-August and absolutely loved it. Stayed at T1, which you can’t pull your car up to, but we were able to park a couple hundred feet away. The views are incredible, we were literally in the clouds. I highly recommend this spot. Also lots of butterflies in the area if that’s your thing 🦋

Beautiful

As far as campgrounds go , it wasn't bad . Just something is it's a self service check in which I didn't know , and when I asked for help one of the camp host wasn't vary helpful but since I had a reservation I just needed to go to the site( which was not posted ) . Our neighbors had a generator going ( which is posted that it's prohibited) which was on for the 1st day before someone finally told them to turn it off . Our site was beautiful and overlooked the lake , but you couldn't get to the water from our site , there was about a 6 ft cliff so for kayaking you have to go down the road from the campground and pay $2.00 for a day pass . It's not a bad place to stay just don't know if I'll ever go back .

Very Pleased

Was very easy getting in and out of this campsite. The view was nice and you’re literally inches from the river. It was 30F when we stayed but I would love to return in the warmer months and get in the river or kayak.

We booked via Airbnb and the owner was very helpful and friendly.

Great Location Overall

Incredible spot that we will return to for sure.

We drove about 10 miles down NC105 to find a good spot that was available. Be sure to have 4WD (preferably a off-roading vehicle) to make it up some parts of the road.

The spot was massive and could easily fit 5+ vehicles and sleep 20 comfortably. The view was nice and we were able to see Lake James in the distance (due to being far down the trail).

First photo is at night, second is in the morning, third is a pull off further down the trail on the way to the exit.

Woke up in the morning to hunting dogs barking and a few gunshots. This didn’t bother us however but it’s something to note incase it would impact you.

It's rustic

A very quiet campground that does allow you to have a fire in your campsite. There is wood for sale. The bathhouse is very nice. The views from most of the sites are breathtaking.

Back to Nature

Dirt site by the River all hook ups. They also have small cabins and tent sites. Walking distance to trails and town. Spa with hot spring hot tubs across the street.

Great Campground for RVs and Great Views for Tents

I had wanted to stay at this campground for several years, and I finally got the opportunity to do so. It looked inviting every time I passed by it. When I looked on the website, it showed tent sites, but most of the sites are for RVs. I was surprised to see that the best sites are along Jonathan Creek. These do not have water or electricity, but that didn’t matter to me. There are tent sites that have water and electricity, but they are behind the office, which is part of the main building. I am guessing that there are well over 100 RV sites. Most sites(if not all) have water, electricity, and sewer hookups. There are not many tangible amenities; there is no pool or playground, basketball court, etc. However, this campground is all about location. Not too far from the campground is Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hemphill Bald(mountain and trail), the Cataloochee Divide Trail, and the natural beauty of the mountains. There is also Jonathan Creek, which is known for trout fishing. The tent sites along the creek are beautifully arranged in a line with enough space not to be crowded. Unfortunately, most of them do not have fire rings, but I found one at T5 that did have. I am guessing that the picnic tables at the entrance to the tent sites are for the tents since only one or two tent sites had picnic tables and it is close to the end of the season. My favorite part about the tent sites is that you can sit facing the creek and look at the mountains in the background, although you will see a few houses in the mountains. Another advantage of the tent sites by the creek is that you hear the creek all night long, which drowns out any road noise. This campground is privately owned and not part of a franchise. It is good to see that they still welcome tent campers.

Campground Close to Smokies and Blue Ridge Parkway with Great Views

This campground is about views. It doesn’t have water or electric hookups. It doesn’t have sewer hookups. It doesn’t have a swimming pool, playground equipment, an entertainment pavilion, or any of the other things many campgrounds and RV resorts have. The biggest attraction for Mile High Campgound is the view, but I guess I should say views(plural). The campground is adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but there is a long approach road to lessen any traffic noise—not that there would be any anyway. It seems to be situated on a ridge, so it offers different views in several directions. The host was nice and suggested that I pick a site before paying. I camped during the week and when it was cold, so I had a good choice of sites. She highlighted the available ones with the best views, and it was difficult to decide which one I liked best. I chose one with a view of a sunset rather than one with a sunrise, knowing I might not get up early enough to catch the sun rise. You can expect it to be at least ten degrees(or more) colder than down in the valleys. There is a reason it is called“Mile High.” This is a primitive campground, and there are no hookups that I know of. There is, however, a bath house with flush toilets and showers. The bath house is a bit rustic, but it serves the purpose. Some people might not like that it has a concrete floor and just one stand up sink, but again, it serves its purpose. There are also“toilet facilities” at opposite ends of the campground since it is a long, narrow campground. Since I forgot to take any firewood, I bought a bundle of kindling for$5.00. I knew I wouldn’t have a long fire anyway. As I mentioned earlier, there are no modern amenities like a swimming pool, playground, or recreation hall. Did I mention that this campground is all about the views? There is a platform for viewing the sunsets close to the camp office. The campground is within a short driving distance of several waterfalls, places to view elk, Harrah’s casino, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so sticking around the campground all day is not something you probably want to do. The towns of Maggie Valley and Cherokee are close, so if you like shopping, those towns have several quaint shops and other attractions. Overall, this campground is a pleasant campground to stay in because of the peace and quiet and the beauty.

Amazing sunset views from the top of a mountain!

This place was absolutely amazing. We loved our time here! It’s on top of a mountain and there are amazing sunset views. We spotted this place online before we decided to buy an RV and it definitely lived up to our high expectations. There are premium sites and deluxe sites. The premium sites have an amazing view right from their sites. The deluxe ones still have nice views, but not quite like the deluxe ones. However, there is a common area where you can go that has the best view of all! That’s where we watched the sunset every night and it was fun getting to know the other campers. We saw a black bear and turkeys in the campground too! The staff is super helpful. Each site has a trash can so you do not have to worry about making dumpster runs. Be sure not to get there early- the one way road going up to the campground is steep and I’m not quite sure what would happen if you met another RV!

Conveniently located for all things outdoors

Smokemont Campground-Blue Ridge Parkway, Cherokee, NC-

-site 25($25 nightly). 

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/232486 

Nestled in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park at 2200 feet, close to crystal clear mountain streams, great hiking, and right down the Ridgeway from Clingman’s Dome. 

There are far too many outdoor activities to list that are a short drive away. So the location is prime.

(Disclaimer: My perspective comes from a tent camper that prefers privacy and solitude…so take my ramblings with a grain of salt…and I ordinarily fly by the seat of my pants without reservations). 

Even during the week in late October, there were only four available sites left right near the entrance. Campground Rangers in the office and walking the grounds were very friendly and helpful. All sites are line of sight…and though at capacity, campers were politely quiet. 

Tent sites have a gravel pad that you must utilize…firepit and picnic table. An all non-electric, non-generator campground. You won’t get cell service either…you must travel to the nearby visitor center for that convenience. 

Bathrooms are modern, no showers. 

Water is available throughout the campground. 

The park’s visitor center, roughly a mile down the road usually have local herd of elk grazing in the adjacent fields where tourist stop to take photos. A few gobblers joined the elk during my visit. Warning signs and Rangers on foot, keep photographers from encroaching onto the fields…but the visitor center parking lot is usually filled and vehicles are parked along both side of the roadway. 

Clingman’s Dome is a highlight. Realize that though you get to drive most of the way up the mountain, you must still walk from the parking lot to the summit and up the ramp for the birds eye 360 view.(**Pit latrines are in the parking lot only…not in the tiny visitor center, nor at the summit) Note: while the walkway to the summit is paved, it has a fairly steep pitch. Tip: earlier in the day has fewer clouds, afternoon tends to see more view-obscuring cloud cover. The wind is strong and several degrees cooler than the parking lot.

 Final Thoughts: Smokemont Campground is a quiet, comfortable, conveniently located campground for short stays in a wonderful setting…but realize it is extremely popular and fills up nightly.

Basic Trail Shelter for Overnights on the Way to Appalachian Trail

This is the second time I have been to Kephart Prong Shelter. The first time was over thirty years ago, and it seemed dreary. This time, however, was a much better experience. To stay here, you have to get a permit from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park since it is within the park boundaries. To get to the shelter, you have to hike two miles starting from Hwy. 441 through the national park between Cherokee and Gatlinburg. The trail is not as steep as some trails, but it is rocky! It is so rocky that my trail shoes didn't quite seem adequate… because the trail was rocky. It was rocky all the way after the first of four foot bridges. After the first footbridge it became"rockier." Large rocks, small rocks, medium sized rocks. It was rocky. Did I mention that the trail was rocky? BTW, I finally decided to take a break at the fourth foot bridge because my feet hurt from the rocky trail. Once you get to the shelter, the trail continues up to the Appalachian Trail. In my opinion, the main reasons for staying at this shelter are(1) that it is on the way to the AT, or(2) you just want to get into the woods for a night. The“bathroom” is a short trek into the woods to the seventh big tree on the left. You have to hoist your food up at night via one of two cable systems. Otherwise, you risk of your food being taken by mice/rats, bears, or other critters. The only water source is from the creek, which is a pleasant sound at night while you’re sleeping. Make sure to take a good inflatable pad. You can take a closed cell foam pad, but they don’t provide a whole lot of cushion on a wood platform. Overall, Kephart Trail shelter is good for a night’s sleep, but I have been to better shelters.

RV Resort Close to Great Smoky Mountains, Elk, and More

The first time I came here decades ago, I stayed in a tent. The second time, I stayed in one of the cabins. This time, it was a whole different experience. This campground has transformed, like many campgrounds, into more of an RV resort. Not having to walk to the bath house in the middle of the night was a welcome relief, but RV camping is not my favorite way to“camp.” Primarily a tent camper, I am not used to being shoulder length from my neighbor at the campground. However, this campground/RV resort is a great destination campground for RVers. It has all the amenities you could want—a swimming pool, basketball court, open pavilion; and some people were even playing corn hole under one of the pavilions. A great thing about this campground is that you get a sense of“community” here since some of the campers stay here for six months out of the year. Besides the aforementioned amenities, there are at least two areas for children to play that have swings, slides, etc., and there are horseshoe pits for older“children.” Trout fishing is a popular activity in this area, and with the adjacent creek being stocked on a regular basis, visitors often come away with some prize catches. I have seen more than one fisherman coming away with three or more trout. The campground is along Jonathan Creek, so if you are lucky enough to get a spot along the creek, the sounds are very relaxing. Where we were, we heard lots of road noise during the day, and since this area is a destination for bikers, we heard lots of motorcycles. Fortunately, staying in a camper, the road noise is somewhat lessened. Unless you are staying around the campsite all day, the noise shouldn’t bother you. After all, this area is a popular destination for lots of activities outside the boundaries of the campground. Some people go to“Wheels Through Time,” a nationally famous motorcycle museum, and some people just like driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is only five to six miles from the campground. Others enjoy going to see the elk at Cataloochee Valley or in Cherokee, or they might catch a sunset at Waterrock Knob. This is just a small sampling of things to do near the campground. Overall, the campground is a great“jumping off” destination and has lots of things to do for all ages. Although I prefer tent camping and a little more privacy when I camp, it is ideal for RVers.

Too small for the # of sites

It doesn't even deserve the 1 star. The sites are too close to each other. No privacy…people walking through your site to get to the bathrooms and loud about it. Updated bathhouse is nice but the wait for the showers can be down right ridiculous. If you are in the lower tent sites, it can be quite a little hike at 3 am to get to the bathroom. I don't recommend making reservations too far in advance. We had to cancel our last reservation because my daughter is having surgery and they were NOT nice and we didn't even get a partial refund.

There are MUCH nicer campgrounds close by. I will never stay here again.

A great campground, very clean and we'll kept. Right on the nolichucky rive

 One of the best small campgrounds to spend time with your family. Very quiet and relaxing. Great fishing with access to river for kayak or conoe. Can enjoy fire with your own fire pit or the community fire pit.

Gorgeous, Tent Only Campground

The only tent-only campground in the GSMNP considered frontcountry. Well maintained sites and restroom area. Note that some sites are closer to the parking area than others, and if you have trouble walking long distances I’d recommend site 1! Highly recommend.

Mountain Bike Heaven

This campground is perfect if your looking to bike/hike/trail run. There are various trails you can access from the site. Grounds are well maintained. Sites are small but spaced out. Very quiet. Restrooms were clean and showers were hot. Close proximity to downtown Asheville if you’re looking for something to do in the evening or if you want a good meal. I will certainly return to this campground.

Simple Pleasures

I truly love this campground. It is for campers who want to get back to the basics. No electricity, no water hookup at the sites, and no sites that accommodate large campers or trailers. Instead, the campground offers beautiful scenery, lovely trails, and peace and quiet. If you’re not a “glamper” and you want to get away from it all in a rustic, peaceful atmosphere, then this is the place for you.

Very clean and quite

Our camp spot was a little small but they do have bigger options available. We loved the lake area and enjoyed fishing there. The location on the Blue Ridge Parkway was beautiful and very secluded. The bathhouse was spotless everytime I went to shower. It also smelled freshly clean and always had plenty of hot water (not always the case when camping). The camp store employees were super friendly and helpful. We will go back again but will book a bigger spot to have more privacy.

Very clean and nice

The park is very nice , very clean. There are shower facilities there . We hiked there, the mountain were cold even in  July. Beautiful place !

Nice a Quite

Way out in the middle of nowhere

Great campsite

30 minute drive to Mount Mitchell State Park - our hiking destination. The campsites closer to Mitchell were reserved. This campground has 20 rv spots & 70 renting spots. $20 per day. There’s a great 2.5 mile hike to Crabtree falls within the campground.

Loud

Location is convenient but definitely more suited for campers than tents. Highway traffic noise (semis, engine braking) is LOUD…might be ok in a camper but not in a tent. Sites are small, close together and mostly gravel. Facilities are nice and clean.

Family Friendly Camping

This is a campground that definitely caters to families. Lots to do for the kids. Pool, waterslide, playground, fishing pond and other activities seasonally. Nice camp sites with full hookups available. My only complaint is the small amount of 50amp hookups. We have moved up in RV size from a pop up and find it hard to get a site for our new unit. Other than that, we highly recommend this resort.

Relaxing and Quite

Nice campground with full amenities. Have stayed here at least 2 X per year the last several years. Restrooms/Bathhouses are always clean. This is a small Park, but they always have something going on in season.

14a

Amazing site and campground.

Killer sites - most alongside as creek - mere yards from a gorgeous College

We abandoned plans to stay at place in Old Fort (see listing for Catawba Falls) and ended up here as a last chance before having to hit a hotel to turn back around to CLT.  Boy, were we happy with our choice.  Nice bathhouse w/ heated showers, super nice semi-primitive sites, half of them alongside a creek, the others are mere steps away.  Lovely homes line the drive up and you are on land owned by Montreat College, a private Presbyterian-affiliated liberal arts college you hope your grandkids are smart enough to get into.  Stately buildings, a lake, hiking and walking paths galore.  Just the right amount of civilization - wood to purchase, flush toilets.  Spotty cell service - if you have T Mobile forget it, if you have Verizon you're golden.  I saw trailers in several spaces but it looks like a TIGHT squeeze in many sites.  Tent sites are plentiful and lovely.  Check in down the hill at the stately Assembly Inn hotel.  Like the campground and the surrounding area - the people are total class and you cannot get a better price and location this close to Asheville.

Armpit of a trailer park

Let's be honest.  There's campgrounds and there's places that wish they are something other than what they are.  This place reeks of old school charm - if you can look past the lines of semi-permanent RVs, the millimeter wide spacing between the tent sites and the express lack of parking on site.  We paid for our site, arrived, looked at the disaster that awaited us, and wisely moved up the road to a real campground - Montreat Campground.  Avoid this place unless it is your only option.

Very interesting place

Our family really enjoyed the this park , there are many interesting structures at the park. The staff was very friendly . The park is very clean there are informative facts .