Located eight miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Elkmont Campground is the largest and busiest campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, making a great place for camping near Nashville. At an elevation of 2,150 feet, the area enjoys a moderate climate, characterized by mild winters and hot, humid summers.
The Little River runs through the campground offering visitors the option to camp waterfront. Campers can enjoy high-quality backcountry fishing in the cool waters of the Little River and countless other streams and rivers that snake through the mountains.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker's 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 Elkmont Campground. The nearby and popular Laurel Falls Trail leads to a spectacular 80-ft. waterfall.
Hiking and fishing are not the only reasons for visiting the Smokies: Picnicking, wildlife viewing and auto touring are popular activities.
With around 1,500 bears living in the park, it's not uncommon for visitors to spot one. From the big animals like bears, deer, and elk, down to microscopic organisms, the Smokies are the most biologically-diverse area in the world's temperate zone. 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.
Elkmont Campground has 200 tent / RV campsites with paved driveways, gravel tent pads, fire rings, and picnic tables. Although most sites will accommodate tents or RVs, extreme slope or length of driveway make certain sites more suitable for tents than RVs. Please check the descriptions and measurements of individual sites.
In addition to these tent / RV sites, Elkmont has 20 walk-in sites for tents. Campers on these beautiful wooded sites will have a short walk from their parking area to their tent pad.
Nine of Elkmont's campsites are wheelchair accessible ADA sites. These sites have wide concrete driveways, raised fire rings, and wheelchair accessible picnic tables. All of these sites are located near accessible restrooms. Three of the sites provide 5 amp electrical service for medical equipment.
Restrooms at Elkmont Campground have flush toilets, cold running water, and utility sinks. Potable water is available at spigots near each restroom; use of hoses is not allowed. Elkmont Campground does NOT have electric, water, or sewer hook-ups. There is no RV dump/fill station at Elkmont campground. The nearest RV dump/fill station is located across from Sugarlands Visitor Center approximately 6 miles from Elkmont.
Elkmont is strictly an overnight campground; there are no day-use facilities. The nearest picnic area is Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area, west of Elkmont on Little River Road.
Due to its central location and variety of amenities, Elkmont Campground tends to be heavily used during the summer vacation months and in October. Sites along Little River are in particularly high demand. Even when Elkmont is full, campsites are often available at Cosby Campground, located at the northeast corner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Generations of campers have returned to Elkmont year after year, drawn by the sounds of the river, the tranquility of the forest, and the variety of recreational activities in the Elkmont area. Little River and Jakes Creek run through the campground, offering easy access for fishing or cool summertime splashing. Trailheads for Little River Trail, Jakes Creek Trail, and Elkmont Nature Trail are located adjacent to the campground. Historic remnants of Little River Lumber Company's logging camp and old buildings from the Elkmont resort community offer campers a glimpse of life at Elkmont nearly a century ago.
Gatlinburg, one of the Smokies' most famous tourist towns, is located about nine miles from Elkmont and offers organized rafting trips, museums, restaurants, galleries, an aquarium, skiing and more.
ADA Access: N
Camped here with a large group spread over two campsites. We pitched tents right by the water which was awesome. It was quiet, but there wasn't much separation between campsites and often found other campers just people-watching the entire trip.
With Gatlinburg nearby, and the overall size of the campgrounds, it felt very touristy and not like a typical camping trip. While we had fun, we probably would not return for these two reasons.
Elkmont is a 40 minute drive from Clingman's Dome, which was, as one of my friends put it "the greatest experience i've had camping, ever". Great trails to be found all over the place, too.
No cell service available, which was also great, if you care about that.
Great in winter which is normally closed but Cades cove is closed so I got to stay in campground and it was quite compared to summer. Summer time you have shuttle that runs to Gatlinburg so you don’t have to drive. Hiking great too.
When visiting Gatlinburg and camping this is a great spot! Close to town and you can take the trolley in if you like. Cool down in the river or go for a scenic drive.
Great large sectioned campsites with beautiful tree coverage. The campsite are spaced far enough away from each other that you nearly feel alone they have great pads for putting up the tent. Bathrooms are clean and easily accessible around the campground. The sound of running water from the river can be heard throughout the campground. This campground is centrally located to great hikes Laurel Falls, Charlie’s Bunion. It is a easy drive into Gatlinburg and the visitors center.
Spent 4 nights here; Really beautiful misty campground! It's located right near Gatlinburg so it's a short drive to town to grab whatever you need. Walmarts and supermarkets are located outside of Gatlinburg. Campground is pretty open and dog friendly! Has an outdoor sink and bathrooms but no showers. There's a lovely and very cold creek to go walking or swimming in. Elkmont has an open layout so you can see your neighbors there's trees all around, during sunset and sunrise hours you can see the sun peaking out of the branches and misty air low on the ground it's breathtaking!! Laurel falls is a fun hike nearby that leads to a nice waterfall you can waddle around in. Definitely a family friendly environment as well! Each campsite has a fire pit, bench, water hook-up to bring your own supply, and a paved out center to put your tent on. Try NOT TO DRIVE AT NIGHT no street lights of course in the mountains and roads are very loopey so be careful.
Elkmont is awesome! We loved camping on the river and listening to it roar at night helped to put us to sleep. I loved the location in the mountains as it is both close to trails and close to Gatlinburg! (I wish the national parks could have showers)
Elkmont is set in an absolutely stunning setting. The tent site were large and very clean with the sound of rapids coming from the nearby river. There were multiple bathrooms available which were clean and well maintained. It is centrally located for multiple stunning hikes i.e. Laurel Falls, Charlie’s Bunion and Clingmans Dome. It is also a short drive from Gatlinburg.
Even with out loops bathroom under renovation it was a great experience. You are in the middle of everything.
My old college roommate and I took a camping trip here and brought his golden retriever. It was a great little campground. All of the staff were very helpful and friendly.
The only bad part was the non quiet hours- so It was loud at night. But the campsites are far apart, easy walking distance to bathrooms. It was a nice spot we had, we just walked in and grabbed an open spot. Walking distance to easy hiking spots.