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
Awesome spot. Sites our spread out, awesome nearby hiking and a short drive to town. If you camp here, take advantage of the hiking. Tons of cool things to see!
This place is awesome!!! We stayed 3 nights so we could hike the surrounding trails! Loved learning about the history of the area while checking out the old cabins. The park ranger were helpful and even told me about the Avent cabin that is a little off trail. Hiked around 30 miles and got to see my first bear in the wild!
Camping at Elkmont was amazing! Our site was perfect! Spacing from other campsites was good. Due to last minute booking we were not able to grab a river spot but we were happy with our spot anyways. Trees are great for hammocking as well!
I LOVE everything about Elkmont. We stayed at campsite A16 it was perfect with a wee little stream behind our site. When we arrive I noticed a Owl chillin in the trees, I watched a while hin for a while, while I un packed our things. Then later that evening our camp neighbors came over and said there were a family of owls who flew around and watched over ever one. From our site we walked to the main part of the river, but preferred our site to the main river. I definatly cant wait to go back. Oh and the dish washing area is super cute & very clean too!
We wanted to see the Elkmont Historic Cabins and were not disappointed! Most the the cabins are open so you an walk through them!
However, the campground left lots to be desired! We were in the 'G' area and the facilities were disgusting, there was no privacy between sites and there was a dog being allowed to bark nonstop. No wifi at all. Gatlinburg was a nightmare of tourista crap and crowds of people without masks. Few places to eat outside of that downtown area where we did not want to venture. Wanted to go see Pigeon Forge, but were put off by what was happening in Gatlinburg.
This was my first National Park campground experience - it was packed but I still felt like we had privacy and space from other campers. Firewood and other basics were available at the camp store at the entrance. Every bathroom has a dish washing sink- no showers, no electric. A majestic owl landed above our site- great experience!
We camped overnight here in order to visit the Elkmont Historic area. Very interesting story of cabins that were bought out in order to create Great Smokey Mountains National Park. We were in a campervan and were in section G - heavily wooded but pretty quiet. Restrooms were absolutely gross - and I checked 3 of them. Flush toilets, no showers, no way to dry hands. Yuck. Most people brought their own facilities….. Gatlenberg is nearby but is a super-crowded, over-the-top tourist area with tons of souvenir stores, ziplines, etc. - not our thing at all (and no one wearing masks)
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.