Located eight miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Elkmont Campground is the largest and busiest campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 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. RV campers are encouraged to use the dump station across from Sugarlands Visitor Center, as there is no dump station in the campground.
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
This was our first trip to the Smokey Mountains so decided on Elkmont as it was described as the most visited campgrounds of the Smokey's. It's popularity was a good sign we should try it out too.
As we neared the campgrounds at the base of the Smokey's we followed a small road right up along a stream all the way until we arrived at Elkmont Campgrounds. We knew we'd be near water so that excited us.
The campground had a large section of it closed off. I guess they will open those up a little later when camping season officially kicks off. We were happy with our site which was shared among tents and RV's.
They have a tent only section but that was part of the large closed off section of the campgrounds. You could still access these areas, you just couldn't camp there.
We didn't see any showers but the bathrooms were really clean and well kept. You can buy some basic stuff at the little vending station where a tiny little shop opens for 2 hours a day from 4-6pm. You can't even call it a shop. It's a storage shed with a guy standing in front of it. :P You can buy firewood and maybe couple dozen items ranging from mosquito repellent to tent spikes.
Elkmont seems to be centrally located since it's only a couple of miles from the main Smokey Mountains visitor center. From camp you have relatively easy access to the 3 main resort towns of the Smokey's. Gatlinsburg was the most charming of the 3 towns and also the closet to Elkmont.
This is a large well managed campground. I'd definitely recommend it if you plan to camp at the Smokey Mountains.