tent on campsite
July 24, 2023

If you’re looking to enjoy a fantastic outdoor adventure, you’ll love camping at Great Smoky Mountains National Park! With a variety of amazing campsite options and lots of great activities to do while you’re here, there are lots of reasons to take a camping trip here in the Smokies. And if you have questions about camping at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, read on and find out the answers to some frequently asked questions!

What types of campsites are available?


The park offers several styles of campsites to meet all sorts of different needs! Families tend to love the frontcountry campsites, which offer easy access to your car as well as restrooms with running water. For a more rugged experience, you can check out the backcountry campgrounds, which are accessible only by hiking and are great for backpackers. There are also horse camps available for those exploring the mountains by horseback, complete with an area to tie up your horses. No matter what type of camping experience you’re looking for, you can find it here!

What times of year are the campgrounds open?

While many campgrounds are open on a seasonal basis, there are options for enjoying camping at Great Smoky Mountains National Park any time of the year! Cades Cove and Smokemont Campgrounds are both open year-round, so if you want to plan a winter camping trip, you’re in luck! Just make sure to pack smart and bring plenty of layers. And if you’re looking to enjoy camping in the summertime, you’ll be able to choose from the full selection of campsites available throughout the park!

What are the rules for camping in the park?

There are a number of rules that have been put in place by the National Park Service in order to ensure camping is done safely for both the people going camping and the wildlife in the park. Make sure to review all of the rules before going camping, and pay special attention to these important reminders:

Food Storage

Make sure to store all food and equipment used for food inside your vehicle or solid camping unit at all times while not in use. Some campgrounds also offer food storage lockers. Also ensure that all garbage is disposed of properly in the provided dumpsters.

Reservations & Length of Stay

Reservations are required at all campgrounds in the park. You can make a reservation with the National Park Service here or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Additionally, you are limited to 14 consecutive days at one campsite. After that amount of time, if you wish to continue camping, you are required to move to a new campground.


bonfire in the Smoky Mountains

You are only allowed to make a fire within the fire grates at the campsites. It is recommended that you bring heat-treated USDA firewood with you to the park, as you are only allowed to collect wood in the park if it is already on the ground and dead.

Make sure to pay attention to all of the rules for camping at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience!

What activities should I do while camping?

river and woods from a trail

There are lots of great activities you can enjoy while camping at Great Smoky Mountains National Park! One of the most popular activities for campers is to hike along the more than 850 miles of trails located throughout the park. Another fun activity to do during your camping trip is to enjoy fishing in the streams here at the park. Fishing is permitted in all streams park-wide from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Just remember you need a valid Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license and that you must follow daily catch limits!

Now you know everything you need to plan an amazing camping trip here in the Smoky Mountains! And if you’re looking for even more fun activities to do during your trip, check out some of these awesome things to do at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.