Thursday, March 08, 2007

Campgrounds opening in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

After hiking, camping in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the second most popular pastime for the outdoorsmen who flock to this most popular national park and now that the worst of winter is now over, the campgrounds in the park will start opening as of tomorrow March 9th.

From May 15 until October 31 the Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont campgrounds can be reserved online at www.Recreation.Gov or you can call (877) 444-6777 toll free. The fee schedule varies by site as the more primitive campgrounds which are smaller are $14 per night and the more developed campgrounds are $17 per night. In the same period reservation campgrounds are $20 per night. If you are looking to take advantage of the riverside camping in Elkmont Tennessee the fee is $23 per night.

The chart below show opening dates for the campgrounds in the national park as well as the fee structure.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Campground opening dates and fee schedule
CampgroundsNightly FeeOpening DateGroup Sites
Abrams Creek TN$14March 9 
Balsam Mountain NC$14May 11 
Big Creek NC$14March 9March 9
Cades Cove TN *$17, $20Year-roundMarch 9
Cataloochee NC$17March 9March 9
Cosby TN$14March 9March 9
Deep Creek NC$17April 1April 1
Elkmont TN *$17, $20March 9March 9
Look Rock TN$14May 11 
Smokemont NC *$17, $20Year-roundMarch 9
*during the reservation period May 15-October 31 fee is $20 per site.
Riverside sites at Elkmont are $23 during reservation period only.

For those who don't want to camp in the backcountry but want to experience peace and quiet while camping, 3 campgrounds in the national park: Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont have "generator free" campsites.

To go generator-free in the Cades Cove TN campground there is are generator-free loop sections. In the Elkmont campgrounds there are generator free sites but there is no generator free loop. Over in Smokemont on the North Carolina side of the park loops A, B, and C are "tent only" so there are no generators. If you have an RV but wish to go generator free you may reserve in the tent only area.

If group camping is more your style then you can choose from Big Creek, Cataloochee, Cosby, Deep Creek, Elkmont, Cades Cove, or Smokemont. The cost ranges from $26 to $65 per site per night and reservations must be made online at www.Recreation.Gov.

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