Skip to main content

If you’re itching to get out and do some RV camping at a scenic site with chances to see some wildlife, the Smoky Mountains is a place that won’t disappoint. It offers tent-only camping and RV campground experiences as well. According to the National Park Service website for the Smoky Mountain area, there are several campgrounds to take advantage of if you want to camp out in nature. Which ones should you check out, and how much will they cost?

A beautiful scene of the rolling hills of the Smoky Mountains in the fall on a cloudy day.
Great Smoky Mountains | Getty Images

Are there RV hookups in the Smoky Mountain National Park?

While we hear that the Smoky Mountain region is a great place to plan a motorcycle ride or take hikes on nature trails, you might be surprised to hear that it’s also an excellent place for camping. The park was formed, what experts believe to be, a few million years ago. Over time, it’s become plant-covered and attracts many different species of animals.  

Within the National Park are several campgrounds that take RVs, camper trailers, and even tents. You won’t find water or electrical hookups at any of them, but you will have access to restrooms nearby, along with a shower facility. Each camping plot comes with a fire grate and a picnic table. 

It allows for a maximum of six people and two vehicles per site, or one vehicle and one trailer. Any other cars in your camping party can use the overflow parking area close by. Pets are welcome, but they must be on a leash that’s no longer than six feet. They’re also only allowed on the Oconaluftee River Trail, Gatlinburg trail, and any roads. Which campgrounds should you check out?

Abrams Creek Campground in the Smoky Moutains

Abrams Creek offers some privacy away from other visitors to the park as it’s located in a somewhat remote part of the region. Recreational activities here include hiking and fishing, which are pretty close to the campground. To add to the park’s nature experience, it offers tent-only camping. 

The sites are close by the water, so you can fall asleep at night listening to the rippling sounds of the creeks nearby. Sites at this campground run you approximately $17.50 a night. Those with a Senior Access or pass will receive about 50 percent off the price. 

Balsam Mountain in the Smoky Moutains

This campground is another secluded spot to camp out away from day visitors to the park. Here you can enjoy not only the mountain streams that are close by but fantastic mountain views as the sun rises and sets in the distance. The remote mountain region does have some wildlife roaming nearby. Elk are the most common animal visitors that you’ll likely see at some point during your trip. 

It also offers traditional tent-only camping, but you will have nearby restrooms to use. However, there are no lights available in them, so you need to be sure to have a lantern or flashlight along for your safety at night. Like the Abrams Creek site, the cost is $17.50 a night with a discount for senior passes. 

Cades Cove Campground in the Smoky Moutains

If you’re interested in scenic campgrounds, Cades Cove is the one to check out. This region is surrounded by beautiful scenery throughout spring and fall. Local wildlife roams in this area as well. As far as recreational activities, there’s plenty to keep you busy. They offer hiking and biking and touring the area for turkeys, deer, groundhogs, and raccoons. The peak camping season is during May through October, but it’s open all year round. While they encourage tent camping, you can still use an RV. 

The park allows for only 14 days (in a row) of camping, which is only $25 a night. You can stay longer, but you will need to move to another camp spot after the two weeks are up. You can reserve a spot six months before your estimated arrival date. Generators can be used, but the park asks that you not use them past 8 pm or before 8 am the following day. 

RV camping in the Smoky Mountains or other National Parks brings a whole new level to vacationing in nature. If hiking, fishing, and viewing wildlife are something you’re into, Abrams Creek, Balsam Mountains, and Cades Cove are the perfect spots to camp out in nature. 


Finding RV Parks and Campgrounds Just Got Easier With These Apps