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Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park

06.14.18

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Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park

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  • Tent time in Cades Cove. - Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known as the salamander capital of the world, making the Smoky Mountain story, "Salamander Ball," a perfect campfire story! - Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Entrance to Cosby Campground. - Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Spring and summer are two of the most beautiful seasons to spend a weekend in the Smokies! - Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Hidden underneath a canopy of trees and tucked away in a quiet corner of the Smokies, Cosby is the perfect location for a family getaway. - Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • The Cosby Campground and picnic area offers plenty of restrooms and picnic spots. - Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Don't forget...you're in bear country. Store food properly. - Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • The Troll Bridge is located in Elkmont near the Element Campground and is a popular spot to explore with the locals. This spot is filled with fireflies in May and June. - Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Deep Creek Campground offers spots for RVs, tents and group camping.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Looking for a place to escape with a large group? Deep Creek has a fantastic group camping area!- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Smokemont Campground, located just inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the North Carolina side, is filled with peace and tranquility.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • The Smokemont Campground offers both tent and RV sites.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Smokemont Campground offers three spacious and open group campsites.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Stay cool in the shade of Smokemont or head over to nearby Bradley Fork River for a quick dip and wading in a Smoky Mountain stream.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • A spring in the middle of the trail between the Ice Water Springs Shelter is a treat on a hot summer day. The water does need to be treated before drinking.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • View from Charlie's Bunion.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • One of the many Appalachian Trail shelters in the Smokies, the Ice Water Spring Shelter is the perfect overnight spot for catching a sunset and sunrise at Charlie's Bunion. You will need a backcountry permit.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • The Ice Water Spring Shelter is perfect for minimalist backpacking. Keep in mind that during the spring months, thru-hikers keep the shelters busy.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Get lost in the Smokies; you might just find yourself.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Dawn from the Mount Sterling fire tower.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Morning light filling the valley on an overnight adventure to Mount Sterling. - Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Midnight Hole on the Big Creek Trail going to Mount Sterling and campsite #37.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • The trail to Mount Cammerer and campsite #35. - Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • The fire lookout atop Mount Cammerer.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • A sunset over the Smoky Mountains from the cliff tops on Mount LeConte.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • A portion of Alum Cave Trail just before the LeConte Lodge.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Breakfast and dinner are served in the LeConte Lodge Dining Hall. You also find coffee, lemonade, hot chocolate, and delicious no-bake cookies there as well. Day hikers are welcome to pick up a bagged lunch or to eat their packed lunch in the dining area.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Regardless of which trail you pick to access the LeConte Lodge or LeConte Shelter, the journey will be just as beautiful as the destination!- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • A journey to the LeConte Lodge is one that will never be forgotten, no matter how many times you make the trek.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Looking to hang out and sleep above the clouds? The LeConte Lodge is a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Rocky Top makes a great spot to have dinner.- Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Sun dipping lower over the ridge on an overnight adventure to Rocky Top. - Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Final sunset from Thunderhead Mountain on an overnight adventure to Rocky Top. - Guide To Camping In Great Smoky Mountain National Park
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Midnight under a star-filled Smoky Mountain sky, surrounded by darkness, the flickering of fireflies and the glow of a campfire. The mountain wind drifting gently through the trees. The laughter of family and friends filling in the silence. The peacefulness of dreaming the night away in a place where native Americans and pioneers once wandered. The tranquility of sleeping in the wild and waking only to the sun breaking through as the wild birds sing to celebrate the day. Those moments are the moments that we will remember forever, those moments when we return home. Home to the mountains, where we belong.

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you'll find multiple options for an overnight experience in the park. There's certainly an experience waiting for every unique individual. Below you'll find information and links to adventures. Find the perfect fit for you and spend a night or two at home this summer. 

Frontcountry Camping Adventures

Is this your first summer of exploring the idea of camping? Have a family and want to keep things simple? Looking for a laid-back weekend of camping with the convenience of having your vehicle nearby, flushing toilets and running water, the security of people and rangers, drinking water and more? Then check out the multiple developed and maintained campgrounds that are located inside of the GSMNP. Each campsite can accommodate a tent and/or RV and includes a picnic table and fire grate. You’ll also find group sites at some of the frontcountry campgrounds, such as Big Creek, Cosby, Elkmont and Cades Cove - among others. Group campsites may be used by groups with a minimum of seven people and only accommodate tents. All frontcountry campgrounds have restrooms and water. However, no campgrounds in the park provide shower houses. To reserve a campsite or locate the perfect campground for your adventure, be sure to check Recreation.gov.

Backcountry Camping Adventures

I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it. 

Cheryl Strayed

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 100 backcountry campsites and shelters for you to choose from. So if you’re looking for a camping experience filled with challenge and solitude, a backcountry campsite is the perfect option for you, and there are plenty of spots for you to choose from. Looking for a shelter experience that might allow you to connect with the hiking community? Check out the list of shelters. Remember that Great Smoky Mountains National Park does require a permit for the use of any backcountry campsite and/or shelter. To make a reservation, pay any fees needed, print your permit, or contact the Backcountry Office, check here.  

Spending a night in the backcountry is the best way to truly escape into the Smokies for a full experience of all that the park has to offer; however, it comes with its own risks. Know before you go and then soak up the moments that lie ahead of you at the end of the trail that you choose.

LeConte Lodge and LeConte Shelter

Located on the third highest mountain in the Smoky Mountains, the LeConte Lodge is the highest guest lodge in the eastern United States. The lodge is only accessible by hiking, and it is far from a five-star resort. The rustic cabins have propane heat, kerosene lanterns to light the night, wool blankets to keep you warm, and an overwhelming sense of what life was like in simpler times. When staying at the lodge, you’ll be fed a family style dinner in the dining hall with other guests and a hearty breakfast before hiking back down the mountain in the morning. You’ll have access to one of the most epic sunset spots in the Smokies, the Cliff Tops as well as Myrtle Point, the perfect spot to greet the day. The LeConte Lodge is known for booking up very quickly, and while snagging a spot is not impossible, it may require you to be flexible. You can call ahead and ask to be put on the waiting list, call and inquire about cancellations. The best way to score a night on the top of the world is by following the LeConte Lodge on their Twitter account. They’ll post cancellations as they come about, and if you can grab it before it’s gone, you too will be checking off a Smoky Mountain bucket list adventure. For a spectacular experience on Mount LeConte without all of the amenities offered at the LeConte Lodge, spend a night or two at the LeConte Shelter located nearby. 

Here are five ways to access an overnight adventure or day hike to the LeConte Lodge

 

Regardless of how or when…this year, this summer... make it a point to experience just one overnight adventure inside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Chances are good that it won’t be your last night under a starry Smokies sky. 

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