Can You Camp Anywhere in Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular outdoor adventure destinations in the United States. The park spans over 500,000 acres of mountain terrain and boasts some of the most stunning views in the country. With its diverse wildlife, diverse plant life, and incredible views, it’s no wonder that so many people flock to the park each year.

When it comes to camping in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are a few options available. Campers can choose from developed campgrounds with amenities like picnic tables, grills, and running water; backcountry sites with primitive facilities; and dispersed camping on national forest land adjacent to the park.

Developed campgrounds are the most popular choice for visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These campgrounds offer a variety of amenities such as picnic tables, grills, running water, flush toilets, and showers.

They also provide convenient access to trails and other attractions within the park. Developed campgrounds are usually open from mid-March through mid-November; however, some remain open year-round.

Backcountry camping is an option for more experienced outdoorsmen who want to explore more remote areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Backcountry sites are accessed by hiking or horseback riding along various trails throughout the park.

These sites offer basic amenities such as tent pads, fire rings or grates, and bear-proof food storage lockers. It’s important to note that camping is only allowed at designated backcountry sites; no dispersed camping is allowed anywhere in the park itself.

Dispersed camping is allowed on national forest land adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park but has certain rules that must be followed. Dispersed camping requires a free permit from either Cherokee or Nantahala National Forests which must be obtained before setting up camp in any location on public land outside of developed campgrounds in those forests. It’s important to keep in mind that dispersed camping does not come with access to modern amenities like flush toilets or running water so plan accordingly if you choose this option for your trip.


Camping in Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be an amazing experience no matter what type of camper you are! Whether you choose a developed campground with all kinds of amenities or you opt for a more primitive backcountry site or dispersed camping on nearby national forest lands, there’s something for everyone when it comes to experiencing this beautiful area. While there may be restrictions when it comes to where you can pitch your tent or set up your RV within Great Smoky Mountain National Park itself , there are plenty of options available for those looking for an unforgettable outdoor getaway.

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Jennifer Watson