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Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Looking for the best camping in Great Smoky Mountains National Park? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top Camping Spots in and near Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  • Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, North Carolina

    Backpack Slickrock Creek Trail #42

    30 mi / 3700 ft gain
    8:30 a.m. and we’re winding our way down Highway 129 near Robbinsville, NC. The fog is still thick over the Little Tennessee River as we slow down crossing the bridge into Graham County. “I think we missed it,” I say as we continue onward. Within minutes the Tapoco Lodge comes into view. My pre-h...
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  • Franklin, North Carolina

    Siler Bald from Wayah Gap

    5.0
    3.66 mi / 1060 ft gain
    The Appalachian Trail does not need a lot of hype beyond its existing legendary status.  However, there are certain parts of it that do stand out as being a little extra special.  Siler Bald is one of those spots.  A large clearing starting from Snowbird Gap and going all the way up to Siler Bald...
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  • Del Rio, Tennessee

    Max Patch Mountain

    5.0
    1.51 mi / 315 ft gain
    Max Patch Mountain was once cleared for pasture land, leaving an expansive flat summit that now serves as the ideal location for a picnic hike, flying a kite, or laying in the sun surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains. With little elevation gain and a short distance it is also very family (and ...
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  • Franklin, North Carolina

    Nantahala National Forest via the Appalachian Trail

    4.0
    27.11 mi / 5420 ft gain
    Winding Stair Gap on Highway 64 is the starting point for this spectacular backpacking trip through the Nantahala National Forest. It's right outside the hiker friendly town of Franklin, NC, so the town is your last chance for a hot meal and any last minute supplies. There is a parking lot at the...
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  • Vonore, Tennessee

    Camp at Citico Creek

    5.0
    There are a few options for getting to Citico Creek, you can either go up the windy gravel road from US 411 or get off of the Cherohala Skyway and go down the mountain past the Indian Boundary campground. The Citico Creek campground has about 5 or 6 spots but is rarely full because it is very sec...
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  • Franklin, North Carolina

    Backpack the Standing Indian Loop on the Appalachian Trail

    24 mi
    Begins at the parking lot for the Standing Indian Campground. (No permits are needed to park here) For the first 3.7 miles, take Kimsey Creek Trail, which runs along the water, until you meet up with the AT at Deep Gap. Rolling hills and lots of foliage throughout, leading up to Standing Indian M...
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  • Del Rio, Tennessee

    Meadow Creek Fire Tower

    5.0
    Meadow Creek Fire Tower is a great place to spend an afternoon watching the sunset or spend the night gazing at the stars. You can bring a blanket then lay out on the top of the tower and view the entire sky. The tower itself was made back in the early 1920's. Over the years it changed appearance...
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  • Canton, North Carolina

    Sam Knob and Flat Laurel Creek Loop

    4.9
    3.84 mi / 807 ft gain
    This is one of my favorite quick "getaway" loops in the Pisgah Ranger District. Turn onto Black Balsam Knob Road (Mile Marker 420 on the Blue Ridge Parkway) go until you reach a dead end and park at the parking lot. You'll see the Sam Knob trail to the right of the public bathrooms. From there, i...
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  • Tellico Plains, Tennessee

    Explore North River Road

    4.7
    If you're looking to get off the beaten path and take the road less traveled, North River Road is your ticket to solitude.A popular loop for the locals is starting on Tellico River Road, then getting on North River Road to make your way up the mountain all the way to the Cherohala Skyway. Take th...
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  • Tellico Plains, Tennessee

    Camp at North River Campground and Dispersed Campsites

    North River Road is located in the Nantahala National Forest near Tellico Plains. To get to North River Campground you can either drive up the Cherohala Skyway about 6 miles then turn when you see the sign for the campground and bald river falls. Another way to get to the campsites along North Ri...
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  • Canton, North Carolina

    Graveyard Fields-Black Balsam Knob Circuit

    4.4
    9.83 mi / 1522 ft gain
    When the weather is in your favor, these treeless mountain tops will have your jaw on the floor with layers upon layers of Blue Ridge Mountains. This hike can be done in one day, but with panoramic views at multiple points, you'll want to take your time along this link of trails. This ~10-mile l...
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  • Canton, North Carolina

    Shining Rock via Shining Creek Trail

    4.3
    8.69 mi / 2569 ft gain
    There are several ways to access the Shining Rock Wilderness Area, but go for the main trail head off of Hwy 276. The trail is split by the Pigeon River, providing a seemingly infinite combinations of trails and routes, keeping in mind that this area intersects often with the well known Art Lobe ...
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  • Canton, North Carolina

    Hike Big East Fork Shining Rock Loop

    4.0
    14 mi
    We began this trip by camping overnight in Graveyard Fields. Those camp sites are .5 miles from the car, so we kept our food there over night. Bear activity has increased, so it's strongly advised to bring a bear canister and be wise about food storage. We woke up early the next morning made bre...
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  • Canton, North Carolina

    Skinny Dip Falls

    4.8
    1.03 mi / 148 ft gain
    Park at the Looking Glass Rock Overlook. After enjoying the view of Looking Glass Rock, gear up and head to the right side of the parking area (right side if your back is to the overlook). On the opposite side of the road you'll see a mile marker and a little trail to the left of the marker. Foll...
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  • Canton, North Carolina

    Camp at Mt. Pisgah

    5.0
    The Mt. Pisgah campground is nestled right off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Canton, NC.  Since it is at an elevation of 4,980 feet the campground is a perfect destination to beat the heat and humidity that the region can be known for in the summer months.  Reservations and information can be fo...
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  • Hot Springs, North Carolina

    Camp at Rich Mountain Fire Tower

    5.0
    Rich Mountain fire tower is located in the Cherokee National Forest just outside of Hot springs North Carolina. Getting there is pretty easy once you get off of US 25W you drive up a gravel road for about 5 miles until you get to the tower. Once you get to the top its about a 100 foot walk until ...
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