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Camping in the Smokies - Elkmont

Updated on March 1, 2013

Camping in the Smokies at Elkmont is a favorite with campers because of the numerous sites right on the Little River.  Elkmont is the largest of the ten developed campgrounds in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Reservations are accepted for the 220 sites at from May 1 through October 31. Sites are available from mid-March to April 30 and from November 1 - December 1 on a first come, first served basis. Located eight miles from Gatlinburg, Elkmont is on Little River Road in the Smokies. The campground is very popular from spring through fall and reservations fill quickly. It is an ideal place to stay if coming to the park in June to check out the synchronous fireflies. There are comfort stations with flush toilets and cold running water. No showers, water or electrical hookups are available. Sites range from $17 to $23 a night so it's a great bargain.

Elkmont campsite on Little River
Elkmont campsite on Little River
sunset at Elkmont
sunset at Elkmont

Located close by are old cemeteries, Jakes Creek and Little River trails and the Elkmont Nature Trail. With a Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license, trout fishing in the river is permitted.

There is a small convenience store near the ranger station stocked with some items you may have forgotten, including firewood. Be sure to check current regulations regarding firewood quarantines at

Ranger programs on a variety of topics are available in the summer months.

Elkmont was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and about 19 of the old buildings are in the process of being restored by the National Park Service. Travel on foot and by bicycle or vehicle are permitted in the area. 

In the early 1900s, Elkmont served as a logging community and a high-society resort. The Little River Railroad connected the area with nearby Maryville and Knoxville for easier travel of lumber and the wealthy patrons looking for a weekend getaway. More information is available at the Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum in Townsend, TN (

One of the cottages of the Elkmont logging community
One of the cottages of the Elkmont logging community

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