Name: Balsam Mountain Campground
Nearest Gateway City: Maggie Valley, NC
Camp Sites: 46
Group Campsites: None
Fee: $17.50 per night
Dates Open: Late May – Early October, 2022
Directions to Balsam Mountain Campground
Balsam Mountain Campground is located off Heintooga Ridge Road on Balsam Mountain. Just south of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, get on the Blue Ridge Parkway and drive 10.9 miles to Heintooga Ridge Road. Follow Heintooga Road 8.4 miles to the campground entrance road on the left.
If you are beginning in Maggie Valley, NC, take Soco Road to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Drive 2.4 miles to Heintooga Ridge Road. The park entrance road is 8.4 miles on the left.
Description of Balsam Mountain Campground
At 5,310 feet, Balsam Mountain Campground is the highest elevation campground in the park. Nights are cool even in the summer.
The views are fantastic too. Mile High Overlook is a short distance away with spectacular views of the mountains. Incredible sunsets are the norm.
Majestic hardwood trees, mountain laurel, and a spruce and fir forest surround the campground. Beautiful wildflowers and feral rabbits welcome you to the area.
Balsam Mountain Campground is quiet and secluded. We recommend it for anyone who wants to get away and spend some time away from civilization. Keep in mind that the closest grocery store is in Maggie Valley, about 30-40 minutes away.
Balsam Mountain Nature Trail is great for anyone wanting to go for a short hike. The trailhead is off the campground entrance road.
The 46 campsites are best suited for tent camping, although RVs are welcome. Most of the small sites have a wood-framed, gravel pad for pitching tents, picnic tables, and fire rings with attached cooking grates. However, a few of the sites do not have a tent pad.
IMPORTANT: Only approved firewood is allowed in the park. Read the Campground Regulations for details.
Recreational vehicles up to 30’ in length can use the facility, although there are no pull-offs. You must park RV’s, campers, or pop-ups on the road. The road narrows near the top, so look for spaces closer to the entrance for RV parking.
DOWNLOAD: Balsam Mountain Campground Site Map
Amenities at Balsam Creek Campground
Balsam Mountain Campground has cold running water and restrooms with flushing toilets. However, the restrooms do not have a light. You will need to take a flashlight when visiting the restroom at night.
One amenity this campground provides (that others do not) is a dish washing station. This is quite handy especially for tent campers.
Some of the sites have bear-proof storage bins allowing for easy access food storage. The food storage bins are handy since this is a black bear habitat. Keep food inside these bins or inside the trunk of your car.
RELATED: Black Bears
There are no showers. We found a website that said this campground has hot showers. This is not the case. None of the campgrounds inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park have a shower.
NOTE: This campground does not have electricity, water hookups, or a dump station.
Reservations and Registration
Balsam Mountain Campground sites require no reservation and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You may visit Recreation.gov to make a reservation or call 877-444-6777.
Mobile service is extremely limited here, so cell phone use at the campground is unlikely.
Reservations are for specific camping areas, so make sure you are using the assigned pad, or you will be asked to move.
The campground does have a ranger’s office, but it is not occupied most of the time.
The fee for using this campground is $17.50 per night.
Check-in is 12:00 noon or later. Checkout must be completed by noon, meaning you must vacate the campsite with all your belongings. If you decide to stay an additional day, you must re-register and pay the fee by noon.
IMPORTANT: Prices are subject to change. Additional fees, taxes, or discounts may be applied.
Nearby Points of Interest
Heintooga Picnic Area is within walking distance. I can’t imagine why you would use it for a picnic since the campsite has tables and grills. However, the trailhead for Flat Creek Trail is there, and it is a wonderful hiking trail.