Name: Cades Cove Campground
Nearest Gateway City: Townsend, TN
Individual Camp Sites: 159
Fee: $25 per night, per site during reservation season May 15 – October 31, 2022 (and up to 6 months in advance)
Dates Open: March 11 – October 30, 2022
Group Campsites: 4 (20-30 persons)
Fee: $40 to $75
Dates Open: March 11 – October 30, 2022
Directions to Cades Cove Campground
From Townsend: Take Lamar Alexander Parkway to the “Y” intersection. Turn right and drive 7.4 miles toward Cades Cove on Laurel Creek Road. A large brown sign indicates where to turn into the Cades Cove Campground.
Cades Cove Campground Description
Cades Cove Campground is the second to largest campground with 159 beautiful campsites. Only Elkmont Campground has more campsites at 220.
This campground is also one of the busiest. More than 2 million people visit Cades Cove every year, and a large number of them stay at the campground.
Located just a few minutes from Cades Cove, the setting for this campground is primitive, but you are never far from the necessities.
Large beautiful trees surround the campground while Abrams Creek flows alongside. Anthony Creek Trail is a good place for a day hike and the trailhead is at the far end of the picnic area.
The Cades Cove Picnic Area is located right at the entrance to the campground. If you decide not to use the campground, you may still use the picnic area on a first-come-first-served basis, without a fee.
RELATED: Campground Regulations
Abrams Creek flows on both sides of the picnic area and then merges before crossing under the bridge leading to the campground. Anglers may try their hand at catching a few trout if they have a fishing license.
RELATED: Fishing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Cades Cove Horse Stable is located just off the campground entrance road. Before crossing the bridge into the campground, the stable is on the right. Horses are available for rent and several nearby trails are open for equestrians.
The stables also offer hayrides and carriage rides from March to October.
RELATED: Horseback Riding in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Of course, the main reason people come to Cades Cove Campground is to camp. The 159 individual campsites accommodate tent camping and/or recreational vehicles.
Twenty-nine of the campsites are “tent only” and provide a tent pad, a table, and a fire ring with a cooking grate.
One hundred twenty-nine sites are perfect for recreational vehicles. Some of the sites have “pull-through” driveways and others are “back-in”.
If you stay in Section B of the campground, you will be close to the creek. It is the largest section with 85 campsites. You may also use a generator in B Section.
Section C has 73 campsites, but does not allow generator use from mid-May thru October.
To get to the four Group Campgrounds you must drive through Section C. Group site “G-3” is the only group campsite with a covered pavilion.
NOTE: You must reserve Cades Cove Group Campground sites. You can reserve a site up to 6 months in advance.
The fantastic location is a major factor for the number of guests each year, but the facilities themselves provide ample reason to camp here.
DOWNLOAD: Cades Cove Campground Site Map
Cades Cove Campground Store
The Cades Cove Campground Store is a great resource. You can purchase select groceries, ice, camping supplies, park approved firewood, and some convenience items.
The snack bar sells breakfast items, hot and cold sandwiches, wraps, soup and chili, pizza, and ice cream. They also have vending machines serving snack and beverages.
The campground store also rents bicycles. Cades Cove access will be motor vehicle-free all day Wednesdays from May 4 – September 28, 2022 for cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the loop exhaust free and noise free!
Of course, you may ride a bicycle on Cades Cove Loop Road any time the road is open.
Cades Cove Campground Amenities
As you enter the campground, a small amphitheater is on the left. After that, you will see the camp store and restrooms.
Cades Cove Campground has seven restrooms with flushing toilets scattered throughout the camp. You are never more than a couple of minutes from relief.
A Trailer/Sanitary station is available for campers on the backside of Section C.
Park personnel man a Ranger Station, positioned near the entrance at the parking area. The rangers are very helpful and friendly people. Feel free to approach them with questions about the park.
IMPORTANT: Only two campsites have electrical outlets. They are reserved for people with medical needs, such as a CPAP machine. When you make your reservation, please be sure to tell the customer service representative you have a medical need for electricity.
Reservations and Registration
While reservations are not required, we do highly recommend them during the peak season. Make the call and be guaranteed a spot. Who wants to show up and not have a place to camp because someone else beat you to it?
You can make reservations up to six months in advance for individual campsites.
During non-peak seasons, you cannot make a reservation; campsite assignments are on a first-come-first-served basis.
Group camps are open from March to November and closed for the winter. All group camps require a reservation. The good news is that you can make the reservation up to 6 months in advance.
The season dates for 2022: March 11 – October 30
For all individual or group reservations go to Recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777.
IMPORTANT: Prices are subject to change. Additional fees, taxes, or discounts may be applied.
Nearby Points of Interest
If you are into hiking, head over to Cades Cove and check out the following trails: Abrams Falls Trail, Elijah Oliver Trail, Rich Mountain Trail, or Gregory Ridge Trail. Townsend is just down the road with a nice drive in burger joint, grocery stores, and tubing centers.