The National Park Service operates a number of campgrounds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These campground regulations come directly from their website.

If you would like to learn more about the campgrounds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including locations, opening and closing dates, amenities, etc, check out our campgrounds page.

Food Storage

All food and equipment used to prepare and store food (stoves, pots, coolers, etc.) must be kept sealed in a vehicle (preferably the trunk) or in a camping unit constructed of solid, non-pliable material or as otherwise directed at all times when not in use

If your vehicle does not have a trunk for storing food and equipment, the following campgrounds have food storage lockers: Balsam Mountain, Big Creek, Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Cosby, Deep Creek, Elkmont, and Smokemont.

Dispose of garbage promptly in dumpsters provided. Unattended or improperly stored coolers and food may be impounded by campground staff and stored at the campground office. This regulation will be strictly enforced and violators are subject to fines.

RELATED: Black Bears


You must register and pay a fee to use a campground. Check in at the campground office or follow instructions on the Pay Station sign. Checkout or re-register by noon.


Advance reservations are required at Cataloochee Campground for the entire camping season. Campsites at Cades Cove, Cosby, Elkmont and Smokemont can be reserved in advance for the period May 15 – October 31.

Remaining family campgrounds are operated on a first-come, first-served basis. Group sites require a reservation. Reservations can be made be calling 1-877-444-6777 or by visiting

Reserve individual campsites up to 6 months in advance and group campsites up to 12 months in advance.

Length of Stay

Your stay is limited to 14 consecutive days at a time. Longer stays require that you move to a different campground.


You may have up to six people per campsite. Group campsites accommodate from seven to thirty people, depending on the campground.


No more than two motor vehicles or one vehicle with trailer are allowed per campsite. Please keep wheels, including trailer wheels and guest cars, on the pavement. Park only in designated spaces.


All tents must be pitched on the pad, where provided.

Fires and Wood Gathering

Campfires are permitted only in fire grates. You may collect wood in the park only if it is on the ground and dead. Beginning March 1, 2015 only heat-treated firewood that is bundled and certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or a state agency may be brought into the park.

Certified heat-treated firewood is packaged and clearly marked with a state or federal seal. Heat-treated wood is available from a growing list of private businesses in communities around the park.

Concessionaires at Cades Cove, Smokemont, and Elkmont will provide heat-treated wood for sale during their operating season (typically March through October at Smokemont and Elkmont and through December at Cades Cove). Visit for a map of local stores and businesses that sell certified firewood.


Pets are allowed in the campground but must be confined or on a leash (6′ maximum). Pets are not allowed on trails and should not be left unattended in the campground or your car. Please prevent excessive barking and properly dispose of pet waste.

RELATED: Paws in the Park Pet Policy

Waste Water

Dish water and bath water must be drained at utility sinks or dump stations, not on the ground. Do not wash or bathe in streams or at water fountains. RV sewage should be drained only at a dump station. Showers and utility hookups are not available in the park. Showers may be available in nearby towns.

Quiet Hours and Generators

Quiet hours are in effect from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM. Generator use is prohibited from 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM. Generator use and battery charging by engine idling is prohibited in generator free areas.

During quiet hours, noise-producing equipment should be turned off and entry to the campground is limited to registered campers.


Alcohol is permitted in campgrounds and picnic areas, provided the person in possession is at least 21 years old.

Bicycles, Inline Skates and Skateboards

Bicycle riders must comply with all traffic regulations and are restricted to public roads, parking areas, and designated routes. The use of inline skates, skateboards or scooters is prohibited.

Prohibited Items

Fireworks, traps, and the use of chainsaws are prohibited.