Ten Popular Picnic Areas in
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the best location in the southeastern United States for outdoor adventure.
Visitors to the park can choose from 150 trails to hike. You can drive several auto tours or bike through Cades Cove or on several trails. Guests may participate in scores of educational activities, fish in 800 miles of rivers, ride horses, and more.
What you cannot do inside the 817 square miles of the park is eat in a restaurant. There are no restaurants located inside the park.
Never fear! You don’t need to go hungry while in the park. A good old-fashioned picnic is the answer. Picnicking in the park is not only allowed, it is encouraged.
The National Park Service wants you to spend time in the park without running back and forth to the city for meals. To facilitate picnicking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, they built ten popular picnic areas.
Technically, you may picnic anywhere inside the park. However, you may cook ONLY in the designated picnic areas.
Picnic Areas Map | Copyright: My Smoky Mountain Guide
Picnic Areas Amenities
The ten popular picnic areas inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park provide parking, heavy-duty charcoal grills, picnic tables, trashcans, and most provide restrooms. Six of the picnic areas have large pavilions that are available by reservation.
Year Round Picnic Areas
These four picnic areas are open year round: Metcalf Bottoms, Cades Cove, Deep Creek, and Greenbrier.
Seasonal Picnic Areas
Six picnic areas are closed during the winter months: Big Creek, Chimneys, Collins Creek, Cosby, Heintooga, and Twin Creeks.
NOTE: Look Rock Picnic Area is closed until further notice so we did not included it on our list. As soon as we hear anything about it reopening we will post it here.
Picnic Area Rules
- You may build fires ONLY in grills provided at the picnic area. No ground fires.
- You must use charcoal for grill fires, no wood.
- If a fire ring is provided, you may build a fire using approved wood only.
- Picnic tables and grills are free to use at picnic sites.
- There is a fee for using pavilions in the picnic areas (see each picnic area for details).
- Pavilions require a reservation and may be reserved up to one year in advance at Recreation.gov or by calling 800-365-2267.
- Dogs are welcome at some of the picnic areas. They must be on a leash at all times and never left alone. Paws in the Park Pet Policy
- Leave No Trace – be sure to clean your picnic area well when you are finished eating. Clean the grill, the picnic table, and the ground in your immediate area.
- Pack and take uneaten food with you or place it in the bear-proof trash containers provided. Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear!
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