Elkmont Campground (TN) Review
Environment & Nature: 5
Available Activities: 5
Staff & Park Officials: 4
This Campground is
one of the 3 most popular campgrounds in The Great Smoky Mountains. It contains 208 platformed sites that are positioned pretty close to each other. It’s great when a large group of friends camp out together and not so great when you are just their neighbor.. not a friend.
Platforms you say?
Yes-yes I say! The cool things about platforms: no worries about uneven, slope-like spots, tree roots, medium sized half submerged rocks, and other “awesome” nature things thrusting against your tent floor. The not-so cool things about platforms: can’t fit more than one tent on it. Let’s face it, very few of us travel with a 1 or 2-person tent to campgrounds. We tend to schlep our 6, 8, or even 10-person tent with us and unfortunately only one large tent can fit on the platform. The campground allows 2 tents per spot but because of the platforms, there is little room left for the second tent without being too close to the neighbor, eating area, your auto, or the fire.
You’ve set up your camp and
had the celebratory light beer (got to watch the weight and everything) with not so light burger… what’s next? Since it’s the Smoky’s, time to burn those calories with hiking. The park offers many awesome trails to choose from. Please keep in mind that even though pets are allowed on the campgrounds, they are NOT allowed on trails due to large population of bears and irresponsible dog owners. Got Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license? Go to the river and catch some dinner! The park also offers horse rental, horseback riding and trails, interpretive programs and trails, and many other things you can check out here.
So you’ve done all the activities
and it’s time to wash off all the sweat, dirt, and deer ticks. Sorry friend, you are out of luck. Although this is a pretty large and very popular campground, it still pretends to be hidden somewhere on the path of back country trails. There are absolutely no showers in the campground! I was told there are some paid* showers at Lazy Dayz… where ever that is.
Camp by the river…
… if you can get a spot. There a few spots available by the rive for tent and RV camping which has it’s ups and downs. The ups are that you have quick access to wash bacon grease off of your frying pan after which take a dip in to cool off and go Rambo on the fish…. or just dip your feet in and spend some quality time with the kids catching diner. The downs are that the river noise tends to mute the sound of your neighbors generator and who wants that? Oh ye, also mosquitoes. They like shade and water, so keep that in mind!
There is no camp store at this particular campground. There is however a camp booth with a few vending machines.
Although alcohol is allowed at this campground, driving while drinking isn’t (just like everywhere!), so don’t do it. The park officials are very keen on taking your license away and throwing your belly full of bud light in jail!