Elkmont Description

Located along the Little River in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Elkmont is one of the most popular camping areas in the Smokies. In addition to camping, Elkmont also offers several nice hiking trails, fishing, and a ranger station. Elkmont is located about 8 miles from Gatlinburg.

Elkmont was established by the Little River Logging Company as a logging town. A logging railroad was built in the area. Part of the old railroad bed is used for roads and hiking trails. Later, Elkmont grew into a resort community frequented by wealthy East Tennesseans and was popular for hunting and fishing. The Wonderland Hotel and many cottages were built for Elkmont vacationers. Some of the Elkmont cabins will be preserved for the elkmont historic district.

Elkmont Camping

As the largest campground inside the National Park, Elkmont has over 200 campsites. Most can accommodate tents or RVs up to 35 feet. The campground is quiet and peaceful and the campsites are spacious. The Little River runs through the campground. Some camp sites are on the water. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table. Elkmont is conviently located near many of the most popular sites within the Smokies.

The restrooms at Elkmont have flush toilets, cold running water, and utility sinks, but no showers. Potable water is available at spigots near each restroom. There are no water, sewer, or electric hookups. Elkmont does not have a dump station. However, there are several Dump Stations with potable water available in the park. The closest dump stations to Elkmont are at Cades Cove, Look Rock, and across the road from Sugarlands visitor center which is about 6 miles from Elkmont.

Elkmont campground reservations can be made at recreation.gov. The Elkmont campground phone number for information is (865)436-1271. Elkmont campground reviews are generally very positive.

Elkmont Hiking

There are 4 hiking trails at Elkmont and several more trails within short driving distance. The 4 trails at Elkmont are:
  • Elkmont Self Guiding Nature trail. A nice, easy, and usually not crowded 0.8 mile short loop hike. It is one of the best self-guiding nature trails in the park. An educational brochure with information about 13 unique places along the hike is available at the trailhead or in the visitor's centers. The trailhead is within easy walking distance from the campground. There is parking area at the trailhead, which is rarely full.
  • Little River Trail. A beautiful 4.9 mile round trip hike along the scenic Little River. If you want a shorter hike, you can hike part way and turn around at any point. This is a relatively wide and level path, which makes it great for families or groups. A small waterfall, Huskey Branch Falls, located about 2.2 miles down the trail, drops beside the trail and the water goes under a footbridge into the Little River. The trail ends after about 2.5 miles at Cucumber Gap trail, which is the turn-around point for the Little River Trail. This is a good trail for viewing spring wildflowers from mid-March through April.
  • Jakes Creek Trail.At the back of Elkmont, past some of the historic cottages, is the Jakes Creek trailhead. Jakes Creek trail is a moderate hike that is about 7 miles round trip. The trail follows Jakes Creek to Jakes Gap. It intersects several other trails including Cucumber Cap and Meigs Mountain Trail.
  • Cucumber Gap Loop. A great loop hike that combines the Little River and Jakes Creek trails listed above. This is the best hike in Elkmont! Start on the Little River Trail as described above. Hike to the end, which is at the Cumber Gap junction. Turn right onto the Cucumber Gap trail. Follow Cucumber Gap trail to Jakes Creek trail. Turn right onto Jakes Creek trail and go 0.4 miles to the trailhead. Then walk about a half mile down a paved road back to the Little River trailhead. The total length is about 5.6 miles.

There are additional hiking trails close by, such as the very popular Laurel Falls, along Little River Road.

Elkmont Picnicing

There is not a picnic area at Elkmont. The closest picnic area is Metcalf Bottoms on Little River Road. Of course, you can find plenty of places to spread out a blanket and have a picnic. The campsites each have a picnic table.

Synchronous Fireflies at Elkmont

The Elkmont fireflies have gained recent fame due to their synchronous flashing. During a 2 week period, ususally in early June, the male fireflies synchronize their flashing light patterns. More information is available at the National Park web page.

Elkmont Weather

Click for Townsend, Tennessee Forecast
Forcast for Townsend, near Elkmont
General weather information in the Smokies

Elkmont campground Directions

Follow US 441 to Sugarlands visitor center. Turn left at the Visitor Center. Follow Little River Road about 4.5 miles then turn left at the Elkmont Campground sign and go 1.5 miles to the campground office.

Recommended Reading

Trails Illustrated Topo Map is an excellent map of the Smokies, showing roads, hiking trails, camping areas, picnic areas, ranger stations, and more. It is waterproof and tearproof, so it is very durable to take with you camping or hiking, even if it rains.
100 Hikes in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most informative books available about hiking in the Smokies. It gives detailed information about many of the hiking trails in the park.
Great Smoky Mountains: A Vistor's Companion describes and illustrates in full color dozens of plant and animal species in the Smokies, including a wide variety of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, mammals, and plants. It also explores the park's geology, climate, and history.

For More Information

  • Smokies Bookstore
  • Synchronous Fireflies Page from the National Park Service

  • Back to www.smokies.ws