Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Balsam Mountain Campground is located in a relatively remote part of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The secluded setting offers visitors the ability to enjoy a multitude of recreational activities without the crowds which are sometimes common in other parts of the park.
Balsam Mountain Campground offers 42 campsites for a traditional outdoor camping experience with the added convenience of flush toilets and drinking water. There are no hookups or showers at the campground. No lights are available in the restrooms at this campground. For campers' safety use of a flashlight, lantern or headlamp is recommended when accessing these facilities after day light hours.
Park it Forward:
Beginning March 1, 2023, valid parking tags will be required on any vehicles parking for longer than 15 minutes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Visitors with campground reservations that only plan to park at their designated campsite do not need a parking tag. If during your stay, you plan to park your vehicle outside of your designated campsite parking for longer than 15 minutes, you will need a parking tag. Daily and weekly parking tags are available on Recreation.gov, or you may purchase them at the park. Visitors who simply drive through the park will not need a parking tag. Thank you for helping us protect our resources for future generations by, Parking it Forward!
Beginning March 1, valid parking tag is required for any vehicle parking for more than 15 minutes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Front country campers parked at their designated campsite will not be required to have a parking tag. If they park elsewhere in the park, a parking tag will be required. Please note that parking tags will be required for vehicles in excess of what is allowable for each campsite.
Stay Limits. A maximum of 6 people may occupy a campsite. The park stay limit is 14 consecutive days. Reservations which exceed the 14 consecutive day limit may be cancelled and refunded.
Caution: Bear Habitat! Bears and other wildlife frequent the area. All food and equipment used to prepare and store food (even when empty, and even if certified as bear resistant) must be kept in a sealed vehicle or camping unit of solid, non-pliable material AT ALL TIMES when not in use. All scented items, as well as all water containers MUST be stored. Dispose of garbage promptly in dumpsters provided. Unattended or improperly stored coolers, food and/or scented items may be impounded by campground staff. Violators are subject to fines.
Amenities. There are no showers, water or sewer hook-ups in the park.
Garbage Disposal. Dispose of garbage promptly in bear-proof dumpsters. This rule is strictly enforced!
Fires. Fires are allowed in fire rings only!
Firewood Restriction: Only heat-treated firewood bundled in its original packing and bearing a certification seal from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) or a state department of agriculture may be brought into the park. This rule is strictly enforced. Campers may also collect dead and down wood in the park for campfires. For additional information about these firewood regulations, please visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/frontcountry-camping.
Firewood Vendors. Heat-treated wood is available from a growing list of private businesses in communities around the park. Please visit firewoodscout.org for a list of available vendors near the park. Concessioners at Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont will provide heat-treated wood for sale during their operating season. Certified heat-treated firewood is packaged and clearly marked with a state or federal seal.
Quiet Hours. Quiet hours are in effect from 10 PM to 6 AM. Generator use is restricted to 8 AM to 8 PM. Some campgrounds have generator free sections.
Fishing in the Park. A Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license is required to fish in the park. Special regulations apply in the park.
Pets. Pets are permitted but cannot be left unattended. All pets must be kept on a leash at all times. Pets are not allowed on trails.
Additional Park Information. For additional park information call 865-436-1200 or visit www.nps.gov/grsm.
A reservation is required to stay at Balsam Mountain Campground. Please make your reservation before driving to the campground as cell phone coverage in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is very limited and there are no provisions to make a reservation once you are at the campground. Reservations are site specific therefore you are REQUIRED to occupy only the site(s) for which you have reserved. To make changes to your reservation you must contact Recreation.gov at 1-877-444-6777 or field staff where available.
Cancellation Policy for Individual Campsites: A customer who cancels a reservation the day before or on the day of arrival will pay a $10.00 service fee AND forfeit the first night's use fee (not to exceed the total paid for the original reservation). Cancellations for a one-night reservation will forfeit the entire amount paid and will not be subject to an additional service fee.
Balsam Mountain Campground is surrounded by picturesque mountain ranges and pristine mountain streams. Elk are common in this part of the park during the spring and fall. Located at 5,310 feet elevation, Balsam Mountain's daytime temperatures rarely exceed 70 degrees F and night time temperatures may dip into the low 50's.
Nearby attractions include: Maggie Valley, NC, Cherokee, NC, the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, the Mountain Farm Museum, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Nantahala Outdoor Center, the Bryson City Railway and Asheville, NC
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker's paradise, with over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short, leg-stretchers to strenuous treks. The Balsam Mountain area features several trails that are less heavily used compared to other areas of the park.
The campground offers a short nature trail located beside site 43. The hiker only Flat Creek Trail is a pleasant walk through a hardwood forest. For the adventurous hiker the Hemphill Bald and Rough Fork trails provide a 14-mile loop hike, with outstanding views and old growth trees.
Campers can enjoy high-quality backcountry fishing in the cool waters of the countless streams and rivers that snake through the mountains. Anglers will agree that some of the best trout fishing in the area can be found along the Balsam Mountain and Straight Fork Roads, some of the most remote sections of the park. Fly fishing is particularly good during spring months when aquatic insects hatch in large numbers.
Wildlife viewing is a popular pastime, and with around 1,500 bears living in the park, it is not uncommon for visitors to spot one. The park is a sanctuary for a magnificent array of animal and plant life, all of which is protected for future generations to enjoy.
The park also holds one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States. Over 90 historic structures have been preserved in the park.
For the auto touring enthusiast, the 14-mile Heintooga Round Bottom Road, a one-way unimproved gravel drive, offers spectacular scenery with mountain vistas and the occasional bear or elk sighting. Buses, motorhome, vans longer than 25' and any vehicle towing a trailer are prohibited on this road.
253 Smokemont Campground Road Cherokee NC 28719
For campground inquiries, please call: 828-497-9270
Learn more about gear rental options for your trip
From the North: From I-40 take Exit 20 Maggie Valley, NC and travel US-19 towards Cherokee, NC. Access the Blue Ridge Parkway at Soco Gap and continue South to mile 458.2, turning right onto Heintooga Ridge Road. Enter Great Smoky Mountains National Park at Black Camp Gap and continue 9 miles to Balsam Mountain Campground. From the South: Follow US-441/US-23 North. At Dillsboro merge onto US-74 West/US-441 North. At exit 74 merge onto US-441. Continue on US-441 through Cherokee, NC and into the park. Access the Blue Ridge Parkway traveling North to mile 458.2, turning left onto Heintooga Ridge Road. Enter Great Smoky Mountains National Park at Black Camp Gap and continue 9 miles to Balsam Mountain Campground.