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
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.
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 campground reservations can be made at
The Elkmont campground phone number for information is (865)436-1271.
Elkmont campground reviews are generally very positive.
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
- 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
Little River Road.
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.
Forcast for Townsend, near Elkmont
General weather information in the Smokies