Great Smoky Mountains National Park announces spring opening schedule

GATLINBURG (WATE) – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has announced their 2017 spring opening schedule for park facilities.


Secondary Roads are scheduled to open as follows:

  • March 10 – Forge Creek Road
  • April 1 – Clingmans Dome Road
  • April 7 – Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and Round Bottom/Straight Fork Road
  • April 14 – Rich Mountain Road and Little Greenbrier Road
  • May 26 – Balsam Mountain Road and Heintooga Ridge Road

Due to road damage and hazard trees, Parson Branch Road will remain closed in 2017. Cades Cove Loop Road will be closed for bicycle use only on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00 a.m. from May 10 through September 27.


Campgrounds open on a staggered schedule that started on March 10. Camping fees range from $14 to $23 per site per night.

The park’s developed campgrounds of Cataloochee, Elkmont, Cades Cove, Smokemont, and some sites at Cosby are on the reservation system through for at least a portion of their seasons. The system allows campers to reserve specific campsites and to make reservations 6 months in advance.

Group campsites and picnic pavilions can be reserved up to 12 months in advance. Visitors can make reservations at the five campgrounds, all group campsites, horse camps, and picnic shelters by booking sites online or by calling 877-444-6777.

Advance reservations are required at Cataloochee Campground throughout the entire season. Reservations are recommended at Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont for the period from May 15 through October 31.

During the rest of the open season, these three campgrounds are first-come, first-serve. At these three campgrounds, campers also have an opportunity to reserve a generator-free campsite. Cosby Campground, which has mostly first-come, first-serve campsites, has a limited number of reservable sites.

Group camping

The cost for group camps ranges from $26 to $65 per site per night. The park says group camping is available at the following seven campgrounds by reservation only through

  • Big Creek
  • Cataloochee
  • Cosby
  • Deep Creek
  • Elkmont
  • Cades Cove
  • Smokemont

Horse Camps are available by reservation only through at Anthony Creek, Big Creek, Round Bottom, Tow String and Cataloochee. The horse campsite fees are $20 at all horse camps except for Big Creek where it is $25.

Campground schedule


Tennessee Campgrounds




Opening Date


Group Sites

Horse Camp ($20, $25)
Abrams Creek $14 May 26 N/A N/A
Anthony Creek $20 N/A N/A 1-Apr
*Cades Cove $17, $20, $23 Year-round Apr 1 N/A
Cosby $14 Apr 14 Apr 14 N/A
*Elkmont $17, $20, $23 Mar 10 Apr 28 N/A
Look Rock Closed

Campsites are $20 per site during the reservation period May 15-October 31.  At Elkmont, riverside campsites are $23 during the reservation period.

For more information on events visit the park’s website.

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