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Old 11-18-2016, 08:10 PM   #1
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Reservations In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

I am new to rv camping...actually picking up my first travel trailer on Monday. I love The National Parks and we would love to camp inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But the website for reservations, www.reservations.gov is killing me. I just don't understand it at all. I put the campground we want, choose the dates we would like and search. All tye sites that come back have a W next to them, for Walk In....I have no idea what that means. There seem to be spots available, I just can't reserve them. The reservations only go out 6 months. I'm sure there is some rhyme or reason to hw the National Parks handle rv reservations. Can someone explain what I'm seeing and how I can reserve a few weeks and weekends over the next 6 months?
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Old 11-18-2016, 08:30 PM   #2
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The 'W' means that the site is available but it's first come, first serve. Some campgrounds have all walk-in sites, some have a mix of walk-in and reservable and some have just reservable sites. Also, you'll find that some campgrounds stop taking reservations after say, Labor Day or Oct 1 or whenever because that's not their busy season. That doesn't mean no sites are available it just means you can't reserve a site. You drive there and pick your own site. Also, some campgrounds close completely in the Fall. You'll have to find the opening/closing dates to be sure.

We like walk-in sites because we don't like to make reservations. We've never gotten to a campground and been turned away.... lucky, I guess.

For instance, in Grand Teton Nat'l Park there are 600 walk-in sites. In Yellowstone there are some campgrounds that don't accept reservations.

Good luck and enjoy that new RV!
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:32 PM   #3
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That helps...thank you. I've been told by numerous people that, while the campgrounds may have for example, a 30' limit, I can still get my 31' travel trailer in there to camp. I was told that they never measure, and if the model is a 27 or 28bhs, they count it as a 27 or 28 ft trailer and let you in with no questions. Is that true?
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Old 11-19-2016, 01:26 AM   #4
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They don't seem to question the size you give them, if you can fit it into the site they are fine with it. But if the site is 25' and you tell them you are 25' and you show up and can't fit because you are actually 30' and there is a tree at the back of the site they won't help you, so keep that in mind.
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Old 11-19-2016, 11:55 AM   #5
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Yes, if you fit the site is yours but if you don't fit when you arrive you may be out of luck. For most places your RV and your tow vehicle will have to fit on the parking site - not off in the grass area. If both don't fit then sometimes they'll have a place for you to park your vehicle but it will not be near your campsite.

Here's a good site that shows the individual campsites of many parks - not all. If you don't find it here then just do a simple Google of something like "campsite photos in Great Smokey Mtn. Nat'l Park" and by chance, someone might have taken photos. Who said camping is easy? Sometimes it takes some investigation.

We've returned many times to favorite campgrounds. In that case, since we had a 40' motorhome, we'd walk the campground and make note of the sites we'd definitely fit and even put them in order by preference. Then when we return we know which ones to head for. We've gotten our first choice many times.

Campsite Photos, Camping Pictures, and Campground Reviews - campsitephotos.com
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Old 11-19-2016, 12:08 PM   #6
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Hi,

I smoky Mtn National Park you don't need reservations. I recommend Smokemont which is on the Tn side. They have nice big sites. You do realize that there is no hookups there.

Enjoy all the National Parks and if you have a Senior pass they are half price and admission to the park is free. You have to be over62 I think, not sure.

Have fun!
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Old 11-20-2016, 02:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom-NC View Post
Hi,

I smoky Mtn National Park you don't need reservations. I recommend Smokemont which is on the Tn side. They have nice big sites. You do realize that there is no hookups there...
Smokemont is over the mountain on the NC side.

I have been to Elkmont and Cades Cove, but not Smokemont. I think my new 40' FW is too long for Elkmont and Cades Cove. I will look at the size of the Smokemont camp sites.
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:22 PM   #8
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Thanks. Yes, I'm aware there are no hookups. I plan to make some practice runs with full hookups first and then hit the Smokies in the spring. Picking up our first travel trailer in the morning and hauling her home. Visiting the camgrounds in GSM National Park and a few in the Georgia state parks is what led us to want a travel trailer. Elkmont is an awesome campground and location. Beautiful place with hiking and a lot of trout fishing close by. Cades Cove may be one of the most beautiful places on earth. I also want to check out Cataloochee on the NC side.
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