Big Creek

Campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The smallest of Great Smoky’s campgrounds is a tent-only, walk-in affair used mostly by hikers. Five of the 12 sites sit beside the cacophonous Big Creek (sites 10, 11 and 12 are the best). You must haul your gear around 100ft from the car. Advance reservations are essential: there's no self-pay option (and no mobile service) upon arrival.

To get here, take Tennessee exit 451 off I-40, then proceed upstream beside the Pigeon River to the ranger station.

As with all other campgrounds in the national park, you'll find flush toilets and drinking water, but no showers. Among the excellent trails that start from here is the 5.1-mile (one way) Big Creek Trail, which leads past swimming holes and waterfalls.