A remote campground in the northeastern corner of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Big Creek Campground offers access to spectacular hiking, myriad wildlife watching opportunities, and pristine mountain streams -- making it the perfect place for a quiet and secluded getaway.
The forested campground features 12 tent-only campsites and is designed for travelers seeking an authentic traditional camping experience. Flush toilets and drinking water are provided to make your stay a little easier, but there are no hookup sites and no showers available. If you prefer to stay somewhere you can access Wi-Fi and cell phone coverage, this isn't the campground for you.
It's also worth noting that the nearest grocery store is a 30-minute drive away in Newport, Tennessee, so make sure you stock up on everything you need before heading to the campground. RVs and generators are also prohibited, which may be a frustration for some campers but helps maintain a peaceful atmosphere. With sites located beside the cool waters of Big Creek, you'll quickly come to love the peace and quiet.
Unfortunately, like in most other national parks, the areas which your pet can access in the Great Smoky Mountains are heavily restricted. Pets are welcome in the campground as well as in picnic areas and on roads, but they must be kept on a leash of six feet or shorter at all times. Leashed dogs are also welcome on two short walking trails -- the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail -- but neither of these are near Big Creek.
Despite these drawbacks, there's still plenty to like about Big Creek Campground. Some of the park's most challenging hikes can be found near the campground, so if someone can stay behind with your pet, you might like to tackle the strenuous Baxter Creek trail, which leads you to the summit of Mt. Sterling. If you're looking for something a little more leisurely, Big Creek Trail follows this scenic mountain stream and also takes in a pretty waterfall along the way.
Fly fishing is popular during spring, while wildlife lovers will be keen to catch a glimpse of one of the 1,500 black bears that call the park home. Swimming isn't recommended in Big Creek due to the fast-flowing waters, but you can hike upstream to Midnight Hole and some other calm pools if you need to get wet. A word of warning though: the water is very cold!
Big Creek Campground won't be the paw-fect destination for every dog lover, but it still has plenty to offer for anyone seeking a remote and secluded getaway. Sites are offered on a first-come-first-served basis, so stop in and check it out if you ever get the chance.