Want the Great Smoky Mountains without all the tourists? Townsend, Tennessee, just might be the place. It bills itself the "peaceful side of the Smokies," and the title is fitting. Townsend is 15 miles from Gatlinburg and on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The town itself is quaint and is a great jumping off point for many adventures. The Little River runs through town. There are many trails, rivers and mountains close enough to where you might not even leave the town.
At home at the Mountaineer Campground
The Mountaineer Campground is in the town of Townsend and takes advantage of that fact along with the beauty of the river and mountains. The town has many trails along the river, and there are many more trails in the area. The Little River offers boating and whitewater rafting. There are cabins, RV sites as well as pop-up sites and tent camping areas. Cabins and RV sights are on the river. They all have full hookups available, including cable-TV and Wi-Fi. Horseback riding and river rafting facilities are close by enough to walk from the campground. There are many scenic drives in the area, as well as great trails along the river heading out from the campground. The campground has a children's playground area, a pavilion, swimming pool and laundry facilities.
The Mountaineer Campground
8451 Scenic Hwy. 73
Townsend, TN 37882
Fax: (865) 448-2386
It's hard to imagine anything nicer than being in Townsend, but just up the road is the KOA that just might be more beautiful. Much of facilities were upgraded and were new as of 2008. The campground is on the Little River, at the end of the 5-mile long river trail that goes into Townsend. The river is stocked with fish throughout the summer, making fishing almost unfair. Tubing and whitewater rafting are nearby, as well as horseback riding and some of the prettiest trails you will see anywhere.
The campground has all the amenities you expect at a KOA. There are RV sites, pop-up spaces, cabins as well as tent camping. It has full hookups, including cable-TV and Wi-Fi. The campground is about 10 miles from Gatlinburg and about 5 miles to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Townsend / Great Smokies KOA
8533 State Hwy. 73
Townsend, TN 37882
Misty River Cabins and RV Resort.
A little further back from the Smokies, the Misty River campground is still a great place to camp and plan your adventure into the mountain. The Appalachian Trail is nearby. Here you might also explore the Tuckaleechee Caverns. There are cabins and RV spaces along the Little River. Some of the cabins are on stilts over the water. It has all the normal amenities such as full hookups, cable-TV and Wi-Fi.
The campground, in Walland, Tennessee, comes highly recommended. It was named the Tennessee Campground of the Year at the Tennessee Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds in 2009. The river has great fishing as well as tubing and rafting. There are many trails nearby as well as horseback riding, bike rentals and tours of the mountains.
Misty River Cabins & RV Resort
5050 Old Walland Hwy.
Walland, TN 37886
Article Written By James Jordan
James Jordan has been a writer and photographer since 1980. He has worked for newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kansas, winning state press association awards for writing, photography and page design. In 1995 he received his master's in Christian education and completed two years of Ancient Greek at the graduate level. Jordan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.