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Camping at Chilhowee Campground

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Location and Basic Info

Chilhowee Campground is located in the southeastern part of Tennessee within the Cherokee National Forest. It offers a picturesque camping experience surrounded by hardwood forests and mountain streams.

Amenities and Facilities

  • Campsites: The campground features a number of individual campsites suitable for tents and RVs, although hookups may not be available.
  • Picnic Tables: Most sites have picnic tables and grills or fire rings.
  • Restrooms: There are restrooms with flush toilets and showers available for campers.
  • Drinking Water: Access to potable water is generally provided.
  • Trash Disposal: The campground has facilities for garbage disposal, encouraging a leave-no-trace policy.


  • Hiking and Biking: Chilhowee Campground has access to a network of trails suitable for hiking and mountain biking, including the popular Benton Falls Trail.
  • Swimming: The campground offers a beach and a designated swimming area at McKamy Lake.
  • Fishing: Anglers can fish in the nearby streams and the lake, but make sure to check for any fishing license requirements.
  • Wildlife Viewing: The area is known for its diverse wildlife, so there's plenty of opportunities for bird watching and wildlife photography.

Reservations and Fees

  • Reservations: Some campsites may be available on a first-come, first-served basis, while others can be reserved in advance through the National Recreation Reservation System.
  • Fees: There is generally an overnight camping fee, and additional costs might apply for other amenities like group sites or day-use areas.

Seasonality and Weather

  • Operating Seasons: The campground is usually open from early spring until late fall; however, operations can change due to weather conditions, so it's best to check the current status before planning your trip.
  • Weather: The weather can be variable, with warm, humid summers and cool to cold winters. Always check the forecast and come prepared for changing conditions, especially in the mountainous terrain.

Safety Tips

  • Wildlife: Store food and scented items safely to avoid attracting bears and other wildlife.
  • Weather: Be prepared for sudden weather changes and bring appropriate gear for the season.
  • Terrain: Take caution when hiking or exploring as the terrain can be rugged and challenging in areas.


  • Road Access: The campground is generally accessible via paved roads, but roads within the campground may vary in condition.
  • Accessibility Features: Check if any of the campsite and facilities are ADA compliant if accessibility is a concern.

Important Contact Information

  • Cherokee National Forest Office: Prior to your visit, contact the local forest office for the latest information on campground status and restrictions.
  • Emergency Services: Have a plan for how to reach emergency services and the nearest hospital in case of an emergency.

Please note that specific details about Chilhowee Campground, such as fees, reservation system, and campground rules, can change over time. It's important to consult the official Cherokee National Forest website or contact the local forest office for the most current information before visiting.

Location of Chilhowee Campground
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