Picnic Grounds and Pavilions in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

One of the best ways to enjoy the great outdoors is to have an old fashioned picnic and there is no better place to have a picnic than the Great Smoky Mountains national park spanning the states of both North Carolina and Tennessee.

While most parks have maybe 1 or 2 picnic areas, the Smokies boost 11 picnic areas! All of the picnic areas in the GSMNP are accessible by car, and most have handicapped accessible areas as well.

Only 4 picnic areas in the Great Smoky Mountains national park are open year round. One is in North Carolina: Deep Creek outside Bryson City and the remaining 3 are located in Tennessee: Cades Cove, Greenbrier, and Metcalf Bottoms.



Your Ad could be here! See how here.

Picnic areas and campgrounds are the only place you are allowed to make a fire or cook food with a flame, portable grill or stove. These laws are strictly enforced so if you want to have a BBQ in the Great Smoky Mountains national park you must do so in a designated picnic area. Tailgate anywhere, just as long as you are not cooking or burning anything!

All picnic areas have charcoal grills with grates at each site and it is up to you to supply your own charcoal, grill brush and utensils. The only campground store that sells supplies is in Cades Cove and is only open seasonally so it is best to bring your picnic supplies into the Great Smoky Mountains national park.

Not all picnic areas have covered pavilions, but for those that do you can make reservations up to one year in advance online at www.recreation.gov or by calling (877)444-6777. Payment can be made by credit card or personal check at the time the reservation is made. Pavilions can not be used for commercial purposes or events professionally managed.

Picnic Areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
(Some Pavilions allow advance reservations)

Picnic GroundsPicnic Area Status Capacity
Big Creek Picnic AreaOpen
Open from 4/8 to 10/31
10 Picnic Sites
No Pavilion
Cades Cove Picnic AreaOpen
Open Year Round
Closes at 8:00 PM May 1 - Aug 31
Closes at sunset on other dates
81 Picnic Sites
No Pavilion
Chimneys Picnic AreaOpen
Open from 3/12 to 11/27
Closes at 8:00 PM May 1 - Aug 31
Closes at sunset on other dates
68 Picnic Sites
No Pavilion
Collins Creek Picnic AreaOpen
Open from 4/1 to 10/31
Closes at 8:00 PM May 1 - Aug 31
Closes at sunset on other dates
$20 Advance Pavilion Rese
182 Picnic Sites
Pavilion Seats 70
Cosby Picnic AreaOpen
Open from 4/8 to 10/31
$20 Advance Pavilion Reservation
35 Picnic Sites
Pavilion Seats 55
Deep Creek Picnic AreaOpen
Open Year Round
$20 Advance Pavilion Reservation
58 Picnic Sites
Pavilion Seats 70
Greenbrier Picnic AreaOpen
Open Year Round
$10 Advance Pavilion Reservation
12 Picnic Sites
Pavilion Seats 70
Heintooga/Balsam Picnic AreaOpen
Open from 5/22 to 10/13
41 Picnic Sites
No Pavilion
Look Rock Picnic AreaClosed due to Budget.
No Reopen Date.
51 Picnic Sites
No Pavilion
Metcalf Bottoms Picnic AreaOpen
Open Year Round
Pavilion open March 29 - Oct. 31
$20 Advance Pavilion Reservation
Oct 31-April 1 there are No Dumpsters
122 Picnic Sites
Pavilion Seats 70
Twin Creeks Picnic AreaOpen
Open from 4/1 to 10/31
By reservation only ($35-$75)
No Picnic Sites
Pavilion Seats 150

 

Your Ad could be here! See how here.

You may wonder why the picnic areas close early in the evening than expected. That is so crews can be sure that bears, raccoons and other wildlife are not feasting on scraps or trash which endangers their lives and possibly yours in the case of a black bear losing its much need natural fear on man. We suggest before entering the GSMNP or any wild area your read about our Black Bear Information and Safety Tips for The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


Back to Top of Page