Looking for some advice from you Great Smokey Mtn. Nat Park aficionados. We are planning a trip for the third week of June and would like to camp in a campground in the park. Of course that would be dry camping. Just wondering what the temperature is like at that time. Are there campgrounds that would be cool enough to sleep in at night without having the AC that electrical hookups would provide? I'm thinking maybe some of the campgrounds might be high enough that it would be cool enough. I see one campground that is over 5000 ft, and others around 2000-3000 ft. Any of these high enough to offset the summer heat?
You know you never know. I have seen some snow in June at the higher altitudes. Again it has been pretty darn hot. But over all I think you should do fine without a/c. Just make your reservations early some cg's fill, Cataloochee, others usually have room, Cosby. Elkmont and Smokemont are a toss up.
We have stay at Elkmont in June, July, and August. Each time for a week. We have been when it was actually cool and needed a sweatshirt and we have been when hot and humid. Elkmont always stays humid and there is so much shade it is hard to dry anything out. We found it is sticky and uncomfortable (warm and sticky) when we lay down for bed but by about midnight or 1am it has cooled off. Two things work for us: Close up the camper and run the AC during dinner time up the quiet hours. 2nd we found these great 12Volt fans. We have two of them and we put one in the read bunk room for the kid and one in our bedroom. WE run those on medium until we wake up at night cold then we turn them off. They are easy on the battery (not much amps). By in the morning the camper is cooled off and feels good. This past summer we were there in August and day time highs out at Gatlinburg and Sugarland visitor Center were 88 to 94 F. The inside camper temp would get to 83 or 84 during the daytime at max, then around 78 at bed time, and about 64-68 when we wake up.
Just as others have posted some times warmer than others and some times cooler.
Balsam Mountain will be the coolest at night due to elevation,. Love the smell of the spurce fir trees. There are some excellent hikes in that area with light foot traffic due to the isolation of the area. If you plane on running into town a lot Balsam mountain may not be the best choice.
We will be @ Elkmont Last week on June (Site D4 on the river), have camped here almost every year since 1987 and many times since the early 60's. Some times it is almost Midnight before it's cool enough to get to sleep but almost always cool enough in the early AM that you need a light cover to stay warm.
Being on the River a quick dip before retiring (in my earlier youth) or a quick shower (more normal in my older state ) helps to keep cool.
If it's one of those times when it's raining (Rain, Rain Smoky is thy Name) it can be hot and sticky and miserable.....well worth it to be in such a beautiful, relaxing place regardless of the weather.
Checkout my signature for Pix's & campground listings in the park. Maybe we will see you there this summer.
We camped at Cataloochee last fall, but not during the spring/summer months. There's plenty of shade and a stream which runs along the campground... I expect it would be mostly mild until July... you could check weather.com to find the average temps around the area.
Keep in mind the roads into Cataloochee can be an adventure for some... it'll be easier with a pop-up, truck camper, or small travel trailer. We travel with a 30' camper and a long 4-door truck. The winding, single-lane, dirt road is not for everyone, but don't let it keep you out either as there are spots wide enough to allow oncoming traffic to pass.
Elkmont would be great. Thats when the lightning bug mating season is. If you have never seen this it is amazing!
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