• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Trail Advisory

    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. More »

Adopt a Campsite Program

This program is a great way to enjoy the park's backcountry while helping to maintain a campsite!

Interested in becoming an Adopt a Campsite Volunteer? Here is what you should know:

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides volunteers with training in campsite maintenance and inspection, Leave No Trace, and tool safety.
  • Campsite maintenance includes: cleaning out fire rings, inspecting bear cable systems, removing litter, and dismantling primitive benches or tables.
  • The park provides volunteers with access to the tools needed to complete the work.
  • To participate in the program, volunteers must complete a VIP application and attend a one-day Adopt a Campsite orientation training session.
  • If you wish to remain in the program for more than a year you must attend an annual safety meeting.
  • Volunteers are expected hike out to their campsite at least 5 times a year for at least one year and submit a report after each trip.
  • Volunteers must be 18 years old or work with a consenting adult at all times.

    Download a VIP Application. Return completed VIP Applications the Volunteer Coordinator at 107 Park Headquarters Drive, Gatlinburg, TN 37738.

    For more information about the Adopt a Campsite program contact the Trails & Facilities Volunteer Coordinator at 828-497-1949.

Backcountry Campsite in Cataloochee area.

Did You Know?

Visitors can often spot bears in trees at the edges of forests.

Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the park. This equals a population density of approximately two bears per square mile. Bears can be found throughout the park, but are easiest to spot in open areas such as Cades Cove and Cataloochee Valley. More...