Chilhowee Recreation Area

Area Status: Open

View of Chilhowee Recreation Area in Cherokee National Forest

Located in the Chilhowee Recreation Area, Chilhowee Campground offers more than 70 campsites, electric hookups, RV sites, tent-only sites and multiple bathhouses.The campground is usually open from early April to late October, with an overflow area and day use area open year-round. 7-acre McKamy Lake offers a swim area with a sand beach, and fishing from the bank. Boats are allowed, but gasoline motors are not. Also, within the recreation area are approximately 25 miles of hiking and biking trails, and a scenic waterfall. On the drive up to the campground, stop at one of the many observation overlooks to see beautiful mountain settings. Wildlife is abundant in this area, so have your camera ready and tread lightly.

Chilhowee Recreation Area Map and Guide

At a Glance

Reservations: Logo
Area Amenities: Tent camping,Camping trailer,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Fees: Non-electric sites (42 sites) - $12. Electric Sites (29 sites) - $20. Walk-in sites with electric (7 sites) - $15. Day use fees are $3 per vehicle per day.
Open Season: 4/14/2023 - 11/6/2023
Usage: Heavy
  • Food storage restrictions apply at all areas on the Cherokee National Forest. All food and beverages must be stored in an approved bear-proof container, your locked vehicle or hard-sided camper at all times unless being eaten, prepared, or transported.
  • Maximum of 5 people and 2 vehicles at each site.
Closest Towns: Benton, TN
Water: Drinking Water
Restroom: Flush Toilets, Showers, and Dump Station.
Passes: Digital Pass Icon
Operated By: US Forest Service

General Information


From Highway 64/411 intersection travel east 7 miles, turn onto Forest Road 77, drive 7.5 miles to campground/recreation area entrance sign and turn right.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Biking

Recreation areas with activity Mountain Biking:

Access to the 20 plus miles of the Chilhowee Trails System from the Chilhowee Recreation Area.

Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

Chilhowee Campground offers camping opportunities for tents and RVs.

No. of Sites 78
Reservation Info All sites should be reserved 4 days before arrival.
Fire Information There is a grill/fire ring at each campsite.
Rental info: Logo

RV Camping

Recreation areas with activity RV Camping:

Chilhowee Campground offers excellent camping opportunities for both trailers and RVs.

No. of Sites 78
Reservation Info All sites should be reserved 4 days before arrival.
Dump Stations There is a dumpstation onsite at Chilhowee Campground.
Hookups - Electric Yes, Loops A & B have electric hook-ups.

Group Camping

Recreation areas with activity Group Camping:

Capacity for the Group Site is up to 75 people.

No. of Sites 16
Rental info: Logo

Lake and Pond Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Lake and Pond Fishing: Fishing opportunities are in the 7 acre McKamy Lake.
Fishing Mode Bank fishing

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

Several opportunties for day hiking loops exist in the Chilhowee Trails System, including the 65 foot Benton Falls trail.


Recreation areas with activity Picnicking: This day-use area includes picnic sites and a group picnic area.


Recreation areas with activity Swimming: The designated swim beach on McKamy Lake is a great place to escape from the summer heat. Please note that there is no life guard at the beach.


Camping trailer:
Picnic tables:
Tent camping:
Fee charged for some activities:
Drinking water:

Quick Links

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
2100 feet