Yurt Camping in the Great Smoky Mountains: An Unforgettable Experience

It’s a bit surprising, given that I lived in the Smoky Mountains, but I didn’t grow up camping. Aside from a couple of trips with friends or family members, I had little experience with this type of outdoor adventure. It wasn’t really until adulthood that I began to dip my toes into camping and backpacking, and by that point, it felt a bit intimidating (not to mention expensive) to get my hands on the gear I needed, find the best location, and pack up all our meals and equipment.

As a parent, I wanted a different experience for my kids. I wanted them to know how much fun camping could be. So, one weekend, we decided it was time. We got a tent big enough for four and packed the car (to the absolute brim, I might add) with all the things to make our 2-night stay with a 4 and 5-year-old “fun.” All of us had a blast, swimming, fishing, and cooking s’mores over the fire. But waking up in the morning after very little sleep and with a sore back, we thought, “Man, this was a lot of work for very little rest.”

We couldn’t help but think that there must be an easier way to introduce camping to the less experienced (or less outdoor-inclined) camper. And that’s where our yurts in Gatlinburg, TN come in. Some might call this “glamping in Gatlinburg, TN,” and that’s fine! But don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t count as real camping. At Roamstead, we believe that camping is any sleeping arrangement that better connects you to the outdoors, and that’s just what we want to provide.

Why Roamstead’s Yurts Make Camping Easier

Roamstead’s yurts in Gatlinburg, TN provide the best of both worlds. It’s camping, but just a bit easier. No need to hunt for the right tent, pack your sleeping bag, and get an achy back from sleeping on the ground. No need to stress about what happens if it rains all night. We’ve got the comfy-yet-outdoorsy space all set up for you. You get to come for the good times, fresh air, and peaceful creek sounds.

Nearly all of Roamstead's yurts sit beside a beautiful creek.

At check-in in our Lodge, you’ll grab your keys and your map and venture back to our yurt village. We’ve got nine yurts nestled at the quiet back edge of our property, separated from the cabin and RV sections of the park. Surrounded on two sides by flowing creeks, almost every yurt sits directly on the water. Each yurt comes with a picnic table and fire pit with adjustable cooking grate.

Our 16-foot yurts are the perfect size. We’ve got two different layouts: one is perfect for a couple with one queen bed, and one is better for small families, with a queen bed and a low-profile twin bunk bed. The two-person yurt has a small seating area, while both yurt layouts have a cabinet with a mini-fridge and clothes storage. Microwaves can also be borrowed from the Lodge if desired. There’s no need to pack bedding, as all linens, including sheets and bathroom towels, are provided.

Roamstead's yurts have 2 layouts, one with a queen bed, which sleeps 2.

While there’s not a bathroom inside the yurt (there’s got to be some element of “roughing it,” right?), our yurts are steps away from a restroom, and our clean, spa-like bathhouse is right around the corner. One of my biggest pet peeves is feeling dirty while you’re showering in a campground bathhouse, so we’ve made every effort to make our bathroom experience inviting and relaxing. We even provide the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash!

All of our yurts are outfitted with heat and air conditioning, and they stay perfectly comfortable year-round, so there’s no need to worry about the weather. You’ll be cozy any time of the year!

And, of course, we welcome your Roamstead Rovers to stay in our yurts! We have both pet-friendly and pet-free units to accommodate your needs!

Roamstead's yurts heated and cooled, and come with a mini-fridge.

A Closer Look at the Yurt’s Unique Features

Our yurts are not just about convenience; they’re about creating memorable experiences. Each yurt is designed to blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings, providing a tranquil retreat where you can truly disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The circular structure of a yurt, inspired by traditional Mongolian designs, promotes a sense of calm and unity with nature.

We’ve also paid close attention to sustainability in our yurt village. The yurts are built with eco-friendly materials, and we encourage our guests to practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Our communal dining area and fire pit are perfect for socializing and sharing stories with fellow campers, fostering a sense of community among our guests.

The shared fire pit in the yurt village at Roamstead campground in the Smoky Mountains.

Embracing the Seasons at Roamstead

One of the great things about yurt camping in Gatlinburg, TN at Roamstead is that it’s a year-round activity. Each season in the Smoky Mountains offers something unique and beautiful. In the spring, the mountains come alive with wildflowers and fresh greenery. It’s a great time for hiking and exploring the many trails that crisscross the area.

Summer is perfect for taking advantage of our saltwater pool and the numerous water activities available in the region. From white water rafting to tubing, there’s no shortage of ways to cool off and have fun.

Autumn in the Smokies is a spectacular display of color. The changing leaves create a breathtaking landscape that’s ideal for photography, scenic drives, and peaceful hikes. Our yurts provide a cozy base for enjoying the crisp fall air and stunning vistas.

Winter brings a quiet beauty to the mountains. With fewer crowds, it’s a peaceful time to visit and experience the serene, snow-dusted landscape. Our yurts’ heating systems ensure that you’ll stay warm and comfortable, even on the coldest nights.

Roamstead's yurts covered in snow - still cozy for camping in the winter.

What You Can Find at Roamstead

A Roamstead camping experience is so much more than just a place to sleep. We want to make the whole stay more enjoyable, from start to finish. We’ve thoughtfully designed all of our spaces to make it easy to relax and gather with other outdoor adventurers. You’re welcome to hang out around your yurt, or you can join the fun around the Lodge. On warm days, take the plunge in our saltwater pool, play corn hole in our activity yard, or catch a movie night in our pavilion. If you brought the food, that’s great! But if you’d prefer to kick your feet up around the fire after a day of adventuring, we’ve got you covered. Order a pizza and a craft beer or cocktail, and we’ll even bring it to you. During our busy season, we offer kid-friendly activities like bingo and rock painting to help keep the little ones entertained.

We’ve put a lot of thought into creating an environment that’s as comfortable as it is adventurous. Our Lodge serves as the heart of the Roamstead community, offering a welcoming space to gather, eat, and share stories. The Lodge is equipped with Wi-Fi, so you can work from the road if you need to, but we encourage you to unplug and enjoy the natural beauty around you.

A view of Roamstead's pavilion and community fire pits in Gatlinburg, TN

How to Adventure While You’re at Roamstead

There is no shortage of activities in the Gatlinburg area, most within minutes of the Roamstead property! One of the highlights of our location is our proximity to hiking inside the National Park. The Maddron Bald trailhead is right out our back door - no need to even get in your car! This hike is great for all ages: you can do a shorter hike about a mile in to the Baxter cabin and back, or you can complete a 7.5-mile loop all the way up to Albright Grove, which is the oldest old-growth forest in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

If you want to venture out a little further, Roamstead is just 10 minutes away from two different lesser-visited entrances to the National Park: Cosby and Greenbrier. Both of these entrances have great hiking options for all experience levels, and you won’t have to fight the crowds like you might closer to Gatlinburg or Cades Cove.

If you’re looking for other adventure sports, there’s white water rafting in nearby Hartford, Tennessee, ziplining with our friends at ClimbWorks, or taking a guided hike with A Walk in the Woods.

For a more low-key experience, the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts community is a 15-minute drive away. This is an 8-mile loop of handmade artists and craftsmen, providing a wide variety of shops and restaurants. Don’t miss Alewine Pottery for a hand-made Smoky Mountains mug, and grab a coffee and a snack from Painted Bear Coffee Co for an afternoon pick-me-up. Also, our favorite bookstore, Our Place, is just right down the road from Roamstead!

And, of course, we’re just 30 minutes from Downtown Gatlinburg and all the activities it has to offer, like Anakeesta and the Gatlinburg Skypark. Dollywood is also a short 35-minute drive away!

Exploring the Local Flavors

If you’re like me, you plan your vacations around food. So, if you’re not eating pizza at our Lodge or cooking at your campfire, we love to share our local favorites!

The Great Smoky Mountains region is known for its rich culinary heritage, featuring everything from traditional Southern cuisine to innovative farm-to-table fare. If you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast to start your day, Crockett’s Breakfast Camp in Gatlinburg offers a menu filled with delicious, homestyle options that will fuel your adventures. Their giant cinnamon rolls and skillet breakfasts are a must-try!

For dinner, consider heading over to Red Oak Bistro in Gatlinburg, a wine and tapas bar serving Mediterranean and Eastern European fare. The husband and wife team who own Red Oak are so kind, and create a unique dining experience in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. A little closer to Roamstead, Doc’s 321 Cafe provides delicious barbecue, but their chili is our personal favorite!

If you’re a fan of craft beer, the Smoky Mountain Brewery offers a great selection of locally brewed beers, along with a menu of pub favorites. It’s a perfect spot to unwind after a day of hiking or exploring the area.

If wine is more your style, the Rocky Top Wine Trail can be experienced either via VIP shuttle or self-guided tour, and provides tastings of some delicious, typically sweeter, wines.

Finally, a trip to Roamstead wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t familiarize yourself with the local Moonshine lore. There are many distilleries that offer samples in Downtown Gatlinburg, and Adventure Distilling is just right down the street from our property.

Pizza at Roamstead

Why You Should Book Your Yurt Camping Getaway at Roamstead

So, there you have it. If you want that camping experience without quite so much effort, staying in a Roamstead yurt is the perfect option. You’ll experience the great outdoors, but with the amenities that will make your stay fun and relaxing at the same time. Let us be your introduction to camping, or just a welcomed rest from the real world. We promise you won’t regret it!

Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-timer, our yurts offer a unique and comfortable way to connect with nature and create lasting memories. Book your stay today and discover the magic of yurt camping in Gatlinburg, TN at Roamstead.

Yurt camping in Gatlinburg, TN, offers an unparalleled combination of adventure, comfort, and connection with nature. Roamstead’s yurts are designed to provide a seamless blend of rustic charm and modern amenities, ensuring that your stay is as enjoyable as it is memorable. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an action-packed adventure, Roamstead is the perfect destination for glamping in Gatlinburg, TN. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience the great outdoors in a whole new way—book your yurt camping trip today!