(N 35.6603, W – 83.5839): Not every runner wants to tackle unpaved trails, so campgrounds and picnic areas rank right up there as options. You’ll be running loops, but you can easily drive around these sites to figure out the mileage and route you want. To start, grab the campground map at the check-in kiosk–that’ll be a big help. Also, choose one of the park’s less visited locations if you choose to do this. Among those would be big campgrounds like Elkmont (the biggest) and Cosby, just refurbished, very large, and very empty when other campgrounds can be full. Elkmont adds a plus—it’s a big campground near the Little River Trail run described below.
Directions: From Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, turn onto Little River Rd. and drive 4.9 miles and take a left turn to the south. The Elkmont Campround entrance is at 6.3 miles.