Summer in the Smokies


Summer camps at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont give kids the unique opportunity to explore, play, and learn in one of the most ecologically diverse parks in the world: Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

GSMIT Summer Camps

Situated about four miles from the Townsend, Tennessee, entrance of the national park, Tremont Institute is surrounded by miles of trails, a rushing river, a gorgeous waterfall, and half a million protected acres of mountains and forests.

Imagine splashing around in an icy cold mountain stream, climbing ridges to an unbelievable view, or choosing from a variety of activities to discover nature through hands-on explorations, day hikes, and crafts. Summer campers have so much fun on their outdoor adventures while also gaining a better understanding of the beautiful Smoky Mountains and developing a lifelong appreciation and stewardship of the environment.

From backpacking in the wilderness to learning about the secret haunts of salamanders, Tremont Institute offers a variety of opportunities to serve different interests, abilities, and ages. All programs include meals, lodging, and professional, caring instruction.

During Firefly Camp, children ages 4–9 and their grown-ups will bond during a one-, two-, or three-night stay in the park! We’ll play games that build confidence and awaken the senses while learning about the forest, wading in mountain streams, singing songs around the campfire, and watching the fireflies as dusk falls.

Discovery Camp is a great introductory camp for ages 9–12. Campers will discover just how exciting nature can be by swimming in the river, playing in the forest, hiking over mountains, searching for critters, and more! Two sessions are offered this summer.

Wilderness Adventure Trek teaches teens 13–17 the skills necessary for planning and enjoying a safe, successful backpacking trip. Before they know it, they’ll be climbing a mountain, carrying everything they need to survive for four days and three nights. Two sessions are offered this summer.

Teen High Adventure gives ages 13–17 a chance to venture into the heart of the Great Smoky Mountain backcountry, spending seven days and six nights among fellow young outdoor enthusiasts. You’ll be amazed at the skills and confidence your teen will gain from this adventure!

Girls in Science Camp gives intrepid girls ages 12–15 an opportunity to build friendships with others while adventuring in the Smokies. After getting up close and personal with critters, plants, and the forces that shape our natural world, campers get to design their own field investigation.

Backcountry Ecological Expedition gives adventurers ages 13–17 a chance to explore relatively undisturbed areas of the park while conducting field experiments and recording observations. Campers will explore the creeks and hollows in search of the next organism new to the park—or event to science!

For rising high school juniors and seniors, the Maryville College Great Smokies Experience is a fun one-of-a-kind credit-bearing experience where participants hike, paddle, and explore the mountains while learning about biodiversity, sustainability, and sense of place.

Additionally, Tremont Institute also offers a summer Family Camp. With so many options like hikes, swim time, nature activities, craft, music, and more, the hardest part of Family Camp is deciding how to spend the week together!

Registration is currently open for 2021 summer camps. Financial aid is available. Visit to learn more.

Summer Camps during COVID-19

After canceling summer camps in 2020, we are so excited to welcome campers back to experience the magic and wonder of summer in the Smokies. While we are planning to move forward with summer programs in 2021, we are closely monitoring trends and best practices during the pandemic. We feel very good about the safety procedures we have implemented and will continue to make adjustments as needed to accommodate changing best practices. The safety of our campers is top priority.


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