Situated at 3,640 feet, Black Rock Mountain State Park is Georgia’s highest park and is often home to much cooler weather than the rest of the state, offering relief for much of the year. RVers should check the weather in Clayton, GA before embarking up the steep, winding roads on icy days. With over 50 campsites and 10 cabins in Black Rock Mountain State Park, every kind of camper will find comfort.
Though the park is named for Black Rock Mountain, it is also home to four other peaks, topping out at over 3,000 ft each. Five different hiking trails can be found within the park, providing access to the diverse wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hop on the newest trail, the Norma Campbell Cove Trail, or opt for something more traditional like the Eastern Continental Divide. No matter what you choose, the views are sure to impress.
We camped here in a tent site with a 1 and 3 year old and the site was flat enough to contain the kids but pretty enough to enjoy for the adults. Good trails and bathrooms.
We camped here this past weekend (7.13.18 - 7.15.18) but my review will start a couple of weeks earlier.
After planning to stay at this campground, and never having visited the park before, we decided to ride up and take a look around.
We are members of the "Friends of GA State Parks" and we renew our membership each year. Our membership comes at a price tag of $105 an includes two annual park passes, two free nights of camping and miscellaneous other perks.
This particular visit, we forgot our annual park pass so we were prepared to pay the $5 daily parking fee. When we arrived at the campground, we stopped by the store and told the staff member that we had reservations to camp, however, we simply wanted to check out the campground and park amenities before we arrived. I asked to purchase a park pass and the gentleman told me that it was not necessary if we were simply driving through and not staying at the park. I thanked him and we were on our way.
After driving through the campground (more on it in a few) we headed towards the other side of the park to the visitor center. As we approached the visitor center, an older gentleman stepped out of the "guard shack" and I told him that we had forgotten our park pass and the other staff member at the building in the campground had told us that we did not need to purchase one to simply drive through. At this point, this particular staff member asked," What guy told you that?" (in a very rude and demeaning manner). I, again, stated that the staff member who was working at the building at the entrance of the campground had told me that and he asked, "Are you talking about the store?" I told him that I was not sure what the building was called, because we had never visited the park before, but it was the only park staff member working at the only building at the entrance of the campground. At this time he became very rude and made a comment to the effect, "Well, if you say that's what he told you then I guess I have to take your word for it!". I told him that we would be more than happy to pay the $5 to drive through the park but he didn't need to be rude. He replied, "Well, YOU don't have to try and guilt me into letting you in for free but you did!" I drove away and we just left the park without exploring any further.
Once we got home, I reached out to the park manager and explained to him the behavior of his staff member and he apologized and said that he would handle it.
Fast forward to our visit…keep in mind that we have camped at NUMEROUS GA state parks over the years and I cannot remember NOT purchasing a Friends Membership…we have checked into many park campgrounds and never been hassled like we were this past weekend!!!
When we arrived (0700hrs) the park had just opened however, there was a sign at the campground store stating that it was closed and the visitor center would open at 0800hrs. We drove through the campground, picked out a site and began unloading our vehicle. At 0800hrs my Wife headed to the campground store to check in and it was still closed so she headed over to the visitor center. The visitor center was open and she told the staff member that we had camping reservations and needed to check in. The staff member (a younger female) asked to see our annual park pass. My wife told her that it was at the campsite (we were in two vehicles) and that we had it but would need one for the second vehicle. The staff member refused to allow my wife to check in until she could see our annual park pass…this has never been an issue at any other state park in GA!!! They always ask if we need a park pass and, if so, they would provide a handwritten pass for the weekend (included in the camping fees).
My Wife drove back to the campsite and told me that they had refused to let her check in until we proved that we have an annual park pass!!! I stopped setting up our equipment and we both drove back to the visitor center (on the other side of the park) with our pass. Once inside, I asked the staff member what exactly it was that she needed and she asked for our annual pass and proof of our Friends of GA state parks membership. I asked her WHY she needed to confirm this to check in and she said, "We need that information so you can check in." Once she saw our annual pass (you know the one that we paid $105 for), she allowed us to check in and (here's the kicker) she gave me HANDWRITTEN park passes and told me NOT to use the annual pass because they "prefer" that we use the handwritten ones instead!!! WHY DID WE HAVE TO SHOW OUR ANNUAL PASS IF WE WEREN'T ALLOWED TO USE IT???? After we satisfied the silly rules of check-in, we were informed of the presence of bears (we already knew that because we camp in the area frequently) and we had to sign an acknowledgment that there are bears in the park! She then provided me ith a copy of "rules" that we had to abide by before we received our paperwork!
The campsites are very close to each other and there is limited room for your equipment…we have a large tent (16x10), a 13x13 screen room, a 10x10 canopy (our kitchen area) a Jeep Wrangler towing a 5x8 trailer that contains our equipment and kayaks. We also had a second passenger car (Honda Accord) with us. While we were unloading our equipment, we parked the Honda in a small grassy area next to our campsite (there is barely enough room for two vehicles to be parked side by side). As we were setting up, the camp host drove up on his golf cart and told us that we could not park outside of the campsite. We asked if it was even during setup and he told us to move the car (very rude)!
So far, our weekend wasn't shaping up to be very enjoyable because of the overbearing staff of the park!!
After we got our site set up we decided to go to the lake and fish from our kayaks…we drove to the park office and asked if we needed a trout stamp to fish (we already have fishing license) in the lake and the same female staff member stated, "No, you do not need a stamp to fish but, if you want to keep any that you catch you'll need one"! Now, I don't know about you but, if we catch trout, we're going to cook them!!! I told her that I needed a trout stamp and she informed me that they did not sell fishing license there!!! She proceeded to tell me where we could drive to purchase a stamp!!! A GA STATE PARK (managed by GA DNR) that doesn't have a GA DNR fishing license…wow!
Luckily, I was able to purchase my trout stamp on my phone so we didn't need to drive to the next closest town to do so!
We fished for a while, paddled around the lake (we didn't catch anything) and returned to our site. As we were getting dinner ready and building our campfire, the SAME CAMP HOST stopped and asked everyone in the general vicinity about a campsite (across from ours) that was set up but had no site marker displayed…we (and everyone else) told him that we did not know who was camping at that site and he instructed us to tell them (when they returned) that they need to display their site marker!!! He gave us an order to enforce the rules of the campground! OVERBEARING!
The evening was fine (other than the three-hour monsoon) and the next morning we ventured out to cook breakfast…as we were eating, the SAME CAMP HOST stopped at our site, acted as if he could not read our site marker and asked, "What is your name? I can't read the paper."
We told him our last name and he looked at some list on a clipboard…he then asked, "Did you check in at the office?" Seriously???? We were there since 0700hrs the day before and he hassled us multiple times but he couldn't remember us being there???? We told him that we had, indeed, checked in the day before and he asked when we were leaving!! We told him that we were leaving on Sunday, 7.15 and he asked if we had signed the paperwork acknowledging the presence of bears!!!! We told him that we had, indeed, signed the bear paperwork and he finally drove away!!! We have never had such "hands-on" camp hosts!
That was the final interaction that we had with the staff (thank goodness) and the rest of our stay was peaceful!!!
NOW, onto the park/campground…the park is beautiful, the campground is great (a bit cramped but nice nonetheless) and the overall experience was great. The campground store (trading post) was closed the entire weekend…we asked why they had not opened it and we were told that they do not have the manpower to open it. If you need anything, you'll need to leave the campground and drive across to the other side of the park to the visitor's center…it is open from 0800hrs until 1700hrs (not very convenient). If you need anything else, you'll have to drive back to Clayton to the local Wally World.
Other than these silly interactions with staff and the lack of a campground store, it really is a nice park…just prepare yourself to have MANY interactions with the staff! I compare this to staying at a hotel and the front desk knocking on your door several times to remind you of when checkout is, etc.!!
You can see more of our pics and a video on Instagram:
Be prepared for beauty!! The walk in tent sites are the best way to go. Most of these sites are separated from each other to give privacy. Some of the sites are overlooking a town and you're able to see the lights at night. The campground and bathrooms are kept clean and well stocked. The hosts and staff are very friendly and helpful! I liked the place so much that I went back after few weeks.
We had fun camping here and driving around on the fire roads while in Clayton. The view from the top of the mountain is beautiful!
Would recommend only camping here in a tent or SMALL camper. We took our 26ft tt up in the dark. Read a longer review with photos on the link. https://imaginecamper.com/2018/05/14/black-rock-mountain-state-park/
We booked out spot a year in advance to view the beautiful solar eclipse that occurred last year.We gathered our family and about 20 of our friends for a fantastic weekend.It is completely private.There is an outhouse for both genders.There was a cabin with electricity but no water.the spigot is right outside.We had enough space for hammocks,tents,.We were able to let the dogs roam. I honestly loved this camp and I can't wait to go again.Even though it was scorching out.We went two days not realizing it.We had lovely breezes and tree coverage.The top of the mountain was the most incredible place to view the eclipse. The experience was so phenomenal..
This has been one of our family favorites for years. We are tent campers and we're always able to set up camp and not feel like we're hemmed in by motorhomes. There are some great hiking trails on the mountain and some beautiful vista views. The ranger led activities have always been enjoyed by my kids.
While your camping here, be sure to visit the Foxfire Museum that you'll pass while driving up the mountain. They have an amazing insight into Appalachian history and living!
Lots of hiking trails, 11 miles or so. Great spot for tent camping down below from the RV spots which is nice. Showers bathrooms and water easy access from the tent primitive camping.
We stayed in the tent only side. We had two tents (9 x 9 and 10 x 12). We had to move our picnic table because our tents wouldn't fit otherwise. It was private and bathrooms always clean.
Beware, the ticks this year are in abundance…. we even brought one back with us… ugh…
Parking is near sites, but you will have to bring you stuff up a short hill. Depending on which site you get, the hill is .05 to .2 of a mile at most.
Huge campsites, most private-ish, and many have both east and west views - meaning sunrises and sunsets. Bathrooms clean. Staff great. Plenty of hiking and activity options for all ages and experience levels.