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As I was hiking Panther Creek to the base of the waterfall I saw 10-15 camp sites where you can camp for free, primitive style!
Great park. Many hiking opportunities in the park and surrounding areas. It is 1099 stairs to the bottom of canyon!Campground was nice. Sites are open and unlevel but most were a good size. Sites are gravel with table, grill, water, and electric. Campground is very hilly. It was great to be able to access trails from the campground. You can also walk to the day use area from campground which has a trail and beach picnic area. 2 bathhouses were good. Laundry facilities available. There was little cell reception and no tv reception here. Went to Helen for a bit-IMO it's overrated. Branch out from the park because there are some great hiking trails in the area. They were not issuing any gorge floor permits the time we went. There is a fabulous museum/welcome center here with some history and facts about the park. Park is pretty busy. It was spring break when we went but it was not overwhelming. It was nice to see kids riding bikes and running outside.
We stayed one night at Calhoun Falls, SC site 86. The site is the first one in the second grouping of campsites directly across from the camp host. Site 86 is a pull-through. There are 12 steps down to a lower level picnic table and fire pit area. There is a short path down to the water.
There is 30amp power available as well as household style 110. The 30amp power seemed to be a little finicky.
The camp host's dog barked for several hours after our arrival which was not very relaxing. During the barking, the camp host decided it was time to run a leaf blower for a while. So we decided to take a walk.
We liked the walking paths and the public fishing pier.
There is a rail line that crosses the lake. We heard the train horn a couple times that night. Dogs, leaf blowers, trains … not the relaxing weekend we had hoped for.
Security seemed a bit lax. There were several cases of motorcycles and show cars, maybe lost boaters come in an out of the camp area at all hours.
The dump station was in bad enough shape that we did not feel it would be in our best health to use it (see picture).
We probably will not go back even though this is not too far from home.
We had a really good time over the weekend
I camped here with a friend and the dogs. The road is a steep grade up to the campground. There are several overlooks on the way. The campsites have a firepit, picnic bench - and table, and a lantern pole. Some of the sites were not very private and more open without shade. We were in number 15 and it was in our opinion the best one. Trees and bushes on 3 sides. The bathroom was very clean and well maintained. The campground has a little trading post at the entrance. Unfortunately it was closed on the weekend. You could still pick up firewood. It was walking distance to several hiking trails. Due to a lot of rain, we spent our Saturday downtown Clayton, which is just about 10 minutes from the campground and definitely worth a visit. We would camp here anytime again.
My family of four stayed here for 3 nights and loved it, even though it rained a little. There is the Stumphouse tunnel and a waterfall nearby that are a lot of fun too. My daughter enjoyed paddleboats and mini golf. The prices were great for activities. We would love to come here again.
229 ft long covered bridge you can drive through (height and weight restrictions). Sites have power and water, dump station is available. Shower house with laundry. Hiking and bike trails. Shadey and quiet. Wade in the river below the bridge but careful, the rocks are slick.