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Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, KENTUCKY
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Most Recent Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area Camping Reviews
beautiful views

I have been going to this campground my entire life. It has 10 sites that are spread out on kind of a peninsula sticking out in the lake. It is up on a hill,so the walk to lake is a hefty one from some of the sites. The sites are level and spacious, also they feel secluded. The ramp is a steep grade as are most of the ramps at this lake. The showers and bathrooms are clean and updated. There is a dump station on site. There is a playground and plenty of walking to do. The sites have electric and I think water on each site. The hosts were wonderful. It is out in the middle of nowhere, but worth it. We drove out and bought ice and vegetables on the honor system at a little stand. There are stores to restock supplies not too far away and it is about 20 minutes to Conley Bottom Marina which has a restaurant and general store. We love this place and will definitely go back.

Awesome people!

Great location (close to the obed). Friendly, happy group. They have a brewery in place with great beer options. Bathrooms are two portapottys but well cleaned.

ATV Riders Paradise

This place is surrounded by thousands of miles of riding trails, so bring your Side-by-side! New River runs through it also, so it’s perfect to fish, float or kayak. We were in a tent, but the have cabins also, not sure about rv sites. We stayed in August and they had a concert event going on and it was a blast!

Campground Has Potential

Let me start off by saying this campground is difficult at best to find any information about online. I tried to go to their website off several searches and nothing came up that was valid. I had been told about this site when passing through the area because of their water views and fair pricing. I was fortunate that the phone number on the site at least worked so I could find them. If you follow GPS, I wish you luck, if yours does what mine did it took me in circles and then kept saying rerouting. I opted to call the campground and their directions were so much more simplistic.

With all that being said, once I arrived the tent camping here was nice. My site was level and on one of the many roads of camping. I was no where near the water, but that was ok because my site seemed to be far enough away from louder traffic which was going in and out of the marina area so that made my stay a bit more pleasant.

I decided to talk a walk around camp and it seemed like there had been some upgrades around the campsite, still other areas looked like they still needed a bit of work. Specifically in the way of the long term campers area which looked a bit junky in some areas.

I noticed that some of the RV paths had long hoses reaching across to access water, I am not sure if that was because their water wasn't working or if there were not enough spigots available. It looked like there were many using piggy backs.

The playground looked fairly new, the restaurant which floats on the water smelled delicious from a distance and the restrooms were very clean.

The staff was so friendly on my stay, someone drove past on a golf cart to welcome me when I had settled in and we had a great chat to which they told me there is a continued effort to make improvements to better accommodate campers including a project to potentially widen the roads on the RV loops.

This place has some great potential but isn't quite there yet. I am interested in keeping up with this place to see how it changes over time.

TIPS:

  • When you are in this area you are near 2 state parks which have a lot of hiking and water options as well. Both of these can be traveled to via boat from the marina.

  • In Rocky Top there is a very interesting historical exhibit to visit about the miners and the war which took place with these miners.

Just Amazing!!!!

This was my favorite spot we camped in all year! They lock the gate at dusk, so make sure you arrive earlier or you won’t get in!!! You can reserve your spot, they have plenty of room between sites, there’s some good hiking, the creek runs through so you can hear the running water all night. Bathroom were immaculate, they clean them religiously. Can’t say enough about this gem!

Beautiful State Park With Dam Centrally Located

When I think of this State Park my thoughts go to the water and how many activities there are at the park relating to those. There is a lake, so naturally that means there is boating, jet skiing, canoeing and of course fishing. But what about those who aren't looking to do those things and want to tackle the park in a different way? What is there for them to do?

Well I am one of those people who enjoys the water, but truly likes to go to a place that has hiking and other activities for me to do as well. This place had so many things all in the peaceful setting of the lake. I enjoyed the museum on location the Lenior Cultural Center, which was a great way to see the past through the items which were commonly used in the area not only to establish them dam but also in the earlier days of the development of the area. It was really interesting to see some of the items. For those looking to do something a bit more hands on they also offer interpretive programs at this facility and ranger led programs.

Then there is the hiking, lots and lots of hiking!! I personally found this to be the best aspect of this park. Located just a short distance from the Smoky Mountains, a lot of times you don't think of hiking in this area because you are wanting to go to the "bigger better" trails in the National Park, but bypassing these trails is a huge disservice to yourself if you are in Tennessee. There are 16 trails overall at this park alone with difficulty and distance ranging. All the trails are natural surface trails and while many of them seemed very flat none were truly ADA accessible.

I stayed here at one of the two campgrounds, however they do also offer backcountry camping and cabin camping at this facility. My site was shaded and slightly off from the water on higher ground. it was flat and had hard packed dirt where my tent was set up. there was a lot of grass in the area around my campground. The site itself was pretty typical with a fire ring and concrete picnic table.

The only thing I found slightly off-putting about this camp was the mosquitoes, even late into the season they seemed to still be thriving. This made preparing food at night really a battle even with bug spray.

TIPS:

  • If booking online (during busy months). there will be a $5 online service charge. Despite this fee this is the best way to ensure you have a site during busy weekends and holiday weekends when it tends to be very busy.
  • Bring bug spray and a candle for camp to keep the bugs away.
A great stop just outside the Smoky Mountains

When passing through this area going to the Smoky Mountains I made a pit stop in Clinton, TN, just a few short miles away from one of the entrances to Smoky Mountain National Park. Though not in the mountain they have a world of charm and activities in the community.

This stop, a little less crowded than some of the other stops along the way, the KOA here offers both primitive and improved camping options for tent campers along the outer borders of the main site. Improved sites have electricity and are nearby the main restroom and shower house. Primitive sites are the furthest away from restrooms but are in a treed area close to the main entrance.

Amenities include a seasonally open pool, exercise room, outdoor activities such as playgrounds, volleyball and horseshoes.

One of the things which made this KOA a bit different than other was that it offered long term stay in a special area of the camp. This keeps the typical long term look away from those who are passing through, creating more peace for those staying a lengthy amount of time from the in and out daily traffic.

For me as a tent camper, I really debated which would be a better fit considering I typically like to stay a bit closer to the restrooms but I also didn't see the point in having electricity if I didn't need it. Primitive sites were under $20 while electrical sites were nearly $30 so the question would come down to price and comfort, both were established on a grass pad site.

I opted for primitive and it was pretty pleasant, not a lot of campers were in the region and overall it was a great stop off.

While in the Clinton area you can check out many things within a short drive, perhaps one of the most interesting the Museum of Appalachia, a working village which takes you back in time to depict the way of life of the earlier people of the region. Here they have a living history museum, restaurant, tours and hands on exhibits to tell the story of a life where things were a bit more simplistic and hard work was a way of life. Great for all ages. Other popular stops are the Green AcDoo Cultural Center and the Little Ponderosa Zoo.

TIPS:

  • If you are stopping by this location know in advance what you are interested in having as amenities. If this includes electricity or water for a tent, make a registration in advance especially on the weekends. This campground ends up with a lot of overflow from the National Park.

  • Take the drive to Oak Ridge and check out the Manhattan Project museum. This one is one of those "top secret" cities you only hear about on the history channel, now open to tell its secrets.

pretty.

the place was beautiful but you could really tell the place had been through a drought not long ago. the staff was great and helpful and the views where amazing!

‘Lots to do AND has BREW!

Love this State Park. We have been there twice in the past six weeks. Great hiking trails, fishing, waster entry for SUP, and interesting museums. It even has an AMAZING local brewery close by called Clinch River Brewery!

Very nice campground, people are nice .

Sites are nice and well maintained just a little close for a state park.Bathhouses could use a little updating but clean.Weekends seem to be busy but during the week campground was very quiet.

Excellent campground and people.

Secluded campground with some of the best employees you could possibly ask for.

Beautiful area

Trash, showers, restrooms. The spaces are pretty close together which isn’t my favorite. But the best part about this campground is the convenient location. Close to the recreation area. Just a short drive is the Obed boulder field and the Obed river.

Hiking and Scenery

Not a large campground. Some of the best hiking and scenery around. Excellent location.

Remote and beautiful.

Many beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails. Bring extra shoes because the trails cross creeks and streams! Much fun. Spend the day or the weekend!

The grove is a small friendly wooded campground with primative and rv spots

This campground is a favorite in my hometown. Very friendly camp hosts every year. Quaint camping areas private and semi private areas. Primitive camping if you like to really rough it with nice trails to each spot. The camp hosts comes by nightly to see if you need wood or ice. Very convenient if you dont want to leave your camping area. The marina is just a short distance from the campground if you bring your boat to enjoy Laurel lake. You can walk to the lake from the campground but its quite the hike downhill all the way so of course the hike back is a bit harder. You are close enough to hear the boats on the lake at the lower camp areas in the campground. Enjoy our trips every time we go.

So well kept and amazing scenery

The facilities are amazing and well maintained. There is a large loop for primitive camping and additional loops for electric/ RV sites. If you are a mountain biker, you can ride directly from the campground.

Amazing campground

Great campground and park. Unbelievably clean bathrooms and showers! Site have bear proof cabinets for your cooler, and rangers are super friendly.

Rustic

The campground is a little small and sites are oddly placed, but a great little hike to the falls makes a great day!!

Close to boat ramp

This campground has boat ramp very accessible. The shower house has both showers and stalls but are not kept clean during very busy times.

Nice facilities! Awesome restaurant!

We tent camped in August. The campground area was huge and perfect for tent camping or an RV. We were next to the restroom building which also served as a storm shelter. The restrooms were air conditioned and very clean! The only negative thing I have to say about the site is the fire ring needed to be cleaned out. The Rowena Landing restaurant had a good buffet and excellent catfish! The pool was closed for repairs and that was disappointing. The country store was very close and offered a small selection of foods, but most everything you would need for your campsite. The mini golf was fun, but there was a little flooding on the course due to a crazy storm the day before. Everyone was very nice and this felt like a safe place to be. The lake was crazy beautiful and worth going out on to see.

Forested

Beautiful sites, near lake setting. Quiet and serene. Only difficulty is travel to store is quite a drive.

Friendly, next to a playground, near a rivers edge, quiet people.

Beautiful, quiet, friendly. Large grassy area, well maintained. Near a rivers edge, playground, walking track, dog park, soccer fields…all right on or beside grounds. Easy access, allows weekly, or monthly stays.

Below the dam at Kendall

First of all, this is an Army Corps of Engineers campground. So if you have a Seniors National Parks pass, your stay is discounted.

The campground is small by some standards but very well kept. Most sites have electric and some have water.

Bath house is above average in size and the do keep it clean.

The campground is below the dam at Cumberland Lake and runs along the river there. The water movement does seem to create a cool breeze since the water coming out of the dam is rather chilly.

Bring your fishing gear unless they are opening the flood gates…then the water is really too high and fast to fish from the shore.

Campsites vary from smallish to rather spacious depending on the size of your rig. All are gravel with picnic tables and fire ring along with a sturdy pole for hanging food or trash. Most sites have at least partial shade if not full shade.

There is a small food shack down by the river where you can get breakfast or hot dogs and burgers for lunch. They do have ice there so you don’t need to leave the grounds.

All in all a very pleasant location. we have returned a few times now.

Beautiful, but crowded and the crowd isn’t usually child friendly.

This campground is in a great location. Only a 10 minute drive from Somerset, the “big” city, for supplies & food.

Theres a very large walking trail, and archery area. You can put a boat right in at their little dock as well. The lake view is gorgeous. There’s many places for kids to play, a basketball court, volleyball court, disk golf, and a small beach area.

The cost of camping there is very affordable. They also have little cabins you can rent.

Despite the no alcohol rule, there’s still a lot of partying at night. No one really enforces that. It can get loud and I have heard from friends incidences of theft and cars getting scratched up at night.

The campsites are close together, so perhaps we just got unlucky with our “neighbors”. We do visit a lot during the day just to swim at the lake and give the kids playtime.

Beautiful rolling hills and whitewater.

Something for everyone at this national park. Whitewater rafting, canoeing, and kayaking await in the big South Fork of the Cumberland River. There are miles of hiking and horse trails through the picturesque countryside. Take a steam train ride around the ridge tops, or wet your line in the streams. There is plenty to do here.

The bathhouse is clean and there are hookupsfor RVs and backcountry camping too.

One of the best!! Want to pull up you're boat, bring your pets, own beach

Swim next to show, bring your pets, tie up you're boat, be around friendly people or private, primitive to big pull thru, clean, great staff, prettiest lake in KY, best camp sites with poles, shady, level, tables, bear boxes, Crystal cleat water, H Ann's down I can't say enough!! The best!!

Wonderful, peaceful

No electric..but that could have changed, haven't been in a while. Great for kayaking, fishing, wading, hiking, sightseeing(areas close by to check out), also there are some swimming holes..just have to find them. can camp right by the creek and across the road is a few more spots. Get there early, because it is primitive, just to get a spot. Also, close by is a horse camp…actually a left turn prior to great meadows. Have fun.there is water and an enclosed bathroom. No showers

Fun for the whole family

We have now stayed in both the east and west campgrounds, we preferred the east but both are lovely. If staying in west I would recommend staying in a middle camp site as the outer is difficult to pitch a tent with the slopes. The east has power lines running through it but has great hiking and the wildlife is more apparent. We saw dozens of deer, beautiful birds and even had a visit from an opposum during the night (forgot to bring the trash in, oops!)

Scenic Cabins, Beautiful Hikes

We stayed in the cabins and they are well-maintained and stocked. Pretty rustic, but the fireplaces are worth it and make it extra cozy. They are also pet-friendly! Our dog loves the outdoors, so it’s always a bonus when we can take her with us. We have been back multiple times. Great hiking, we recommend the trail that leads to where 3 states meet. It’s a fairly easy hike and ends with a great view. We have been multiple times, and each season has it's different appeal of beauty!

Nice but cramped

The campground itself was pretty well maintained, the facilities (bathrooms and showers) were clean and well stocked, but the campsites are ON TOP OF EACH OTHER. We could hear the lady in the camper next to us telling her granddaughter a bedtime story… there was an inch clearance between our truck and the tree on the site. The campground seemed to have some nice activities and was conveniently located a short and scenic drive to the falls. Would be nice if they hadn’t tried to crowd 50 campers into such a small space.