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Big South Fork is the perfect place for the outdoor enthusiast. Literally anything you want to do, you can find it here- horseback riding, ATV riding, hiking, biking, rock climbing, kayaking, backpacking, camping, fishing, hunting, swimming… I could go on, but you get the point. I have spent a lot of time here, and it’s at the top of my list for places in the Southeast. The Big South Fork river is some of the best smallmouth fishing around. I love the backcountry camping in BSF, it’s so peaceful, and beautiful. There are several campsites that people have made stone firepits and log/rock seating, it has the feel of the AT without as many people. The Burnt Mill area is awesome, but the hike can be challenging, but it is so worth it. You can find a great backcountry site off of nearly every trail in there. I love to stop by a local staple for a good cheeseburger basket and a milkshake at Flonnies Drive In on the corner of hwy 63 and hwy 27, if you get the chance, treat yourself!
You will drive and drive and drive…and drive on the gravel road. However the road is good and the signage will get you there! Follow the little tent signs to Little Lick Horse Camp in the woods of Daniel Boone NF. The Nathan McClure trailhead is in the campground so there will be other traffic coming in. There are a few good size sites, with picnic table, fire ring and not much else. This is primitive, to include no toilet so bring your bucket or whatever you use…..remember Leave No Trace ;) Dark and starry skies, quiet and woodsy….try not to think about any scary wood based movies. Horses, llamas, trail bikes and dogs would be perfect for this campground. The sites are big enough for more then one tent or hammock. There are several other nice/challenging trails nearby and the Rattlesnake Motorcycle route in the area.
Off Ky Rt 80 in Daniel Boone National Forest, keep following the tent signs , they will get you to Little Lick Campground. This is a primitive little campground out in the middle of nowhere, however there are several awesome trailheads in the area, Nathan McClure TH right in the campground.
Bring your horse, bring your trail bike, bring your dogs. You might want to bring a generator too. Not a lot of sites but they are big and you can easily have several tents or hammocks ( if there’s trees) in each spot.
Quiet and dark and STARS.
We stayed in tent site 19. I think it is definitely the best site in the campground. Sites 19 and 20 are a couple of the only sites with any privacy. Site 19 is a walk in (down) but the site itself is huge and the tent platform is built out on a rock outcrop. Overall the campground is nice but the other sites are very close together. The rangers/camp hosts came by while we were gone to warn us about bear activity in the campground, you do need to be careful with food. We went to see the moonbow so it was fairly busy while we were there. We also took a hike to Eagles Falls where it seems to be clothing optional swimming…lol It didn’t bother us but just an FYI. We had a very relaxing 3 days at Cumberland Falls, would definitely recommend it.
Big South Fork NRRA is definitely one of my favorite places in Tennessee. It stretches into Kentucky’s too. So much to do and see, and the hiking and camping is equal to the Smokies in my opinion, except there’s no crowds, no traffic, not many people! It’s great! There’s a few campgrounds in BSF, like Bandy Creek and Station Camp,and they are excellent spots, but the backcountry is where it’s at n the BSF! I have found so many excellent camp sites along the river and in the forest, and I’ve always been able to find one with plenty of privacy on any given weekend. There’s lots of hiking, 4-wheeling, fishing, swimming, mountain biking, horse riding, kayaking, rock climbing, etc here. The possibilities are endless! The sounds at night are so peaceful and relaxing, and the lightning bugs put on quite a show in the summer! I tried to make a video, I don’t think you can see them, but you can hear the woods at night!
This small campground is good only for small campers(20ft or smaller). The spots are uneven and many backup to a large hill. Some spots have decks. Be sure to bring an extension cord if you want to use power. The hookups are too far away. It was quiet and wooded. The best part is the proximity to Cumberland falls. ( .8 miles)
The campgrounds were clean and well maintained, the vault toilets were clean and stocked. Water spigots were available at the campground, but no dump station or trash cans. So be prepared to pack your shit out. The sites are spread out well and not overcrowded. There are two separate areas, the first loop on the right side of the road is called deer loop. Down the road, is Racoon loop which is on the left side of the road. I would rate these as primitive sites.
I went to see the Moonbow at Cumberland Falls SP, unfortunately it was overcast but still very cool. The campground was on a little bit of a hill. The sites were good size. I set up my trailer tent and had lots of room. The facilities were well maintained and the campground was shaded and quiet. There were trails to hike and smaller falls to enjoy. The main falls are near the trailhead for several trails. There is a visitors center and education center by the falls and a picnic area across the road.