The best HIKE IN camping near
Poolesville , MARYLAND

154 Reviews27 Campgrounds
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Most Recent Poolesville Camping Reviews
Peak foliage weekend

Loved this campground for the scenery during leaf peeping season. Our site was level and well separated from others, though it was small. Friends joined us and set up a tent next to our RV trailer. We hiked to the falls but with little rain, there was no falls. A very crowded hike with people everywhere. Bath house was a standard state park building. The Colorfest festival is usually the weekend we went which is why we booked this park on that weekend but with covid it was cancelled.

Secluded

They have a handful of sites that are more secluded and not right on the driveway loop. I've only camped in loop C and find it more quiet and less crowded than loop B. Probably because this loop only has toilets in the restroom. Showers are in loop B, which is a 5-7 minute walk. During holiday weekends the sites closest to the shower facilities are fully booked and have less privacy. They are usually reserved by larger groups. Plenty of beautiful walking and hiking trails in the park to enjoy. This campground is well maintained and routinely monitored by park rangers. There's a $20 National Park entrance fee that's in addition to the site reservation.

Wooded retreat

We stayed in a lovely cabin here while I was in town for work. My husband enjoyed the pool with the kids during the day and when I was there we enjoyed shuffleboard, mini golf and hiking together. The cabin was clean and well maintained and the cabins are at the top of the hill but that made for a beautiful view and we felt like we were away from everyone else. I wasn't as fond of the camper sites they seemed kind of close together but the cabins were amazing.

Hike-in to great tent sites - don't overback!

My brother and I really only got to check out the trails leading to and from the overnight camping spots - but the rest of the park looks like a lot of fun, plenty of things to do.

The campsites are about 1 mile from the overnight lot, which was a great hike-in if you don't overpack! We brought a wagon with extra gear with us, but we definitely took in too many items. Ended up pairing it down after night 1 and took extra stuff back to our cars. The hike-in get mostly uphill in the second half with plenty of tree roots and decent sized rocks - for those of you taking in a wagon.

The campsites themselves were great, with plenty of space for 2-3 tents, bear lockers, bathrooms with hand sanitizers, and friendly park rangers to clean up the trash and re-stock the firewood. Make sure you pay for the wood you take, it's on the honor system with a dropbox. We had a family of deer pay us a visit each morning - didn't come across any bears.

We didn't get to check out the Appalachian Trail - but it was only a few miles from the campsites. I'll def. come back! Worth the 7-8 hour trip from both South Carolina and New Hampshire.

Remote Camping

Other than the antiquated check-in process, we had a great experience camping at Sky Meadows. The reservation email said that check in is after 4, which is not true. You can check in after 1. But you have to drive up to the main building, register, go back to the overnight lot, put in the gate code, hang the lot tag on your mirror, and hike in to the site. Not bad unless you have another car coming later in the day, who then has to get the parking pass from the first person at the campsite and hike back out to their car to place the tag and put the registration in the drop box. Unfortunately we didn’t have cell signal, had never been there, and did not know we needed to coordinaste the parking. So first-timers beware! Seems like a lot of unnecessary steps. But otherwise, we had a great night. Quiet, no bears, easy access to firewood ($6/10 logs), and nice hiking trails steps form the site. There is no camp store at the campground, only at the main visitor center where you check in.

Cunningham Falls State Park

Stayed one night in September and had a nice level gravel site with fire pit, picnic table and bath house. Greeted by a friendly and helpful camp host as we backed into our site for our maiden voyage. Clean bath house and amenities. Stayed in site 25 with water spigot nearby. Dumpsters for garbage not a far drive and dump station as you leave the park was convenient.

Great hosts, location.

Riding through catoctin mountain park to get to the campground is almost worth it alone staying. My wife and I just stayed one night with our 2 dogs. We met the hosts as we pulled in to our site, very friendly and accommodating. Some of the sites can be backed up to one another or right aide of each other, but there's a number of sites that are more private than others to make it a great experience. Typically, I prefer dispersed or primitive camping over campgrounds, but this place gets the exception. The roads around catoctin mtn Park and Cunningham falls make for a great way to spend a weekend. Lots of trails around the campground and even a few right on premises. Overall, I hope to make it back before the close up next month, if not I'll be coming back next year.

Nice Small Campsite Close to DC

Nice small campsite in MD not too far from DC. One negative was that when it rains it really flushes through the grounds. We had a site on the lower end of the loop and our site was hard to set up as we arrived during a storm and it was very wet even after the rain died down. Another negative was after the storm for the next few days we heard trees falling nearby. Where we were hiking. 😬 The positives are as others have pointed out there is a huge park for kids- it’s not within walking distance for little kids but it’s a very short drive by the entrance to the park. There’s also another small park on the loop. The restrooms were central and well maintained. We found a small river and swimming hole at the bottom of the hill off to the side opposite the cabins/park. All sites had a picnic table and fire ring. Firewood available from camp host. Hiking poles would have been good for the trails when we had a kid in a pack on our back. Overall a nice close small campground.

Well cared for, good trails and lake

A good, comfortable place with a lot to offer. We’d go again.

We stayed two nights in Dogwood. The site was well looked after with camp hosts that seemed very attentive and thoughtful. Good rangers who showed up to help when needed. Everyone was (mostly) well behaved in the site, and we had a terrific time.

The facilities were clean. The sites on Dogwood are quite close together, but it still felt like camping. The nearby trails are great and the lake is a good place to swim or laze on a warm day.

Many Campsites have Lake Access

For me the two most difficult amenities to find at one campground is 1) secluded drive-up site 2) that is on a lake/river/etc. So because Sleep Creek has many sites with both, we will continue to go back.

We stayed in Piney in June 2019 and it was super quiet and empty, but Labor Day weekend 2020 was busy for the area.  We arrived on Saturday, which is gambling when it's first-come, first-serve, but there were still many sites available.  We stayed at Myers campground, which luckily didn't have any large groups.  There are 2-3 meadow campgrounds that the RVs/pop-ups and the group campers like, so pass those for the smaller spots nearer the water.

Things to note: 

1) Potholed dirt road coming up, a sedan can make it through but will have to take it slow.  

2) Swimming is possible off some of the sites but there are a ton of lily pads in most areas.  Better to kayak and canoe and get it, just beware of underwater stumps.  

4) There is a shooting range on the management area, you may hear them in the distance but it's not near the campground. 

5) One of the most disappointing thing about the Sleepy Creek Management Area is that there does not appear to be any hiking trails.  We instead explored by walking around the campgrounds.  Mushroom hunting was particularly fun in September.

6) Rangers or park management do not come around regularly, so don't expect there to be anyone enforcing the rules.  I say this because we had people partying until 3am the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. 

7) Bring water and firewood.  Sites do not have picnic tables and the fire pits are just pits with no grills.  Sites are marks with a post but many are missing the hooks that you hang lanterns from.