Jigger Johnson is a first-come, first serve campground on the Conway (eastern) end of the Kancamagus highway, not far from Passaconaway Campground to the west and Bear Notch Rd to the east. Moose like to frequent the wallows between these campgrounds, so drive cautiously around dusk and dawn.
Sites are large and level, some offering access to the Swift River. They've cut/thinned a lot of the trees around sites on the interior of the loop as you'll see in some of the photos I've shared, so there's more sunlight making its way through. This campground is one of the few WMNF campgrounds offering showers (bring quarters for the $2.50/7 minute shower).
This is a great location if you want to hike Mt Chocura or some of the more family-friendly trails up Hedgehog or Potash, Sabbaday or Champney Falls, or Rocky Gorge. I tend to explore on foot, but a ranger at the Saco Ranger district did recommend some mountain biking off Bear Notch Rd and in Conway. If you need to pick up a map or other information about the area, stop by the ranger station at the beginning of the Kanc (there's one on either end). Bear Notch Rd. also offers some nice views. If you want to go tubing, head over to Conway (avoid this late in the season when water levels are low) where multiple outfitters offer tubing on the Saco. All the shopping you need is in Conway & North Conway, but the summer weekend traffic can be offputting.
No cell service or wifi. Bring cash or check to pay your camping fee ($24 in 2018; $5 for a second car).
Nestled among the tall pines halfway between Lincoln and Conway New Hampsshire on the Kancamangus Highway is Jigger Johnson Campground. The campground has 73 campsites well spaced throughout this mostly wooded campground. The road through the campground is paved and mostly flat, making it ideal for kids to ride their bikes.
We loved waking up to the sun rays filtering through the trees. One can hear noise from the road nearby, so it isn't perfectly silent, but the campground itself is tranquil. It looks like they had logging done recently, so while most sites are shaded, sun still gets through at certain times of day. It is a perfect spot to relax if frills are not your thing--this is a U.S. Forest Service managed campground, so it lacks certain programs and amenities that state parks and private campgrounds often offer. There is also zero cell service or wi-fi, making it a perfect retreat from the digital world,
It is first-come, first-served, so if you want a site with a path to the water it is best to arrive earlier in the day, around 1 pm when new campers are welcomed. We arrived around 5 pm on Friday in September, and while there were not any water access sites available, there were plenty of other options. I imagine that in the summer or peak foliage season the campground might fill up completely.
Our campsite (number 28) was LARGE and flat. We fit our 8-man and 6-man tents in, with plenty of room for parking our gear trailer, and having room to hang out. The water spigot was right next to our site, and we had a path through the woods to the closest bathroom.
Closest cell service is 6-7 miles away, at the high point on Bear Notch Road.
Location between Conway and Lincoln NH is great. The area is rich with waterfalls, hikes, beautiful sunsets, and peace. The campground is quite close to several trail heads, along with out local natural attractions such as Rocky Gorge and Sabbaday Falls. The campground has water access to the Swift River, which is deep enough for swimming in several spots. There is even a a rope swing that we all enjoyed. There are mountain bike trails 2 miles from the campground up off of Bear Notch Road as well. Right next to the Russell-Colbath Historic Site and Cemetery, which has fascinating info about the early logging days of the region.
The camp sites have lots of space between them--we rarely heard our neighbors, even when they were up and about. It was quiet at night when our kids needed to sleep.
The Swift River is BEAUTIFUL--on a warm day, you could spend the entire time exploring it and hanging out.
We got to see a moose! There was a pair of moose that were hanging around while we were there which was quite fun.
Just one shower house for all the sites. The showers required 10 quarters for a 7 minute shower--and there is not money changing place on site. Bathroom maintenance was adequate, but toilets seemed to have problems, and the bathrooms are rustic. Bears are active here (which is normal for campgrounds lately), so food needs to be stored in car. The hosts are friendly, but strive to maintain order, so they enforce the rules accordingly. This could be annoying for some, but we didn't mind. Motorcycle traffic on the Kancamangus can be loud, but it quiets down at dark.
Great campground for folks who want to enjoy nature , hiking, and local swimming holes. Rustic bathrooms, but flush toilets and running water are a plus. Sites are large, and well spaced, and flat. We will definitely be returning, as we love getting away from the digital world and finding our own mini paradise.
Stayed for an overnight trip. Site #47. Drive in, pick an open camp spot and pay for the nights by the front board. Clean area, some more open and several with in walking distance of the river. Picnic table with fire ring. Bath rooms were clean, didn’t use the showers but they do offer them. Three host locations for questions. Trails leading off in different directions.
Some sites have more privacy. The inside locations had more of the trees cut down directly around them. No noise problems at night or in the morning. Definitely recommend if you’re looking for a campground.
Nice camp ground, clean facilities, the host was hilarious! Convenient spot off the Kanc to day hike some 4Ks.