Conveniently located off of route 302, this small campground offers roadside camping along the wild Ammonoosuc River.
This is a roadside campground with several large, grassy sites that wasn’t my first choice, but it was late at night and my other option hadn’t panned out. It is located right beside US302 and you’ll hear vehicles and see their lights driving by all night. Zealand Rd, which takes you to the 2 Sugarloaf campgrounds as well as the Zealand Trailhead, cross the Ammonoosuc River here and there is a picnic area on the other side of Zealand.
When I pulled up at night, there were fireflies lighting up the grass and woods. There are water faucets and vault toilets. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. Some of the sites are more secluded, particularly 4-10. They’re all first-come, first-served, so you can choose your site upon arrival. Be prepared to carry your tent and other gear a short distance from your car for several of the sites. I was surprised to see how the sites with wooded parking areas opened up to the grassy expanse near the river. Access to the river isn’t great. It’s not a place where you’ll be swimming.
Stay here because you couldn’t get a site at one of the Sugarloafs and you want to hike in on the Zealand Trail or you want to head south into Crawford Notch explore there. The Cog Railway station isn’t far away. If you need any last minute items, stop by Foster’s Crossroads in Twin Mountain. For a quick hike with nice views, drive up Zealand Rd to the Sugarloaf trailhead. It will take you to a saddle between two peaks on the 52-with-a-view list.
God spot to set up the night before a hike
This campground is right on one of the main roadways leading into the heart of the White Mountain National Forest (which is why I only gave if 4 stars as it can be quite noisy in the summer). The campground has pit toilets that may or may not have TP so be sure to bring your own. There are a few picnic tables floating around and fire rings.
One of the best things about this particular spot is that it is a highway leading into the Whites. You can hike a short 2+ miles into the Zealand Falls Hut (managed by the Appalachian Mountain Club) if you would like to see and/or stay in one of those facilities. Zealand Falls is near the hut and a nice spot, but even more stunning a bit further into the forest is Thoreau Falls.
There is also climbing near hear so no matter what you're looking for this campground may very well be the perfect spot for your adventure. The terrain into the woods here is quite flat and takes you through a really scenic and active beaver bog.
There are other near by summits like Sugarloaf that you can also access from the campground.
This campground is awesome and so close to many white mountain hikes, views, etc. check out the flume and Mt. Jackson as pictured. Gets pretty cold here at night!