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From the road you wouldn’t guess there’s a giant park beyond the entrance. The rangers at the entrance were super friendly, but they patrol a lot, so often no one is actually at the gate house. When we first arrived we wandered over to the picnic spots along a beautiful stream. A very large blue heron was in the water at let us take many photos. Later he strutted downstream right by our picnic spot.
After lunch I walked the entire campground and chose our spot. It was October and there were maybe 8-10 spots taken in the entire park. Many spots have a good amount of space between them. Pretty much all are shady. Some were on pretty uneven ground and quite a few had big drop offs on the sides or back. Overall, clean, quiet, park surrounded by lots of trees.
This site has a 38 foot pull through parking pad with a large patio and nice fire pit. It is dry camping with a Porta potty on the propety. The best part is this site is right by the river. Great place to get away and enjoy the sights and sounds of good ol nature.
This is one of my favorite campgrounds. Family and friends try to go several times a year. Due to its popularity, make sure you make reservations n advance.
Paved roads and sites. Both 30 and 50 amp service along with water. There is a dump station as you exit the camping area.
Park is well maintained, bathhouses are clean with LOTS of hot water. Water pressure is not as good as it used to be. WIFI can be spotty to weak.
We stopped at this site on a spur of the moment trip and we absolutely love it. The owners are very friendly and showed us the best lot to pick. Prices are fair and the amenities were nice and clean. We stayed on the lot near the running stream with a waterfall and had a nice time sleeping to the sound of water. We highly recommend this site if you plan on doing any traveling to Boone or the surrounding area and don’t want to deal with swarms of other people.
There are approximately 4 primitive sites here. It is located behind the Flat Rock Ridge Trailhead. You can drive your vehicle (4wd not required) up to the sites. A river/creek is beside the campsites, so water could be filtered. There are no amenities. You will find rock campfire circles, but that's about it. The area immediately around the sites have been picked relatively clean of firewood, so that might be a bit of a journey.
Access: I've read a lot about the road leading into this campground/trailhead area. There are two different ways to access it from what I can tell. I came in from the north (despite coming from I-40). Googlemaps took me all the way up Hwy 181 to Gingercake Rd, in the Gingercake residential neighborhood. From there, it is about 7 miles to the Table Rock Picnic Area. Approximately 5 miles of that is compacted gravel/dirt road. I did this in a Honda Accord. You DO NOT need an SUV or 4wd to do this route. You do need patience however. There are some spots where rocks are sticking up and if you don't have tires designed for SUV's, you could risk a puncture. There are some potholes to dodge and some washed out areas. All of this can easily be navigated. I saw a Prius that had made it up. Again, I did this with an Accord with zero issues. The last two miles is a relatively steep paved road. The alternative route up (which you pass on the way to how I went) is about 13 miles off of Hwy 181. I think this is the way that many people go and review that it is very rough. It brings you up to the Picnic Area from the south. The two ways merge just before the paved portion.
I should note that there are campsites all the way up once you hit the dirt portion of the road. Several of those campsites would be good options getting to the northern portion of the gorge.
At the Picnic Area, there is plenty of parking, a bathroom and well, a picnic area with tables and grills. To the right is the trail to Table Rock and beyond up to Hawksbill. There are no campsites, at least not to the point where you go up to Table Rock. To the left is the picnic area and then the campsite area. I would estimate there are at least ten spots where a tent could be pitched with an accompanying fire ring (made of rocks). This is on the ridge heading up to The Chimneys. I was there in winter and there were still at least four sites taken, so in summer I imagine you would have any privacy for what that's worth.
I stayed at the site further up on the right (they aren't numbered). This was the last spot before you really hit the trail (which by the way is immediate world-class views. I don't know if it was just in my head or not, but the winds were extremely high that night and it felt like some of the sites a little way down the hill closer to the parking lot (maybe 100 yards) had less wind. Not sure if that was real or not, but you may consider that a lower spot. All of the sites are between 100-400 yards from the parking lot. So no need if you decide to bring more than you might need.
Overall, can't recommend this location enough. Bring what you need though. There are not facilities and the nearest anything is essentially an hour away in Morganton.
This campground is off the beaten path, literally. It is out in the country, and without a GPS, I would have had a difficult time finding it. I had written the directions down from the website, but at night, it takes some maneuvering to look at directions and find country road signs in the dark. The campground is close to its namesake town of Hiddenite, which is a famous gem mining area known for gemstones such as hiddenite (spodumene), emeralds, sapphires, etc. I didn’t realize when I got to the campground that it also was a place for people to come watch their Christmas lights display. All of the mobile homes and RVs were lit for a beautiful display. When I first tried to book a reservation, I had to fill out an online request. After two days, I hadn’t heard back and I was going in that direction on my way home. I decided to take a chance. I stopped at the entry to what I think was the campground/Christmas lights display entrance. After a few minutes, a gentleman came out to ask me if he could help me. I told him I had contacted the campground two days ago, and after that I followed his golf cart to where he showed me a few places I could park my teardrop for the night. It had water, electricity, and sewer, as most of the sites do, and it was close to the creek. It had rained quite a bit a few days ago, so the grassy site was soft with ruts. They do allow tent camping, which is good to know for future reference. It appeared to me that most of the other campers here were permanent residents. When I went to the bath house, I was told the ladies’ bathroom was not working, so if I hear a woman in there I would know why. Most of the campers, however, would be using the facilities in their own RVs/trailers. During the summer, the bath house wouldn’t be so bad, but it was cold and there was no heat. The concrete walls made it feel even colder. There was hot water, however, but I chose not to take a shower there since I was only three hours from home and I would be leaving the next morning. The floor needed sweeping and somebody left beard hair all over the one sink. The host was very nice, and the campground served my needs for an overnight stay. There are a swimming pool and a playground for children. The road coming into the campground is dirt as was the road within the campground. There are shady spots in the campground with pull-through and back-in sites. Although the Christmas lights were on until I went to sleep, it didn’t seem to bother me that much, and other than the synchronized Christmas music, it was quiet. It would be interesting to see how the campground is during the summer.
At milepost 339 on the Blue Ridge Parkway is another typical National Park Service campground. At this one, there was someone to greet and check us in at 4 pm, which was welcome especially as it was mere days before the campground closed for the season. We did not make reservations for a weekday so late in the season, but I would recommend you do so at peak times. There are three loops in this campground: one for RVs (but no hookups), and two for tents/vans. We drove around the tent/van loop, which was much more sparsely occupied, but not all of the pads were level. Many of the pads were meant to be shared with multiple campsites, making them more optimal for tent campers, but not out of the question for our van. We settled into Site 22 in the A (RV) loop, which was a pull-in side pad(making it easy in and out).
Restrooms are typical of what I’ve come to expect in NPS campgrounds– functional but not luxurious. Three stalls plus what looked to have once been a fourth. Two sinks but the water was sparse in one and dripped from the other. No showers but there was a soap dispenser, garbage receptacle, and lights, things not always found in NPS campground bathrooms!
The biggest draw to this campground is the 2.5-mile loop hike to Crabtree Falls. I recommend you hike in a clockwise direction, starting from the B loop and ending in the A loop. This leaves the bulk of the strenuous climbing for the end, rather than descending sharply at the beginning. The waterfall was beautiful, likely made more so due to recent rains.