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My wife and I stayed at the shelter while doing a backpacking loop in the smokies. We started at Newfound gap and followed the AT north towards Charlie's Bunion then headed down to the shelter at the split. The views along the ridge are incredible and this is some of the best hiking in the area. I highly recommend this loop and the distance works out nicely for a single night. The shelter itself is nothing too special but has all the amenities of the shelters in the area. There is a bear cable set up so you can hang your gear and multiple fire pits along with a fireplace in the shelter itself for very cold nights. Normally you are required to stay within the shelter but due to COVID concerns, you are temporarily allowed to set up a tent in the area surrounding the shelter. This was a nice option and there were already several established sites. Overall it's not as nice a view as you get staying up on the ridge but it's a quieter area with more privacy and will probably have more space available if you need to book last minute.
First off I would say that the Bartram trail is one of my favorite through hikes in the southeast and I actually got engaged on one of the sections. However, this particular site, listed as a campground on the official Bartram trail NC map, is not worth staying at. I looked around and checked the map several times but it is really just a clearing. There is no firepit, no water, and no good flat area for a tent. In a pinch, you could set up a hammock here and camp for the night but my suggestion would be to plan on staying at one of the nearby backcountry sites with a better setup. I have posted reviews of those as well so check them out. If you are still interested I would suggest watching my video first.
We stayed in one of the tent-only, walk-in sites. This was our first (and so far, only) walk-in tent camping experience as a family. I gotta say - there were challenges. They weren't unexpected, but still… It should go without saying but nothing here is flat. And after heavy rains some of the trails are not in the best of shape, quite rutted and muddy. So lugging a ton of gear up into the woods was a challenge. It was only 50ish yards, but it was not an easy 50ish yards. So setup and tear down was not the most fun part of the trip. Next time we'll pack lighter for this sort of camping.
However, with that out of the way, we had zero other complaints about our time here. Once we got to our site, it was awesome. The pad was in great shape, flat, clean and plenty large enough for our 9-person tent and all our gear. Other campsites could barely be seen through the woods so it felt very private and secluded. The bathhouse was good, clean and in good shape. And the setting was amazing.
While here we also hiked a few trails. The Tennessee Rock trail seems to be the most popular, but let me warn you -- it was NOT as easy as we expected. My youngest kid and my wife turned around and went back. I and my older kids, along with the dog, completed the hike, but it was challenging. Its narrow and very slippery in spots, with more elevation changes than you expect. I mean its not the sort of hike you need to prepare for and pack for the day, but at least have proper footwear and some water with you. And to be honest, if you're going for the mountain views, skip it. The best views in the whole park, by far, are accessible from the roadside, especially at the visitor's center.
Overall though, we thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful park and will definitely camp here again!
Paris mountain is a beautiful setting. Lots of bikers use the park. The campground is nice except lots of the spots are not level. The sites are nice otherwise. Bathhouse is nice and clean. Several easy hiking trails around which we did with our older dogs. They did fine and loved it. No sewer hookup but a dump station available. The area is so beautiful that I would definitely use this park Again.
We camped here back in August and had a blast! We brought our two dogs and they also had a great time. This site is very dog friendly (obviously), with many sites having their own fenced in yards. We opted for a site without a fence, which we regretted once we got there. The gravel at our site was painful for our dog’s feet and they had a hard time walking on it. The dog parks made up for this! There are multiple large dog parks located at the campground. The restrooms were awesome, but are single person use only. We felt like we were the only ones using them (that’s how well maintained they were). Campsites are close together but we didn’t mind. The staff was great, they helped us find our site and even helped us back our camper in. There was power and water hookup at each site. There is tons of stuff to do around the area too. Chimney Rock and Lake Lure are right around the corner and SO FUN.
My husband and I, along with our 2 dogs, stayed at Rutledge Lake RV Resort for 1 night in our Mercedes Sprinter campervan. We prefer to make our reservations online, and found it a bit odd that they actually use a third party booking site that only submits a request to book so we didn't have a confirmed booking until mid-morning the day of our arrival. They also don't offer guaranteed site numbers so you don't know your site until you arrive. In addition, we found out after we arrived that due to the temps we were not supposed to use the water connections. We found it to be to be an extremely expensive reservation, especially given the inability to use the hookups we had purchased. For reference, we paid$68 for one night and had just completed a 4 night stay at another park for$74 total. While the lake was pretty, the sites are very narrow and there is zero privacy. There's also a fair bit of road noise as well. There don't seem to be a ton of great options in the Asheville area and since we needed WiFi in the morning for my husband's work meeting, we opted to stay here, but we wouldn't choose to stay here again in the future. For campers that like lots of amenities, perhaps this is a great fit, but it just wasn't worth it for us. I think it's also worth mentioning that in trying to use the key card the automatic gate dropped on the front of our vehicle, and then in order to park close enough to the hookups my husband hit a post when opening the driver's door.
Park is ok for overnight stay, if traveling, the best thing about the park was the riverside sites. Interstate traffic was loud, WiFi wasn’t strong enough to connect to, no amenities other than the bath houses (we didn’t use) & walking trail that apparently ran along most of the length of the road,sites were muddy (due to all the rain) when you come off the interstate you have to make a extremely hard right to get into park, not possible with a big rig…had to go up to the office/shop and turn around.