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Catawba, NORTH CAROLINA

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Most Recent Catawba Camping Reviews
magical in every way

beautiful campground, amazing hikes & waterfalls and the best stargazing you could ask for.

the bathrooms were clean, fellow campers were respectful and nice.

10/10 would camp here again and again.

First Time Campers

We chose crowders mountain as first time campers since we had heard it was a nice campground, and we were looking for a “hold your hand” type experience the first round. This campground lived up to expectations. The hike in was only about a mile. Not terrible, but if you’re out of shape and carrying a pack it may be slightly daunting, but still do able (I made it, so can you! 😃)

They have firewood available for purchase, but they also let you collect/scavenge the surround area for your own and we did well just doing that.

All in all a great first trip. Would definitely return! 🏕🏔👍🏻

So Much Fun!

We had a blast; even with younger kids. RV sites and cabins, friendly staff, free shuttle to the amusement park, great community center, and more. Whether you are hanging in the RV park or at the amusement park, you'll be satisfied. Nice RV sites and well maintained!

Great location

Great campground! It is about a 15 minute drive to 3 great wineries and walkable to the trail head for the Stone Mountain loop. Great amenities, and everything was very clean.

Close to the city but a world away from the bustle

We stayed at Mcdowell Park Campground over a long weekend and really enjoyed it. The park is located southwest of Charlotte off of hwy 49 near Lake Wylie, SC. The hwy is busy and neighboring Lake Wylie is also busy. however, once you pull off the road and back into the nature preserve, all of the noise (except for airplanes) falls away. 

Our camp spot was level and plenty big enough to accommodate our 12x17 tent. We had our own power and shared water with the next campers. We were close to the bathhouse which was really clean. We loved the laid back atmosphere. We even had a couple of families in a group camping next to us and across from us. And while their kids were "active" it didn't affect our easy weekend. 

We were able to buy ice and firewood at the camp office. The staff were very nice and accommodating. 

Others mention that there is not much to do. In the campground, there is a playground and not much more. However, the overall Mcdowell nature preserve has plenty to do with Lake Wylie, playgrounds, nature trails, fishing, and more. You can be as busy or as chill as you choose.

We are headed back in March 2020 to kick off our camping season.

Great Secluded RV Dry Camping

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.

Beautiful lake

Gorgeous campgrounds w lakeside Mountain View. Spacious campsites and moderate hiking trails around the lake.

Nice campsite

This seems to be a real nice campground. We stayed when the amusement park was closed so it was very quite and hardly anyone there. It had just rained a bunch so it was a bit muddy but it looked like all the spots are blacktop to park on so it was alright. Nice friendly staff too.

Primitive Camping at the South End of Doughton

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.

Amazing Views Within Feet of the Campsites

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.