The best DISPERSED camping near
Lake Norman of Catawba , NORTH CAROLINA

93 Reviews13 Campgrounds
Black-Friday-Sale-Graphic

Gift Yourself a Better Year

As 2020 closes, we’re dreaming of the open road ahead. Plan your 2021 camping season for free, on us. Now you have even more great adventures to look forward to.

Learn More

This map requires WebGL

Please update your web browser or enable WebGL to view the map.

Troubleshooting Info
EXPLORE

Cyber Monday Gift Extended Try Pro Free for 6 Months

Get Yourself a Better Year
  • Sale Icon

    Plan 5-star camping road trips with PRO Trip Planner.

  • Sale Icon

    Find free camping on public lands with PRO Map Layers.

  • Sale Icon

    Roam freely with PRO Offline Access and PRO Map Downloads.

  • Sale Icon

    Save on camping reservations and camping gear with PRO Discounts.

Get Your Gift
Most Recent Lake Norman of Catawba Camping Reviews
Small and quiet

Family Campground

One nice thing is the size and separation of the sites. One bad thing is the road is busy.

This campground is one way and exits into a trailhead parking area. There was one site that was in the parking area, would not be my first choice. Shaded sites with picnic tables and fire rings. Nice shower house , well maintained.

Easy access to several trails and not far from the falls. The river runs the back of the campground.

Loud drunk neighbors!

If you happen to have loud drunk neighbors, who party until 3:30 am, the hosts will not tell them to be quiet. Someone did call the sheriff, but no one came until 10 am the next morning. They woke the drunks up to tell them to be quiet, but they were allowed to stay in the park. I give it 2 stars because this is a beautiful park.

Beautiful and Versatile

Love this campground! Well maintained and clean bath houses. Choose a site hidden in the trees with lots of shade and privacy or in the sun with a view of the reservoir. Hiking trails and water activities. Warning: prone to flooding and cancellations.

Forest Dispersed Camping With Toilets and Phone Reception Nearby

Stayed here for 5 days in November 2020.

The road is gravel and dirt. No major potholes and easily navigable. Two cars/trucks and most likely two small to mid-sized RVs can squeeze by at the same time. If you take the road all the way to the end, about 2 to 2.5 miles, there is a huge asphalt parking lot(see pics). One caveat: there is a relatively narrow turn near the top of the lot, past the camping sites, that would be difficult for larger RVs. Then again many trucks hauling dirt bikes on trailers made it up to the parking lot. If they can, I imagine many lengthy vehicles probably could get through also.

This parking lot is mainly used by Off Highway Vehicles(OHV). That is, dirt bikes and four wheelers. The OHV trail starts at the parking lot, which is why on weekends it gets extremely busy. I'd say I saw upwards of 25 trucks and vans in November. Most leave before sundown. Some may occasionally camp. The OHV lot is far enough from the sites, about 0.5 miles, that you won't hear the bikers coming and going from the OHV trail. You will hear them when they pass your site on their way in and out. By the way, I believe you cannot camp at the parking lot though I did not try.

There are a handful of sites, all of which are of different sizes and shapes. All can accommodate tents with ease. Tables and fire rings are available in most though I didn't check them all. Some sites will fit trailers and trucks, especially if you squeeze them in. See pics of how a few campers did exactly that. Small RVs will fit in most sites, possibly by backing them in. The road is wide enough where backing in is possible, especially with assistance. I saw a large fifth wheel in one of the sites and a truck and trailer in another of the smaller sites(see pics).

There are two toilets about 100 feet apart. They are clean and toilet paper is supplied(see pics).

Phone reception and internet access are unavailable at the sites, or at least the one I was at. It's possible that with a booster you may get service. You will get service to make phone calls at the OHV trail parking lot. Internet is spotty.

Being a forest, trees abound. Depending on the site you are at, you may or may not get sunshine. The trees provide plenty of shade. This can be good and bad. My solar panels had to be moved every 15 to 20 minutes if I wanted them to provide full charge. A bit of a hassle but doable. I was able to charge my power station sufficiently.

As for groceries, there is a store diagonally across from the entrance of the forest. Unfortunately, it was only open during the weekend when I happened to be there. The Collettsville General Store is about 6 miles from the dispersed camping sites and a far better bet. If you're exiting the forest, turn left and keep going until you hit a T point. Turn right and it's immediately to your right. They are a fully stocked convenience store where you can also get pizza and sandwiches. The general store also serves as a gas station. And they're open 7 am to 9 pm to boot!

About 0.25 to 0.5 miles from the Collettsville General Store is the Hard and Flossie Clark Family Park, a public park, where phone reception is available. There are covered picnic tables so you can sit and surf(see pics). If you scout around you'll find a power outlet that is turned on. Enough to get routine tasks done while charging your laptop.

Collettsville also has a post office, which opens during the afternoon every day. I think from 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm. Or it may be 12:30 to 4:30.

Hidden Gem

Nice spot within the Nature preserve. Sites are close but not on top of each other. Paved but not necessarily level. The cleanest and most well designed bathrooms I’ve ever seen in a campground. Lots of great hiking trails throughout the preserve. Level boxed in pads for tenters in a separate area from RVs as well as sites that can be packed out to. On a visit during COVID it was open but limited. Set on the beautiful Lake Wylie, surrounded by marinas and large beautiful lakeside homes. Well designed for fishing, boating, gatherings and picnics. It feels so remote but is literally minutes from the full metropolis of Charlotte, NC. A must see for at least a day hike if you are in the area or camping if you have the chance.

Excellent location

The location next to the reservoir is awesome. Rode the bike trails and loved it. Did some kayaking too. The actual campsites can be a bit tricky to park but overall great time

Happy camper

It was our first time camping as a family and now we wish we could camp every weekend!

Good views

Stayed here for a night. Had a spacious site near the entrance of campground. They provide wood, $6 a bundle. Bathrooms were eh. Dump station on site. Potable water. Good campground. Nice trails on campground also! Would be lots of fun in the summer!

Wonderful Park, Strenuous Hiking

Camped 9/25-9/27 in the family campground. Stayed at site 13. Super clean bathhouse which was very nice. Shower stall with doors instead of just curtains. There is a sink for dish washing in the back of the bathhouse. Dumpster is at the end of the large parking lot. The river is wonderful to listen to as you fall asleep. There is 0% service in the campground. No carriers had service so be aware.

Hiked to the top of Chestnut Knob and that was a very strenuous and beautiful hike. You will have service at the very top of the hill to call/text family and friends. You can start your hike right from the campground which is another bonus so you won’t need to drive to a trailhead.

Note: Bring firewood with you! Once the visitor center is closed there is none available and the campground has been picked clean of all available logs and sticks.

Overall I would definitely come back to camp and hike again. Beautiful state park!

Great hiking and awesome views.

Lots of trails to choose from. Beautiful views. Lots of history. Visit here often.