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National Forests in North Carolina, NORTH CAROLINA
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Good sight!

Decent site to pitch a tent for the night! Bring lots of water.

Nice campground

Nice and peaceful as this campground is very private. In a beautiful spot on the she of the smoky mountains. Bring extra water and bug spray!

Peaceful but bland
  • We stayed at site #26 in tents. It was small but all the trees were great since we had to put up tarps for the rain. We were able to set up 2 -4 person tents and 1 large 10 person tent as well as a screened canopy over the picnic table. Plus you can hear the river from our site so that was pretty pleasant =)
  • I walked the campground and my personal favorite site was #7. The fire pit and picnic bench are in the front and the tent area is further back near the river. Very large space.
  • The drive up goes from road, to dirt, to road. Yes it is very narrow (especially since I drive a Suburban), but just drive slow and be careful on turns and you'll be fine. Any turn I couldn't see around, I honked as a heads up to oncoming traffic (which is a total of like 6 cars). 
  • Make sure to get firewood/supplies prior to driving up the mountain. It's about a 30 minute drive up and there is no firewood/ice/or any supplies anywhere on the mountain.
  • The woman's bathroom had 2 stalls. One large and one small. No soap dispenser, but someone left a hand soap pump which was pretty nice of them. Electric hand dryer. No showers. Sink for your dishes is attached to the restrooms. It got pretty dirty and muddy, but in the morning it was cleaned up.
  • We didn't see any wildlife besides 1 squirrel. But there is some massive spiders (look like red daddy long legs) and had a few bees. Lightning bugs were hardly there, but the mosquitoes were hardly there too.
  • We walked the closest trail, very muddy. The creek/river was super pretty but it was super cold. Not much scenery on the trail besides the fun wood bridge at the beginning. We ended up driving an hour to the big creek section of the Smokies. We went on the Big Creek Trail which led to Midnight Hole (which is a beautiful swimming hole). Its at another campground that also has white water rafting.
  • There is an old church next to the campground that is open and very lovely. 
  • There's also a look over stop. Its 100% worth stopping at.
  • Overall, we enjoyed that everyone at the campground pretty much went to bed around 11pm. The campground seems like its taken care of. Personally I'd rather stay at a campground with a little more adventure (and maybe showers). The campground is very small so it'll only take up to 5 minutes to walk the whole place.
Good location. Sites close together.

Bear Creek is a super cute campground in a great location. It is close to all the things Asheville has to offer. Only drawback is that the sites are very close together.

Tenting in the Smoky’s

Cosby was a great campground. Sites did not seem too close with all the trees around. B loop is better than A loop but requires a reservation for most sites. Most sites have steps up or down to the site along the backside of B loop.

Ranger Review: Red Ledge Free Rein Jacket at Glen Falls Backcountry

Campground Review:

There are two ways to access this campsite and one definitely requires significantly more sweat (that’s the route we took). The backcountry site is located near the far trailhead at Glen Falls located at the end of a forestry road. We hiked in from the trailhead that most people use to access the falls and continued down the trail past the typical turnaround point until you reach the bottom of the valley. The site is on the nicer side for a backcountry campground as it is level and has multiple areas for tents along with a large fire pit surrounded by logs for sitting on. The main advantage of this site over others in the area is that it is located on the inside of a curve in the river so the creek surrounds almost the entire site giving easy access to water and a relaxing sound to help you sleep at night. The hike down from the upper trailhead is relatively steep and involves going down many (many) stairs but is well worth it for the views of Glen Falls. This is a well-traveled and also well cared for route and we saw many other hikers while we were there. However, most people do not make it all the way down to this site so you will most likely find a significant amount of privacy if you plan on camping here. Since it is National Forest you will have no issues with camping just make sure to follow leave no trace practice and keep your fire under control. I would also highly recommend a dip in the cool waters to help with the heat during the middle of the summer. Overall, this is a beautiful secluded campsite very close to Highlands that provides both tranquility and also some strenuous hiking.

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**Product Review:** 

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get to test products while out adventuring. At this campground, I stayed dry using the Red Ledge Free Rein Jacket. After multiple rainy hikes and wet campground days some of my favorite features are:

  1. Dryness (obviously): Although it is the main purpose of a raincoat I still want to mention that this design is highly effective at keeping you dry. Not only is the material incredibly water-resistant and all seams are well sealed but it also has a dual closure system in the front to keep every last drop of water away from your body. I also know that this effectiveness will last since my wife has been using a Red Ledge raincoat for many years and only recently did it need a fresh waterproofing treatment. The small touches like a multi-cinching hood and velcro wrist straps make this an incredibly effective raincoat.
  2. Breathability: Where I am hiking in the south breathability is just as important as waterproofing since the heat will often cause you to become wetter from sweat than anything the rain can do. I found that this raincoat although still being hot was significantly more breathable than others I have used with the same rain protection. It has huge armpit zipper openings and several large mesh pockets that can be opened to increase airflow. The only negative I found was that the sizes for men run slightly smaller than usual so the tightness decreased airflow. However, this can be easily solved by getting a size larger than your usual. 
  3. Color Options: One of the things that often frustrates me about men's hiking clothing and gear is that the colors are typically boring and flat. They stick to dull greens and blues or grays and blacks. But not these raincoats! They come in bright reds and greens and many other color options to fit your individual personality. This was a big plus for me and is important if you want to be seen while hiking in areas that allow hunting or don't want to get lost from your hiking partner in a torrential downpour. 

Overall, for the very reasonable price of these raincoats, they are incredibly effective and comfortable and I would highly recommend seriously considering them for your next raincoat purchase.

This place is beautiful

Beautiful sites with or without shelter. All sites included power and water. The creek runs through the middle of the campground and has plenty of places to play in the water or sit on the benches provided in the water. The staff is so sweet and very accommodating. The bathhouse is very nice and clean and includes washers and dryers

Some of the best camping in the state!

The facilities here are some of the best. The bathhouse was immaculate and the campsite large enough for two tents to share comfortably. Would definitely recommend.

Really nice campground

Really nice campground, lots of trails. But way to many geese there. They have put putting, a small game area. Plenty to do.

Creekside MTN

The campground was nice.The pool and bathrooms were ok.The creek was beautiful

Bikes, Hikes, & Brews

This campground never disappoints! There is great hiking and mountain biking near by, as well as The Oscar Blues Brewery which is always a fun time.

Beautiful camping on the river

Nice new facility with pool, showers, full hookups and beautiful views.

Meteor shower

Camped up on Max Patch with friends. It’s a must see/experience for a sunset/sunrise!!!

Great experience

Stayed 20 feet from the water on a holiday weekend! Staff was great!

Cool spot next to the river

Great place for the family close to some epic hiking!

Very busy spot

The staff wasn’t very friendly or flexible about securing a walk up reservation when I had appointment for kayaking at the time checkin started. Place was very clean and sites were well maintained!!

Simply beautiful

Lake James is one of North Carolina’s most desolate locations. Hike in, hide your food, and wait for the bear. Right on the water way, the picturesque scenery of the lake is beyond compare.

Best Camprground in SC

My family had been coming here for years and we love it. Brad and Cece and their son Evan have done great things with this campground. Lots of fantastic amenities, cleanest bathhouse I’ve ever seen and a great pool make this a great place to stay. Add on all the activities they plan for big holiday weekends and this place is a no brainer. Go to Pineridge!

Great Place To Get Away

A large but secluded campground in the foot of the Appalachian mountains. The people at the park were very friendly and the park well kept. The lake was nice and provided a beautiful background for cool evenings watching the fireflies. Although we did not take advantage of some of the amenities, my wife went swimming and I went hiking a few times. I can’t vouch for the swimming area, but the hiking trails were well marked and maintained.

The facilities all worked as they should, and the park trash pickup came by at least a couple of times a day.

Do be aware that you will be out of touch when you stay here. There is almost no cell coverage, and wifi (weak wi-if) is only available at the office.

This campground is a welcome getaway. We will be back!

Great sites great location

Fantastic sites near great trails and water holes.

Popular WNC Campgroubd

I stayed here two nights with my hammock. I didn’t have a reservation but was still able to get a place by being their an hour before checkout.

It’s a very crowded campground and has an incredible staff. I found they were very dedicated and the campsites in great order.

My only complaint is that the bathrooms Where a little gross and in disrepair. I would stay there again.

It’s a place to pitch a tent

It’s a small RV resort that allows some tent camping. They have a common area, some playground equipment and a small bathhouse. Served me well looking for a quick over night. All sites have water and electric.

Best place for the worst trip

Beautiful views on top of the mountain! The restaurant was great! Nice camping pad! Took our 1 yo camping on top of the mountain in late September. The wind tossed out tent back and forth. It want going anywhere but it kept her awake. Drove up and down the mountain in super fog. I could see about 5’ in front of the car. Finally gave up and packed it in at 3:30 am. Had to call the ranger to let us out at 4:15. Such a nightmare. Our fault. Not the park. 🤷‍♂️

Campsites in the Grand Canyon of the East

To get to the dispersed camping area at Table Rock, you have to drive a long, winding road. It is a designated wilderness area, and most of the roads are not well-maintained. Access is not easy, and it is rough on your vehicle. If you know anything about Linville Gorge Wilderness, you know that the views are unparalleled. When you get to the camping area, it doesn’t seem like much, and you have to take everything in because you cannot park at the campsites. We were lucky enough to get one within a hundred yards from where we parked. This is a wilderness area, and there are no amenities. You have to pack in everything. The only things at the campsites are fire rings. However, we had a tremendous view overlooking the town of Marion and Lake James from our site. We looked at other campsites, but the one we chose couldn’t have been more perfect. Other than cooking and sleeping, you will not want to spend a whole lot of time at the campsite because of the trails and the views, unless you just want to relax in a chair and enjoy the view. The night we spent at the campsite, we were caught unprepared in more ways than one. We had spent most of the day hiking and taking photos and were caught in a thunderstorm. We also didn’t take time to look for firewood, and most of it was wet anyway. Our fire was small and didn’t last very long, but that didn’t matter since we had had a fantastic day of photography. We ended up eating a cold supper. If you go, make sure you gather wood during daylight hours or take your own firewood, although taking your own firewood means taking kiln-dried wood wrapped in plastic. If you go hiking along Jonas Ridge(I think that’s the name of it), you can get great views of Linville Gorge and Table Rock. The trail is not easy, and the rocky cliffs can be dangerous. However, the hike is well worth it because of the natural beauty.

Campsites on the Way to Sam Knob

This camping area is part of the Shining Rock Wilderness and is a beautiful place to spend the night. There are several dispersed camping sites from which to choose. The parking area for these campsites is the trailhead for a trail to Sam’s Knob, and there are several other trails close by. It is also within a few miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and there is a roadside waterfall about half a mile up the road along Hwy 276. Another great thing about these campsites is that they are along the East Fork Pigeon River. The campsite I chose was about a tenth of a mile from the trailhead and within earshot of the river, so sleeping at night is great because of the constant sounds of water. However, there are muddy places along the way, and the trail down to the actual campsite is steep, narrow, and mostly overgrown with weeds. Unfortunately, I hadn’t planned on“backpacking,” so I had to made several trips to my campsite—one trip for the tent, one trip for the sleeping bag and sleeping pad, one trip for food, etc. The disadvantage of the campsite I chose is that it is also a popular place for people to play in the river. While I was there, there was a family who was tubing and playing in the water within a few steps of my tent. Other than that, the site was great since it is miles from the nearest town, and at night, you can be in peace. You don’t have to worry about locals invading your space at night since there are no lights(other than my own), and it is down a trail. The worst part about this site, and another site I saw, is that a level spot is hard to find. You have to be careful not to set up your tent on rocks. If you have a small tent, that should not be a problem. It is in the mountains, and the sites are sloped. Another thing I didn’t like was that there were blackflies. They weren’t too bad but just bad enough to be annoying. If you want to go exploring by car, you can drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and see Looking Glass Rock, or you can continue on Hwy 276 and visit Moore’s Cove Falls, Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, or the Cradle of Forestry in America. Down the road, there is also Moore’s Cove Falls, which is a waterfall you can walk behind. However, it requires a nine-tenths of a mile hike one way. Overall, it’s a great place to get away from civilization, yet you are close to great wonders of nature.

Large National Park Campground Close to Historic Structures

Despite having rained for a week, staying at this campground wasn’t half bad. Building a fire was next to impossible. I think there might have been thirty minutes without rain, so pictures are limited. Being in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you need to be prepared for rain since it is a temperate rain forest. I had brought Boy Scouts to this campground years ago and wanted to go back. This time, we did not stay in the group camping area. Since it was at the beginning of the week, it wasn’t too crowded, although there were two Boy Scout groups in the group camping area. There are several camping areas, and the one we were in allowed generators during the day. I think I heard one, but it was not so bad. Unfortunately, there are gravel tent pads, which is bad news for campers with tents you have to stake down. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. As a tent camper, I hate gravel tent pads. Being in the national park, the amenities are about the same as the other national park campgrounds. However, I was surprised that the bath house had an electrical outlet to be used for blow dryers and shavers. I don’t remember any other Great Smoky Mountains National Park campgrounds having that luxury. But like the other ones in this national park, the bath house does not have showers or campsite hookups for water, sewer, and electricity. There are several trails in the area, but the ones that originate from the campground is the¾ mile nature trail and the Bradley Fork Smokemont Loop. When my son and I hiked this trail, we had to watch out for and step around horse poop. Since this trail is also used by horses, there was lots of it. Fortunately, the nature trail didn’t allow horses. My granddaughter loved walking over the log bridges and skipping rocks at the campground while it wasn’t raining. I think that was her favorite part. As with most of my camping trips, I want to explore, and there is plenty to explore around this campground. Being in the national park, there is a wide variety.  

Fewer than three miles down the road, there is an old mill (Mingus Mill), the Oconaluftee Visitors Center (which has the Mountain Farm Museum), elk, wild turkeys, etc. Within the boundary of the campground I discovered something at the campground that I never knew existed. There was an old church at the campground that was built before Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established. We were able to go into the church for me to take a few pictures.  It was first constructed in 1836 and rebuilt in 1912. Not too far from the campground is the Appalachian Trail, the Benton MacKaye Trail, and the Kephart Prong Trail. This campground is also one of the largest campgrounds in the national park that I have been to. Although it is not an equestrian campground, Tow String camping area is“next door,” and it is an equestrian campground. The horseback riders pass beside the campground on route to the Bradley Fork Trail. Overall, this was one of my better experiences with national park campgrounds except for the rain.

National Forest Campsites close to several Trailheads

This camping area is close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, hence the name, and there are several places to explore in the general area. I had been to these campsites during the off-season, and there was nobody camped there. This time it was a different story. People who camp here want to be away from crowds, but that is difficult on weekends, especially during the summer. If they are not camping here, they come here to hike the Flat Laurel Creek Trail. There are more hikers who come here than campers, and for good reason. The Flat Laurel Creek Trail starts at these campsites and goes to Sam Knob, which is a 6,000 foot peak. You can also hike to Little Sam Knob at 5,862 feet. I made friends with two types of people who visit here. One was a day hiker who has hiked several trails in the area, and today he hiked the Flat Laurel Creek Trail. The other friend I made was Lee Ann. Lee Ann just likes camping away from people in remote areas. She and I hit it off as friends from the start since my preference is to camp where there are not a lot of people. While I was there, there were at least two large groups of day hikers, and several individual hikers. There are two campsites with fire rings, but I wasn’t lucky enough to get one since it was so close to July 4 and it was on a weekend. I had to settle for a small flat spot between the two other sites. The space was beside the trail but it was obviously a well-used site. The site was level with very few rocks where I put my tent. It was almost like a little alcove in the woods. However, even if it sounded crowded, it was not. Lee Ann offered to share her space and campfire with me, and I realized how great it is to camp in areas like this where you meet people with great stories. She even shared information about a trail to a swimming hole down the road. The camper(s) in the other campsite were friendly but not as sociable. There was lots of shade and it seemed more private than it really was. Billy, the day hiker that I met, was an older gentleman, and he told me about all of the trails in the area. I knew about a couple of them, but I didn’t realize the Mountains to Sea Trail was so close. About 3.2 miles from the campsites, you can see Sunburst Falls; but to get the best view, you have to hike down a steep embankment. In the other direction, you can get on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and drive north for about a mile to see Devil’s Courthouse. To get to the top, you have to hike about four-tenths of a mile. You can also take the Mountains to Sea Trail, which is thirty seconds from my campsite, via car, and hike it to Devil’s Courthouse, which is a much longer trail. You will hike over the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way there and not even know you are crossing it because of all the trees. There are also several waterfalls in the area, and some of them you hike to; others you can drive to or hike to. What I really did not like about Blue Ridge Roadside Campsites is that you constantly hear big trucks, including at least half a dozen log trucks and several motorcycles. The tent sites are close to the road, but the sounds from the road are partially blocked out by the sounds of Flat Laurel Creek. If you go to these campsites, you have to take or treat your own water. There are no water, electricity, or sewer hookups. Make sure to take your own toilet paper and trowel/shovel. There are no tent pads, but there are rocks. If you study the area in the daylight, you can find a soft patch of ground. Unless you have your own lantern, it will be dark at night. Unfortunately, the only sounds that make you feel as if you are not in the middle of the wilderness are the sounds of the traffic on the highway. Overall, it was a great campout for being close to several trailheads, but the camping area itself leaves a lot to be desired.

Large National Forest Campground with Sightseeing Opportunities

I have heard a lot of people mention this campground, so I had to try it for myself. One of the first things I learned about national forest campgrounds in North Carolina is that if you want to check out campsites ahead of time, you cannot go in the campground if it is at 85% capacity. You cannot even get through the gate. With that said, my friend and I showed up at Davidson River and were told there were only two sites left. One was a pull-through and the other one was a pull-in. I asked the host which one was more private and better for tents. Since there are over 100 campsites at this campground, I also found out that national forest campgrounds fill up quickly. The site we got was not great, and the layout was not well thought out. Why would you place the fire pit next to the lantern pole. That seems dangerous having a lantern so close to the fire. Nevertheless, it worked out since I placed my propane lantern on the picnic table. For the record, I HATE gravel pads in which the gravel is several inches deep. It is almost impossible to drive tent stakes through it. If you do manage to get a stake through the gravel, you will probably end up with a bent stake. Fortunately, I had a free-standing tent this time, but I also had to set up tarps. Rain was in the forecast, and there was a thunderstorm with a deluge of rain. I didn’t think we were going to be able to have a fire, but there was a break about 9:00 pm. This site also needed some maintenance as far as landscaping. There was lots of poison ivy, and the weeds were too close to the driveway and the tent pad. 

One of the biggest reasons people come to this area is to enjoy what the Pisgah National Forest has to offer. Within walking distance is the trailhead for the Art Loeb Trail, and many other trails are not too far away. It is within a short driving distance of one of my favorite waterfalls (Looking Glass Falls), the Blue Ridge Parkway, several other waterfalls, and several other trails. At the campground, there is a popular swimming area where people can fish, swim, and go tubing. I didn’t come across a group camping area, but there is a large activity field which was titled“Deer Field.”  Also within the confines of the campground, there is English Chapel, which is an active church. Campers are welcome to visit, according to the sign. There is an“exercise” trail, and I saw several joggers on the trail and on the roads throughout the campground. There is mountain laurel throughout the campground, which creates some photographic beauty. There are several camping loops throughout the campground, and each one has its own bath house. The one closest to us had one shower, a urinal, and one stall. The shower is a push button type, so you have to push it repeatedly for your shower. One thing that surprised me was that generators are allowed, except in one loop. As we explored the campground further, I can’t imagine how other campers can put up with the noise.  I could hear it from a hundred yards away. This campground takes precautions against bears and we had a metal food container at our campsite. That is one thing I did like about our site. There were also recycling bins located within the campground. The only reason I didn’t give this campground five stars is because it needed some landscaping work and that generators are allowed. Other than that, this is a great campground, especially since it is so close to great hiking and great waterfalls.

A Campground which is Part of Something Bigger than Itself

The Lake Junaluska Campground seems small, but it cannot be separated from Lake Junaluska. Lake Junaluska is home of the Methodist Assembly, and the campground is part of it. Therefore, the amenities with the campground are the amenities for the Lake Junaluska Assembly. The campground itself has RV sites, tent sites, and cabins. Every time I passed by the campground in the past, all I saw were RVs in front, so I naturally thought it was strictly an RV park. Looking for somewhere to camp close to home, I decided to do some checking. Low and behold, they have primitive campsites, but I could not find prices. I emailed the campground with questions, but I didn’t get a reply until after I stayed there. I decided to take a chance and show up, and I’m glad I did. The following night would not have been very good since they were completely booked. I was lucky enough to show up on the right day for available sites. Apparently, they fill up during the weekends or when there are special events at the Assembly. The tent sites do have water or electricity, but the spaces and tent pads are very small. Even though there was only one tent camper in the tent area tonight, the space still seemed crowded. I would rather pay a little extra for an RV site with more room. Site 240 is much larger and has water and electricity, although it was really meant to be an RV site. The bathrooms are small and utilitarian—nothing fancy; however, the campground is small, so it’s a short walk to the bath house. The campground does sell firewood($6.00 for a bundle and starter). Downed wood to use for tinder and kindling is almost impossible to find, so if you don’t want to spend money on firewood, bring your own. If you are in an RV, there is a$10 fee for the dump station. Most people who camp here at Lake Junaluska Campground don’t come here specifically for the campground. They come here for the Lake Junaluska activities and conventions across the road. There, you can launch your own canoes, kayaks, jon boats, etc. for free, or you can rent canoes and kayaks to use on the lake. Canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats are $5.00 for half an hour, and paddle boards are$10.00 per hour. Fishing is allowed in several spots, and there are a couple of docks for fishing. I was lucky enough to come to Lake Junaluska at the right time of year. There is the famous“rose walk,” which is over a hundred yards long beside the sidewalk. May is the prime time for seeing the roses. Back to the campground. It does not offer a lot of amenities within the confines of the camping area, but being a part of the Lake Junaluska Assembly makes up for it. You could spend days enjoying what it has to offer, whether it is walking or jogging around the lake, playing in the water, paddling on the water, fishing, playing tennis or shuffleboard, or simply watching the swans and geese. If you are not cooking at the campsite you could drive to Lambuth Inn, which is also part of the Assembly. There are three dining halls, but when I camp, I like to cook at the campsite. Unfortunately, when you stay at the campground, you will hear noise from the road since it is a U. S. highway. Other than the road noise, the campground seemed very quiet, and a lot of the campers were senior citizens.