The best camping near
National Forests in North Carolina, NORTH CAROLINA

757 Reviews306 Campgrounds
Camping North Carolina National Forests in North Carolina
EXPLORE
The #1 Camping App

The #1 Camping App

Search 500,000 listings, reviews & tips from anywhere in the US. Our free app is the top-rated camping app on Apple and Android.

Link to the App Store Link to Google Play
Most Recent National Forests in North Carolina Camping Reviews
Absolutely love this place

This is my favorite place for cabin camping! They are cozy, comfy cabins. The staff are the sweetest! Very helpful and gave us directions to all the waterfalls and hiking we could handle! Everything to cook and clean in the cabins is all provided! I wish I could give them 10 stars!

1st Camping Experience Couldn’t Have Been Better!

This is a private camping ground and it has a very small site fee. The place is absolutely stunning next to a running river. At night they set up a camp fire where all visitors can meet and greet, have a beer, or eat some burgers. The place offers a lot. They got a lounge, showers, clean bathrooms, and they have a small kitchen where you can buy some food each night. The owners are pleasant folks. Really nice and polite. I mean you can’t go wrong. Give this place a shot. Well worth it.

Great little resort

Nice low key resort. Only back in spots but still nice. The front desk does close at 4 from what I have found though

Love it

Favorite campground! RTT friendly. Gorgeous views and sunsets. Great staff!!

Hidden Gem

Definitely one of our favorite state park! Super clean, wooded, and right on the lake.

Camped in the saddle between

My wife and I. Amped out here for the fall leaves change in October. It was honestly my favorite camp to date. Every morning we’d wake up to the sunrise (even though it was foggy) and go explore a new area.

There was a water point about a qtr like away on the art loeb trail heading back towards the black balsam knob parking area. We camped in a saddle between tennet mountain and the next unnamed peak on map. Perfect spot for views and was bordered on three sides by shoulder height brush. 10/10 on the selection. It was the perfect distance from civilization (1.5 miles to the car) and 10-15 miles of wilderness for us to explore.

Tennett mountain has a superb view of the surrounding area and I highly recommend peak bagging it.

The art loeb trail is heavily trafficked until you reach the northern side of tennent mtn. The trail is for hikers horseback and 4x4 so you aren’t crazy waking up to a car engine going by. I can’t think of much else to put because there was so much to explore.

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.

Good for families

This review starts with the wonky reservation system. If you look at several campsites, it thinks you want to reserve all of them. Even if you de-select campsites, it still thinks you want to reserve all of them! And then, it didn’t like the apostrophe in our last name. I took that out but then it made me wait for two minutes before I could continue with the reservation. Ugh. We were also not happy that there was a two-night minimum on the weekends. 

Now for the campground. This is a fairly small campground with only 40 sites. It was full on the first Friday in November but there was no host (and we did not see a Ranger throughout our stay). There would be free firewood (donations encouraged) if a host or ranger were present, so no firewood for us.    

Many of the sites are NOT level but the website does indicate this during the reservation process. Fifteen have tent pads, but others do not and would be more suitable for RVs. The driveways are paved but some are crumbling, and pieces of pavement are tripping hazards. All the sites have electric and water. There are two comfort stations that were very clean and the showers (no additional cost) looked reasonable. There is a pack-in, pack-out policy and therefore there is only one dumpster across from the park office, which is quite a distance from the campground, and you are asked to bring your trash there nightly (the distance from the campground makes this challenging if you do not have another vehicle). 

There are some nice hiking trails, but they are not on the map that you are given upon check-in. There is a map posted by the camp office, again quite a distance from the campground. This park is also good for mountain bikers, although they are not allowed to use the trails on Saturdays. Dogs are allowed if kept on a leash. Alcohol can only be consumed if out of public sight. 

You will hear trains. Many trains. Loud trains. All throughout the night😊

There is a beach and boat rental in season, which looks very nice, but we stayed there out of season, so this was not available.

Hike to a beautiful waterfall!

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.