Tusquitee National Forest, NORTH CAROLINA
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Camping North Carolina Tusquitee National Forest
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Most Recent Tusquitee National Forest Camping Reviews
Absolutely stunning setting.

Elkmont is set in an absolutely stunning setting. The tent site were large and very clean with the sound of rapids coming from the nearby river. There were multiple bathrooms available which were clean and well maintained. It is centrally located for multiple stunning hikes i.e. Laurel Falls, Charlie’s Bunion and Clingmans Dome. It is also a short drive from Gatlinburg.

Great Family Campground

Busy during the summer months, but probably the least busiest out of the three campgrounds in the Tallulah River. Stays cool down there by the river. There’s a swimming hole and a rope to jump off a rock. Nice place in the fall to relax whenever you want to get away. The camp sites are far enough away from each other to get some privacy

Great for families!

A lot of things to do here in the park. Pool is nice! Staff is very nice! Lots are real nice. A creek runs through the campground and is wonderful to sit by. Full hookups. Wi-Fi is a bit weak in places so you are using your phone mostly. We will come back.

Great RV Resort Franklin N.C

We are new to the RV life style. We traveled to Franklin N.C. A couple weeks ago and stayed at Grear Outdoors RV Resort. We were greeted by gracious hosts who were also the owners. Polly was great explaining the rules and amenities to us. Mike arrived and escorted us to our site and helped us me park. The park was very well organized and maintained as Mike continues to work throughout our entire visit. Questions and concerns were answered immediately. This was our first visit but not our last. 5 Stars!!

This is one of the nicest 55+ campgrounds in the area.

This is a well maintained 55+ campground that has a nice ratio of RV campsites and Park Model living.  The spacious sites are well shaded and level in a park like setting.

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.


**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.

A little dated!

Nice quiet campground. It appeared that it’s been there a while and could use a little updating. The loop road for RVs is a little tight. Our site, #65 was at the end of a spur road and the makeshift turnaround area was extremely tight. Only other complaint was the lack of water pressure at our site. I’m not sure if all the sites had low pressure, but I needed up using the water pump to supplement for the shower.

All that being said, the campground was beautiful and quiet. Just a note, public access to the lakes in this area is limited if you’re looking for swimming, kayaking, etc. and the roads are narrow. It’s easier to enter the campground from the west.

Plenty of options from here

I stayed two nights. Purchased wood and some other things from the nearby camp store at nearby Indian Boundary Campground (IBC)when I arrived. So if you need anything the store is close by during season with friendly staff. We also swam at IBC beach area.

The campsites at Jake Best Campground (JBC)was clean and the fee was small. Other nearby primitive sites are free and their are several just off Citico Creek. Our stay was over July 4th weekend and only 3 of the 9 sites were being used. The US Forestry Service was in and out of JBC a few times and visible along Citico Creek. We chose a Creekside site with access via short trails.
Plenty of good fishing/swimming/just sitting to be had from the site. Saw several locals that trout fish this creek. We skipped rocks, hammocked, swam in the nearby lake, and finished the trip at nearby Bald River Falls. Good place for a quick getaway.

Awesome Camping

Beautiful sites right on Tellico Lake. I have stayed here three times and really enjoyed it very much! Those that love Camping on the lake will love this place!

Great morning swim

Hard to get to but worth the time. Go during swim season.

Good mtb spot

Has one of the best views of the lake and GSMNP that I know of…


Next to a wonderful creek that puts you right to sleep. Plenty of room and seclusion.

Great car camping in GSMNP

Even with out loops bathroom under renovation it was a great experience. You are in the middle of everything.

Good quick getaway

Very friendly staff. Clean facilities and nice playground. Whippoorwill called through the evening which was cool.

Nice little break spot

Not a place to camp but it’s a great little picnic area and a few nice trails to hike!

Awesome Trip

My old college roommate and I took a camping trip here and brought his golden retriever. It was a great little campground. All of the staff were very helpful and friendly.

It's ok but....

Spaces too close together….Several amenities but well used. Staff friendly……probably won't stay here again

Okay sites, could be better?

We stayed at the Big Brook Loop which offers full hookups. These sites do not offer anything in the way of privacy but do offer lots of shade and gravel sites. Access to hiking trails is easy as is the cute, quaint town of Helen. We were staying July 4th week so it was, of course, busier, as it normally would be during the summer peak months. Comfort station is mediocre. There is supposed to be laundry at this loop but there are no washer or dryer in the laundry room. (I didn’t check the other areas that are stated as such on the campground map)

Love This Place!

This place is amazing! Great place for kids, so much to do

Great place during lightning bug season!

This campground is great! It has clean bathrooms with showers, fire rings with grill grates, lots of hiking, hike to a beautiful waterfall, huge lake to swim or float on a raft, and the lightning bugs were breath taking!!

We stayed at site #39. Next to the trail that leads to the lake. Next to rest room, trash bin, and water spout. This specific site has the driveway and then stairs to the fire/table/tent pad. We set our large tent on the tent pad and a smaller tent on the driveway next to the stairs.

Pros: No reservation needed. Warmish showers. Hiking. Lake to swim in. Beautiful waterfall. Perfect to see millions of lightning bugs. Easy payment (put money in slip and put in bin, and yes they do check). Pets allowed.

Cons: we had the WORST neighbors I’ve ever experienced while camping! The staff warned them about quiet hours but never came back to in force it. Fire ring grill topper was broke off.

DON’T drive up the dirt path, we made that mistake. Take the regular rode. GPS sends you automatically to the dirt road.

Over all I’m defiantly going to camp there again. Well kept and overall has a lot to offer

One of our favorites !

We love this place! It’s right outside one of the entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains and about 20 minutes from Cades Cove. The town of Townsend is super cute with lots of shops, a winery, coffee shops, restaurants and shopping. We also enjoy the river rafting nearby. The actual campground is extremely clean, bathrooms are jaw dropping beautiful! They always have activities for kids and adults. Food trucks and coffee trucks are usually there. We always enjoy our stay here. It’s not secluded, it’s busy! But space between sites is pretty decent for a busy campground.

Love this campground

Great site.  Easy to navigate around sites.  Lots of shade.  Close by Occoee White Water center where the Atlanta olympics took place.  Plan your visit around the water release.  There schedule is online.  Pretty cool to see the water trickle and then  mass if water come at you.

Ranger Review of Primus Stove at Nacoochee Adventures

Campground Review: Nacoochee Adventures is located just before Helen at the beginning of the Nacoochee Valley. They offer small primitive camping in vardo type wagons and tree houses as well as zip lining. We went as a family of 4 and half of us did the moonshine canopy tour while the other half did the quick zip, a half mile zip down the mountain. My son did both lines and preferred the quick zip. The canopy tour takes you back into the woods to view and old reclaimed moonshine still and gives you a great view of the wild ferns on the forest floor. The guides are all very friendly, great with kids, and generally positive people. They also offer smaller zip lines for kids, parties, and a giant swing. You can buy local beer and wine after your tour on site.

We stayed in the creek tree house and to our surprise, they gave us an off road golf cart with our treehouse to transport our stuff up the mountain to our site. If you ask, they will give you directions on how to drive your cart through the trails to get to the Nacoochee Tavern for pizza and more local beer and wine as well as some great shopping.

We went in June and it was a typical hot Georgia day so we opted to wait until late in the afternoon to head to our campsite and were pleasantly surprised at how much we could do right there from the check in area. We walked across the road and visited the Hardman Farm, a DNR run site with the old Hardman home and buildings across from the famed Indian mound. From there you can either walk or bike the Helen to Hardman Trail to Helen and skip the ridiculous tourist traffic. From there you can walk or bike a good portion of the city of Helen, depending on how deep into tourist land you want to go.

The treehouse is nice and shaded with a fire ring, a hammock, and a path to a small creek. There is an outhouse nearby but they leave a special door open at the main house for you to access bathrooms and showers via the golf cart 24/7. Our tree house had a full bed in the loft and a king bed in the main area and lots of citronella candles outside to ward off the bugs but as soon as it got dark, the mountain air cooled everything off and we could forget the heat while we slept.

In addition to the Hardman Farm, the Sautee Nacoochee Center is nearby as well as the old Sautee Store, just past the Indian mound. By bike, you can access these locations and loop back to Helen on Bean Creek Road which passes a lovely roadside waterfall. If you want to check out Helen from the point of view of how things were before tourists and motorcycles this is he perfect jumping off point, literally. Zip the treetops and then hop on your bike!

Product Review: As a Dyrt ranger, I get to review cool products and on this trip I tried out the Primus Primetek stove set 1.3 L. When I first got this stove I worried it would be "too much stove" for basic backpacking. But I have found that with a family it works perfectly to heat up water fast and enough of it to make coffee and pour into Dehydrated food bags for everyone. I have yet to attempt real cooking on it like pancakes or sautéing but the hear output is very efficient and even and clean, which makes me think it will be fine. The metal hose that connects to the gas sort of winds around the bottom and there is a hook to hold it. It I have had a little trouble repacking it in the bag to sit flat. This is a minor OCD observation. Also, the bag it comes in does not include room for the fuel so when you are packing your stuff you always want to remember your fuel. I have not forgotten fuel yet but can understand how that might happen. Overall, it is a great stove for us and our needs, a little pricey but worth it.

Well maintained w/beautiful view

Very nice campground, clean and well maintained. We love coming here for the weekend! Variety of sites from very shady to full sun, level sites, great amenities!

A North Georgia Classic

This popular state park is the jumping off point for hikers headed to Maine on the Appalachian Trail as well as those hiking to Len Foote Hike Inn. The vistas at the lodge are worth the trip inside and there are great viewing decks where you can eat your own picnic or packed lunch. The Maple Restaurant is also inside. There are cottages and campgrounds. The campground sites are nice and roomy for RVs and the loops contain a covered pavilion and horseshoe pit. This is a hiker's state park with lots of trails from moderate to strenuous. The Falls are the real centerpiece with a set of stairs leading to the top which is incorporated into the AT approach trail. There is a also a small reflection pond where people can fish. I went in the middle of the week in the summer and it was not crowded but it is clearly a place that can get crowded due to its popularity. It's an easy car camp trip that gets you high enough in elevation to cool off a little in the summer but is not too far of a drive from Atlanta.

Beautiful Lake

We camped in the campground and accessed the lake through a trail. The beach was beautiful, but rocky so bring water shoes if you like. The rentals for kayaks and stand-up paddle boards is rather expensive. We left ours at home due to space. SUP and kayaks were $35. For two of us it wasn’t worth the price. Sunsets are picturesque. No alcohol allowed and the gates close at 8pm in the parking area. The boat ramp is convenient and a good spot to watch the sunset, but there is no parking in that area. Bathrooms were clean and well kept.

Not something you would expect

This is a new listing, just opening up so some of the details are being finalized. We stayed here in late June and got a sneak preview. The shelter is made from an old, HUGE air conditioning vent. Have you ever looked out a hotel room window onto the roof of a building and seen those large curved intake structures? That's what this is made out of. It is no frills. Just the structure built on top of a wood platform with screen mesh to help control bugs. There are nice, cushy mattresses to lay down on. Other than that, there isn't much room for anything else; it is a place to put your head down. A short walk away is an outdoor composting toilet. There is a community firepit and some amenities you share with the treehouse next door (slackline, swing, and slide). If you are looking for a different place to rest and want to spend your time outdoors, this is a nice alternative to an expensive hotel room.

Quiet Retreat

Morganton campground is an ultra quiet campground. Sites are spaced apart and vary in size and beauty. We stayed in site 1 which was next to the host, newer bathroom, and the trail that led to the recreation area. Some sites are wooded while others are on the lake and have private access. The host will deliver wood and ice to your site as well. When you arrive, if you have reservations, you head straight to your site and the host will come to you for check-in. If you are walk-up you simply find an unreserved site, claim it, then go check-in with the host. The atmosphere is super relaxed and the hosts are very pleasant. The wildlife is abundant with various birds and chipmunks as well. There is no alcohol allowed in any area of the campgrounds. I highly recommend this campground and we will be back to enjoy it in the future!

Wanna feel like a kid again? (A playful treehouse in the NC foothills)

My family of three stayed here for one night in late June. We got in a little late, around 7:30 pm, after we met up with some friends for dinner in Murphy.  My one regret is that we did not get here earlier to allow more time for play during daylight hours. If you are not entertained at this site, you are not trying hard enough. There is an amazing amount to do in this small space. First is the treehouse itself. You can get up into it by climbing up a spiral staircase or up rungs on one of the support logs. To get down you can go down one of two slides or shimmy down a firepole. Inside the treehouse are two twin bunk beds and one fold out cot. The space inside is rather small. With the cot folded out there was barely any room to move. However, since you will only be inside to sleep, it works. The beds were fairly comfortable, though the top bunk is quite close to the roof. I slept in the top bunk and my husband slept on the bottom. Every time I would turn over in the night I would hit my knee on the roof and wake him up.  :)  There is also a small table, first aid kit, candles, and a composting toilet with a curtain in the corner.  The toliet was a bucket with a seat, and not being used to such a small, low potty, it was a little uncomfortable, but doable. The treehouse is not sealed - the roof is sound but there are spaces between the planks on the sides (screen has been placed over the sides to help control bugs). The windows have cloth hangings, and one of the entries has a closing door. The other is wide open. Being summer, I was worried about heat and bugs, but I didn't have a problem with either. We were provided two battery-powered fans to keep us cool. By the time they died it as late enough that heat wasn't a problem. 

Now that's I've described the treehouse, let's talk about the rest of the site. Underneath the sleeping platform is a ground floor platform with a hammock and small propane stove with pots. A water cooler and trash can are also here. A few steps away is a firepit, and a few chairs, with provided firewood and marshmellow-roasting utensils. For play, there are hula hoops, a half-buried tire to climb on, a slack line, and a tremendously cool rope swing. This swing is about 30 feet high, and to start to climb up to a platform 5 feet above the ground. When you swing, it is a huge pendulum. What a thrill! Next to the treehouse is a homemade sled slide (see pics) that is also a blast. Down next to another rented space (the Hollar House) is a small zipline. Up the hill are blackberry bushes. So like I said, lots to keep you happy and entertained. 

The lows: There's always got to be a couple things about a place that I wish could be better. For us, it was the Hollar House. The folks staying there came in at 9:30 pm and their headlights showed right into the treehouse. When they spent a minute or two turning around their car in front of the house, the lights blinded us at the campfire. And when they turned on the string lights on the porch and went inside, it was too bright to enjoy being around the campfire. I went over and kindly asked them to turn the lights off, since they weren't outside anyway, and they graciously obliged, but other campers may not be able to or want to approach strangers to ask them to turn off lights. 

The highs: Besides the cool swings and slides, the owners were most definitely the best. Emilie and her two sons were very friendly and helpful in greeting us and getting us squared away. Her youngest son was the same age as my daughter and they had a great time playing together. She gave us bowls to collect blackberries and showed us how the swings and zip line worked. Awesome folks. 

Overall, would recommend. Don't come here expecting a 5-star suite. It is tight and rustic. But it is a lot of fun!

Campground beside the Oconaluftee River

I have stayed at this campground more times than I can remember. My family started staying here during visits to the mountains when I was just a young boy. Located on the Qualla Reservation(popularly known as the Cherokee reservation), it’s a good campground for basic camper lodging if you have a tent or an RV. After marriage, I continued to bring my wife to this campground. However, the campground ownership changed hands, and more permanent sites were created. Camping there as a tent camper, I got the feeling there were at least two communities within the campground—one for permanent residents and one for vacationers. As I walked down the lane with the permanent sites, I got the feeling I was in a completely different setting. As a matter of fact, one lady sitting in her vehicle asked me,“Can I help you?” It didn’t help that I was carrying a camera, but after a brief conversation, I guess she decided I was all right. Some of the permanent sites look pretty rough today, and the ones beside the main road are year-round sites. The sites have water, electricity, and sewer hookups except for the tent sites along the river. The campground host, who is in the camp store, is very friendly and was able to answer all my questions. Being a tent camper, I chose to be at a tent site along the Oconaluftee River. Being there is great because you can hear the sounds of the river all night long. When I went, however, the tent sites had quite a bit of poison ivy, which needed spraying. There are a lot of rocks, so you have to be careful about where you pitch your tent. Otherwise, you will be lying on a rock throughout the night. Believe me, it is not a pleasant experience. The worst part about choosing a site beside the river is that you get fishermen(and fisherwomen) walking through your site to find different fishing holes along the river. The bath house has hot showers, but two of them are in serious need of repainting since there are visible signs of peeling paint. There are few amenities other than a basketball hoop, but it is located right beside the Oconaluftee River, which is a great place for trout fishing. Some of the things that I think should be addressed are: 1) post signs that say“no smoking” in the bath house,” 2) not allowing fireworks at camp(since there was one camping group that was doing it for at least an hour), 3) spraying for ants in the bath house, 4) spraying for poison ivy, and 5) placing trash barrels or containers throughout the campground, since I couldn’t find one except for the one in the bath house). This campground is close to the resort town of Cherokee. In Cherokee, there are lots of shops, the Oconaluftee Indian Village, the Indian museum, a great city park on the Oconaluftee River, and the outdoor drama UNTO THESE HILLS, which I believe is one of the best outdoor dramas I have ever seen. A short drive from the campground will also take you into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and you can occasionally see a large herd of elk. The reservation is known for trout fishing, and the Oconaluftee River is stocked on a regular basis. While I was there, there were quite a few people fishing. However, you must buy a tribal permit to trout fish. Overall, the campground will satisfy your need for a place to stay overnight, but you will probably want to leave and explore Cherokee during the day.