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This is a great Campground if you're not looking for a bunch of frou-frou amenities. The road is well maintained but can be very steep in places so make sure you have some tread on your tires. No garbage cans so pack in and pack out. No generators allowed. But clean campsites and plenty of toilets. There's even a primitive hot shower. The people are very friendly both the campers and the people who operate the camp. Wood is available on-site $5 for 10 pieces or you can pack your wood in. I will definitely be back.
We had campsites TS1 & TS2 across the water. A few of us kayaked to our site while others hiked 3miles to our site. It was very quiet and we could barely see our neighbors. Our site was surrounded by trees, plenty of options for hammocking/pitching a tent. It does include a fire pit with a grill grate option. This was our 2nd time here and we will def continue camping here.
Although you can camp just about anywhere in Pisgah National Forest, there are specific sites near the trailhead to Sam Knob. This area is known as Black Balsam. There are no RV sites, and you have to hike about a hundred yards or less to the sites, unless you camp on the bald. The sites had lots of roots, so it was difficult to find a level site without roots all over the area. With that said, it is a good place to camp, and it is just a short walk to the pit toilet, which is also at the trailhead. There are fire pits, but there are no lantern hangers or tent pads. Expect to hear lots of cars and people during the busy months about 200 feet away. Because of that, a better place to stay is at the top of Sam Knob, which you can do. That was a better choice for me since I try to stay away from crowds as much as I can. However, you cannot clear or make a new spot; you have to“find” a spot in which you do not disturb the area. You will need a freestanding tent since you will probably be pitching it on solid rock.
The biggest problem with staying on the knob is the weather. Unfortunately, it poured rain and was windy when I was there. I expected it to be windy, but mixed with the rain, it made it unpleasant. Sam Knob is a heather bald, so that gives you a little privacy. However, expect a hikers to end up there since it is a hiking destination and the views are great.
Overall, it is a good place to camp, but there will be people close by no matter where you pitch your tent, whether it is a hundred yards from the parking lot or up on top of Sam Knob.
Recently stay at Lake Hartwell State Park and had a great time. Some of the sites are pretty close together, but we stayed at site 54 and our friends were at site 52. Both sites had nice tree cover and great views of the lake with plenty of space, close to the bath house. Lost power to our site during our stay, but the staff was quick to come out and fix the problem. It was very busy while we were there, but didn’t seem overly noisy. Definitely looking forward to going back.
I didn’t get a chance to explore this camping area much because it was wet. I mean really wet! It is beside the Chauga River, and if you camp there after a storm like I did, expect a lot of wet puddles and soggy ground. It is a great destination for fishing, but the water was too high and too muddy this time. There is a parking area, and you have to pack everything in. I parked across the road because of the drop-off from the road. It was probably a good idea anyway since the parking area would require me to put my vehicle in 4WD. I am sure others had a better experience than I did, but between the bugs and the soggy mess, it was difficult to rate this campground anything other than just one star. There are not toilet facilities, water, lantern hangers, etc. That is usually not a problem for me, but… did I mention that it was wet? Building a campfire this time was out of the question. It was a good thing I carry my little Solo stove. I used it as a mini fire pit. On the positive side of things, being so close to the river makes it almost impossible to hear any sounds from the highway. It’s not a busy road anyway, but it is nice sleeping to the sounds of the river. Overall, I don’t think I will return to this camping area. It was okay as a learning experience, but other than that, it was just too small of a camping area, too many bugs, and too… did I mention it was wet?
To get to this campground, you have to drive two and a half miles down a forest road, and then you hike about a third of a mile to the campsites. You have to backpack in and take everything you need. Make sure to take lots of water or a good water filter. When I first arrived, I was a little disappointed that the pit toilet was not open(I think perhaps due to the pandemic). The hike to the campsites is an easy, slightly downhill roadbed. When I went, it was the perfect time for the black-eyed susans to bloom, so it was a pretty hike.
This is a primitive campground, so there is no electricity, drinking water, or sewer hookups. However, it is peaceful, and if you want to get away from the conglomeration of RVs and tent campers, this is great.
When I got to my campsite, I was surprised to find a nice large picnic table and lantern pole. Most hike-in sites don’t have these amenities. There was also a hanging system for food since this place is in bear country. The thing I did not like was the gravel pad. It is a good thing I had a freestanding tent that didn’t require tent stakes. The site was really a good one with trees all around and the sounds of the creek, which is a tributary of the Chatooga River.
I was the only camper, which from what I understand is unusual. This is partly because school had started and it was during the week. This made it easy to gather firewood, but the wood was wet because of the recent rains. Fortunately, I had a little alcohol stove to cook my meals.
The reasons people come to this campground are because of access to water for fishing, the solitude, and King Creek waterfall. The trail to the waterfall is over a half mile (my estimation), and you have to cross a log footbridge. There was a huge downed tree that you also have to cross, but you have to be careful since the log was slimy.
Overall, this is a pretty good place to camp, but you can’t just run to your car if you forget something. Well, I guess you could, but it would be a third of a mile slightly uphill. All of your private hygiene has to be done backcountry also, which is not a problem if you are accustomed to backpacking.
We camped here at Oconee, at site 7, on the Lake Loop, in the middle of May 2020. PERFECT!! We were able to pitch a tent AND had room for my tow vehicle and teardrop camper! The folks that run the Visitor Center were PHENOMENAL! Plenty of room, nice sun and shade areas, EXTREMELY clean bathrooms and bathhouses, wifi, MANY trails to walk and hike, and really awesome buildings and a man made lake, that were built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps)! I HIGHLY recommend checking this place out, and camping here! We're planning another trip in the Spring!
You can also visit nearby Table Rock State Park, Bald Rock Heritage Preserve, and Riley Moore Falls!