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This park was awesome, beautiful views, rolling green grass, full hook up and partial hook ups for a decent fare. There is a lot to do nearby, it’s easy to get to the park and they have good cellular connection.
This park has 1 issue. Communication.
There are 3 reasons/experiences we will never return. There is a couple who camphost (fulltime RVers), and another couple who are the owners who live in a house on property. Pretty standard setup. Generally speaking- if you obtain permission for something from the camp host, you can reasonably expect that you have obtained the proper permission.
Arriving Early. Again- working, we called to ask permission to show up at 12:00pm instead of 2pm, communicated: if we could, we would like to not miss a full day of work moving the rig. Female who answered their only phone, said no problem, come on in, your site is open. Fantastic! We show up and the female owner of the park (we didn’t know who we talked to we just called their phone line)- was mad as hell that we were there early. We explained the screw up and apologized because it was a legitimate mistake. We thought that’s the end of it. Moving on.
We were there for 17 days, and needed to get a couple of boxes, one being our ballots to vote, one small package, and one medium size package. We again called the phone number, a female answered, gave us permission and told us the address. The first two arrive without issue. The third was apparently a problem with the female owner once again, even though the previous two packages- she never indicated there was a problem.
Booking- we originally booked 7 or so days and had to book more because of rain. We moved sites as they requested. Again - spoke to a female on the phone, no problem, y’all can stay until the 24th, this time she said “I wrote myself a note to tell the owner”. Cool, as a guest my work is done, all set. On the 23rd the female owner of the park came and beat on the door. My husband was at work. She was very angry, I was very confused. She asked when we were leaving and why we haven’t left, still confused I replied we paid until the 24th which is tomorrow and we will be leaving early in the morning. This made things epically more hostile. She said I was inconveniencing her other patrons because they expected full hook ups. I didn’t know what my husband had done or who he spoken to, all I knew was that we were leaving on the 24th. So I offered to call him and get to the bottom of it. I had him call her to simplify things. She screamed at him on the phone which goes through his hearing aids. He asked her to speak more quietly so he could understand her. Apparently she has the camp host approve things or doesn’t communicate with the camphost well. Each of these 3 things had sent her over the edge. She wouldn’t calm down so he hung up, so she called back and left a scathing voicemail about how rude he is…
We will never return, the last thing we need right now when everything is chaos for 2020- is to deal with that.
We picked this stop because it was a halfway point from our trip in Georgia to home in Ohio and it was easy off and on 75. It’s a small campground with only 37 rv sites, a primitive camping section and several small cabins. They offer a pool, dog park, laundry and game room.
It’s very clean and the staff was nice. We got here after hours and they had everything we needed at the check in with our names, site number and directions to our site. They also offer WiFi and cable tv.
There is not much to do in the park itself but it’s quite and close to town.
This campground had about 10 sites all very close together except site #1 which was right near the main parking lot the volt toilets stunk bad worse one I’ve been in we stayed for 2 nights and it wasn’t cleaned at all the iron bridge was pretty though!
My boyfriend and I spent one night there in the flat fork tent campsite where we were only separated by a tiny fence from both people on each side no privacy whatsoever we spent the whole night hearing the father yell at his son maybe 5 feet away the other sites in the loop (closer to the office) were even closer together don’t go here if you like the get away from people because you can’t! Also people had no problem walking through our site!
North Cumberland/Royal Blue is located a few miles off I-75, and is a good spot for outdoor recreation. This place is a bid draw for ATV’s, and from what I understand they ride up there year round. The area is a WMA, so it’s a good spot for hunting, just make sure to check local regulations, I know they have elk in this area, and quota hunts and such. You can find some great camping spots here, outside of hunting season anyway. The area is large, so you can definitely find a great spot to camp. We chose a spot that someone had used previously and made a fire pit. We were on top of a ridge, and had good cell reception. It was quiet and peaceful. I did take note of several other really good spots too. If you want to escape civilization and enjoy camping for free, this is a good spot.
A short hike to several backcountry sites. Our original spot was Panther Gap Rockhouse. Unfortunately this site was wet! Everything was wet! There was a fire ring and tables available at this site. But we moved to Tub Springs which was amazing! Very windy but dry! Fireplace, fire pit, bear safe storage container and several tables were available. We will definitely we back to the Tub Springs site again! Note there was no water source available at either locations.
Big Ridge State Park has some great features, like Norris Lake, which is arguably the best lake around this area. Fishing, boating, biking, campground, nature trails, etc. and then there’s the backcountry. If you choose to stay at one of the backcountry sites, heed the warnings, the hike will be tough, and if you take Sharps Station Site, May God have mercy on your soul! Not only is it steep both ways(don’t even know how that’s possible), the trail is overgrown and rough. The campsite is heavily wooded, and perfect for hammocks. The site leads you to believe the site is on the lake, that is false, so if you plan to get water from the lake, be prepared to hike an additional 2.5 miles to get it and back up to the site. The park has some interesting history, and that’s really cool. There’s three backcountry sites that you can reserve, I would try one of the other two, and avoid sharps station.
We had a end campsite and loved it. Not many people on our loop. Another one stayed full the entire visit. We hiked to the twin arches and to yahoo falls(recommend both) with children and had a blast. We can’t wait to go back.
We camped two nights last week in Loop A, the tent only, nonelectric section. Being mid-week, there were not many people, meaning it was also nice and quiet. The sites are roomy, with a large tent pad, fire ring, picnic table, lantern hook, and a food storage locker. Yes, this is bear country, but we didn't see any during our visit. The bath houses are as nice as you're likely to find in a national park, with flush toilets, hot showers, and an outside sink for dish washing, etc. There is also a large, wheelchair accessible bathroom with roll-in shower. A water hydrant is available to fill jugs and tanks.
We drove through the other loops to see what they look like, because Loop A isn't open in winter. Should we decide to camp here in winter, Loop B is the only section open. But, that will let us use an electric heater.
Be aware that some things are not open in 2020 due to Covid-19. The park visitors centers are still closed, the swimming pool wasn't open mid-week, and the check-in building was unstaffed when we arrived. There was a sign at the check-in point telling us to reserve and pay for our site using Recreation.gov. We had cell service there, so no problem. It you don't have service, drive across the road to the Camp Store (which is not always open) to use WiFi there. There is a note on the front door with the password.
There are so many things to do in Big South Fork and surrounding areas that you really need to just visit the park website and make a list of things to do. Some are easy and roadside, others not so much. For example, to hike the Twin Arches Loop Trail, you'll drive several miles of dirt roads to reach the trailhead and end up hiking about 6 - 6.5 miles. The description says the loop is 4.6 miles, which is true, but you have to add another 1.4 miles for the out-and-back from the parking lot to the start of the loop. The loop trail isn't bad, but the access trail has steep stairs. Anyway, find something you like and enjoy the Cumberland Plateau.