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This campground was nice and quiet and convenient to the cute town of Mount Juliet. Sites a little closer then I like or expect from COE/state parks. Bathrooms near to the entrance were a little dated, but the ones near the dump station were nicer. The playground/beach area was nice. The laundry was literally 1 washer and 1 dryer behind the bathrooms near the entrance (outside under an overhang). We will pass through again.
We stayed for a few days and as a backpacker, the local hikes are some of the best I have ever seen! I would say most of the hikes are moderate, although some say easy. Grandma couldn’t leisurely walk, or scale some of the trails, so you have been warned. But for able bodied persons, the hikes are all doable. There are quite the variety of hike lengths to choose from, from short and squatty, to full day hikes. I’ll submit some of my favorite shots below. For RVs - I was towing a 21 ft trailer and my site at the bottom of the hill, which was away from other campers, but the grade was ridiculous! I had 6” of block height to level side to side! I heard other complaints from other longer tongue pullers as well, regarding the difficulty getting into their sites. Most of the sites are small, too close to other campers, or too close to the smell of the privies. But if you are hiking the area, I think the stay could be worth some of the hassle. There is a pull through dump station on the loop. There is electric and water. Tent campers - probably have plenty of room to spread out, some with power hookups and the convenience of showers at a central bathhouse. Daytime picnics - a beautifully large area to choose from and see. Lots of selections, all of them very well social distanced, family friendly and shaded with trees. Soooo much to see.
We camped here in January. It was very quiet because the other campers were all RVers who spent most of their time inside. The bathrooms were very clean and we basically had them to ourselves, since the RVers used their RVs. This park was really nice and we got some great sunrises over the water. Loved having a water spigot onsite. Only an hour away from Nashville if you want to visit!
Rock Island State park is a great place to camp. The campground is large and the campsites are spacious and far enough apart that you feel secluded, even when it’s full. It’s heavily wooded, so you don’t feel like your neighbors on right on top of you. The sites are paved and have water and electric, no septic where I was, however and they have a dump station that was large enough for two people to use at the same time. There are so many things to do at the campground, or the park, you will not be bored. Rock Island has some of the best waterfalls in Tennessee, and you can get right up to some them, if you are brave enough to kayak close to them. They also have a swimming area, and sand volleyball. Great biking in the park also. The area has lots of little shops and antique stores, if you’re into that, and Calf Killer Brewery is a short drive, and I highly recommend visiting there. Overall, this is a great park to visit, and a great place to camp.
Ragland Bottom is a great lakefront campground. It’s a very popular spot, and you’ll need to book well in advance. The lakefront sites all have water access right from the site, so you can launch a kayak, or throw out a line, or just go for a swim right from your site. Mostly all the non-waterfront sites have a view of the lake. You really can’t get a bad spot here. There’s nice hammock trees in the campground, and at most sites. The sites have fire rings and picnic tables. The bathrooms were clean and practical. The campground has a day use area, and a playground. Great spot for lake camping!
Bridgestone-Firestone-Virgin Falls WMA This WMA is the cream of the crop. I think it’s the largest WMA I’ve ever been to. I think we had the perfect camp spot. Nice and level, wooded and secluded, fire pit already constructed, plenty of firewood around. If you love primitive camping, this place is a goldmine. There’s no shortage of great camp sites too. Virgin Falls is nearby, however the trail was closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. There is also a store there, but it was also closed. I was here back in spring turkey season, and there were only a couple other hunters that were camping that I saw. During hunting season, you can only camp here if you are hunting, but it is always free. This is a very nice choice for free primitive camping.
We only stayed one night passing through. But wished we had more time! The sites were level, large, gravel with picnic tables and fire rings.spaced far enough apart you didn’t feel crowded at all. We didn’t use the laundry or bathhouse so I can’t comment on those. The campground was very nice with what seems to be lots to do, as far as hiking and sightseeing. Will definitely keep this one in mind on another trip!
This is one of my favorite areas to hike and camp. There are three official camping areas: Cable Crossing, Martha’s Pretty Point, and at Virgin Falls. There are two ways to get to the Point: the main trail (white blaze) and the Upland Trail (blue blaze). The Upland trail is about 2.4 miles to the point, is mostly a wide gravel logging road, and is easy until you get to a creek crossing in the woods where it is a little confusing as to which direction to take. We actually got a little lost in the woods on the last trip because it was overgrown at that spot and just wasn’t very obvious. But we retraced our steps and figured it out. Campsites 4-7 are up on the point. 7 is the largest and most secluded. 6 is also very nice. 5 is right along the main trail, across from the point, and 4 is right at the point, which sounds nice, but day hikers walk right through the site to get to the overlook. Part of the creek runs right below the point, past the ladder on the trail back down to the main trail (upland trail is somewhat of a loop). But don’t count on water. I hiked it two weeks before I went back and camped it. It was running when I hiked it, 2 weeks later it was dry despite having rained for days. We tarped rainwater the first night and hiked the half mile down to the creek on the main trail the next day for water. Finding a good tree to hang the food was no problem here, and we had no close encounters with any wildlife. We did hear coyotes in the distance the first night, which was nice.
Campsites 1-3 are at Cable Crossing**. Campsite #1 is the most secluded of the three, with a rock wall on one side which is nice. But it’s the least level of the sites. I don’t like it because of that. Site 2 is flat, but small. Site 3 is large and flat. We had 4 tents there easily. These sites are right along the main trail, so there’s a lot of traffic. Wood to burn is very scarce here. But being at the creek crossing, water isn’t a problem. Water filter is a necessity for camping in this little wilderness. Finding a good tree to hang food here was impossible. We did the best we could, but if something wanted the food, they were going to get it. It was hung pretty low. We had no scavenger activity. I think the likelihood of bears here is very small, but we always hang because it’s a good habit. The hike in to Cable Crossing from the parking lot is pretty easy. A little harder than the Upland trail to the point, but still pretty easy. It’s Just past the intersection of the main trail with the Trail up to the point where this area starts to get strenuous. At this point, I have only been as far In as Big Laurel Falls (I really love Big Laurel). The hike from Cable Crossing to Big Laurel is no joke. I’d call it moderately difficult. But I’ve heard it gets even harder past there. I’m going to day hike the rest of it soon. I’ve just had so much fun exploring the first 2.5 miles of this place, learning all I can about the first half of it.
**Just on the other side of the cable crossing is an “unofficial” campsite. It’s not a designated site, but it gets a lot of use and I’ve seen Forestry employees interacting with folks camping there and it seemed fine/acceptable.