RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Allowed
Pets Allowed
Water Unknown
About Backbone Rock Recreation Area Pavilions and Campground

The campground has 10 single campsites, including two double sites within Backbone Rock Campground. The campground has flush toilets. Each site contains a table, fire ring and lantern holder.

The pavilions at Backbone Rock Recreation Area are popular locations for family reunions, weddings and other types of group gatherings. The two pavilions are in distinctly separate areas. Pavilion #1 is larger and adjacent to a large field, Beaverdam Creek and large parking area. Pavilion #2 is in a more secluded setting down old stone steps and along Beaverdam Creek.

Natural Features:

Backbone Rock Recreation Area is located along Beaverdam Creek in northern Johnson County. Backbone Rock gets its name from a spur ridge on Holston Mountain that ends abruptly at a bend in Beaverdam Creek. A tunnel was drilled through the rock in 1901 to allow railroad access between Shady Valley and Damascus, VA. Motorists pass through what is locally known as "The shortest tunnel in the world" as they travel along TN 133.


There is a trail that will take you to the top of Backbone Rock, following a stone-step wooded path. The trail crosses the rock and leads to Beaverdam Creek or Backbone Rock Falls. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail adjoins Backbone Rock Trail. Beaverdam Creek is known for its excellent fishing.


There is a CCC-era pavilion at each site with picnic tables and grills. The larger pavilion, Pavilion #1, includes a stone fireplace and four large picnic tables with additional tables and grills nearby. Vault toilets are located within the parking area. Pavilion #2 also has an original stone fireplace, four tables and nearby grills and additional tables. Parking and a vault toilet are located across the street from the picnic area.

Nearby Attractions:

Damascus, Virginia is five miles north of Backbone Rock for any in-town needs.

$10.00 - $20.00
National Forest
Drive In
ADA Accessible
Fires Allowed
Pets Allowed
Picnic Table
Backbone Rock Recreation Area Pavilions and Campground is located in Tennessee
36.5939 N
-81.815 W
Get Directions
Highway TN 133 north from Highway 91. The campsite is on Highway 133, just north of Backbone Rock.
2 Reviews of Backbone Rock Recreation Area Pavilions and Campground
We will definitely be back!

I read about multiple sites before choosing this one and I’m so glad we decided to come here. Beaver Dam Creek runs behind the campsite and is absolutely gorgeous with clear water, fish, and beautiful rhododendrons and trees that keep the area shaded. The spots are a good size with a fire pit, lantern poles, and water close by. The bathrooms were clean with toilet paper. Bring your own paper towels/hand soap. The town of Damascus is a short drive with a Food City where we were able to get firewood and a couple of things we needed.

As far as the specific camp spots go, we camped in spot #5 and really enjoyed the location. Spots #1 & 2 are closest to the main road, spot #3 is really nice but is a double spot, spots #4-6 are the ones I will choose from when we return, spot #7 is directly across from the bathroom, spot #8 is another double, and spots #9&10 are right across from the host and a little less private.

We have small children and enjoyed that this was a quiet site that felt very safe. We can’t wait to return!

First to Review
Perfect for small children without the chaos of a big campground!

Backbone rock sits on a small creek that runs behind most of the sites. It’s perfect for small children to swim and play in! The sites are all gracious in size, with plenty of trees in between. There are no showers, but the flush toilets are very clean. We love this campground because it is a hybrid between the remote camping we are use to and the ease of effort we now need because of small children! With just 11 sites, the campground chaos is kept to a minimal. There is also a short waterfall hike right out of the campground!