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.
I was not a fan of this campsite. Bathrooms need a lot of TLC and the sites were too close together. However, there is a park near by and several hiking trails.
Big Ridge State Park has two options for camping, the campground with hookups and bathroom facilities, or three backcountry sites. So this review is for the backcountry. There are three choices of sites in then backcountry, and we stayed at Sharps Station Site. First of all, this was a beast of a hike, both in and out. I plan to never do it again! It is extremely strenuous, with some serious elevation changes, very steep terrain, and overgrown brushy trails that will leave your arms and legs scratched up. Not to mention, the sites are so confusing! The trail maps don’t have the sites clearly marked, and either the booking system, or the signage is incorrect, making is difficult to figure out how to get to your site. For example, when I booked Sharps Station site, it shows it as being #3, but on the signs in the park, the Sharps station site is listed as campsite #2, and the dark hollow sites are #1 and #3. Another issue with the maps, is that it shows the Sharps station site as being on the water, and that is not the case. The site is above the water, on a ridge, so you have to hike another .20 miles down and back up to get your water. So here’s how you get to Sharps Station Site- park at the grist mill, walk right for approx. .2 to the big valley trailhead, follow big valley trail to Indian rock trail, it’s a loop, so you can go either way, we went counterclockwise, and had to go down the super steep terrain. If you go clockwise, you will come to the Sharps station trail before you get to the site, and you can decide if you want to camp down on the water, or hike up .2 to the site. That being said, if you still choose to make the grueling hike to camp at Sharps station site, do yourself a favor and hit the Sharps station trail and camp on the water. Plenty of spots on that short trail. I gave this site only two stars because I feel like there are plenty of other areas you can find backcountry sites that are as good or better with a whole lot less effort to get to. However, we did not see anyone once we got on the Indian rock trail, so you will be all alone out there, and that is nice. And the hike in and out might be better in the early spring or later in fall when it’s not so overgrown with blackberries and such. I don’t believe I’ll hike this place ever again, I may put in my kayak and paddle over to the site, but that hike is no joke!
Great place to swim for the summer with the kids
Fun place to camp with family and friends.
Nice campground bathroom not bad, I got a discount for Military and winter rates which came to 15 bucks not bad for a night stay. Maybe 5 campers in whole campground. Looks like it has a lot of summer activities.
Despite the park being practically deserted, the bathrooms were filthy. We requested they be cleaned on two different occasions over our six day visit and were assured that had been done however there was never any evidence of that actually taking place. The only action we saw out of the ranger was a daily drive by. Most of the sites are very close together which would be too cozy when the park is busy. Everything is very run down and basic maintenance is not seeming to happen.
The campground is nice there are facilities there. A pool, a lake, has a place to ride bicycles. There are some hiking trails. The park is clean , staff are friendly and helpful.
Big Ridge State Park has nothing within 30 minutes and we are talking some winding roads. Enjoyable drive in but bring your food.
The campground has two levels and three sections. There are two new, clean showerhouses and one old showerhouse.
At the front of the campground are ADA sites, the second section is closest to the lake, good for fishing. Then you drive/walk up the hill past the beach area to the top level which have several sites. There are stairs that connect back to the lower level.
There are water sports and hiking trails to enjoy and nice group areas for get togethers.
Big ridge has everything you could ask for in a campground for the family