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Adwolf, VIRGINIA
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Awesome hiking, Quiet Campground

This is an amazing park, with a total of 4,822 acres to explore. It's a dream for hikers, allowing you to embark on numerous day hikes and connect with the Appalachian Trail. As many folks have also mentioned, there are feral ponies in the park, and if you hike on the Wilburn Ridge from Massie Gap, you will almost definitely see them. 

During my visit, I camped on a Monday night in early May. I did not make reservations, and there were plenty of sites available, although it was way busier than I expected. I'd say that half of the campsites were taken at Hickory Ridge Campground where I pitched my tent.

There are a few choices available here. If you choose a "primitive" site, which simply means no hook-ups, you pay your fee and choose whichever site is open when you get to the campground. You can not choose a specific site in advance. If you choose a site with full hook-ups, then you can pick the one you want. There are also four yurts available, but you have to book them for at least 2 nights in a row.

Primitive sites are $37 a night for out-of-state residents, which I think is quite pricy. The sites are also quite close together and not very private. Restrooms are clean and firewood is $6 for a bundle. 

I stayed in site #15, and while it wasn't private, I was lucky to have very nice and quiet neighbors. This is an amazing park, and I would definitely return to do some backpacking or to hike up Virginia's highest peak, Mt. Rogers. The four-star-rating is mainly because the sites are close together and because the campsites are expensive.

Beautiful Blue Lake in Mountain Valley

Amazing lake front camping. rock bed lake creates a dark blue color instead of the brown many lakes in the area have. Great place to rent a pontoon boat for the day and explore the lake!

Convenient to the Interstate!

One mile off the Interstate, but you would never know it! A large hill at the west side of the park blocks most of the noise. There's even cows on the hill! Super nice people that run it, as well as the campers visiting. Each campsite has a level space, shade, and picnic table. Full hook ups, including cable! There is a very clean pool, but it was not open. Just wish there was a wildlife area with flowers here….

Great Campground! Family friendly!

Love this campground. My family has been going here for years. There is a beautiful stream running through the campground that doubles as an amazing playground for the kids. Bathrooms are nice. The office area is nice and stocked with games. It’s in a great location very close to Boone and Blowing Rock. The sites often get booked quickly, so reserve spots well in advance!

Great views over Burkes Garden

We've made this hike several times with our dogs. It is a great shorter hike with great views over Burkes Garden (nicknamed God's Thumbprint). At the top is a clearing where camping is possible. There is a shelter at the top; this location is located along the Appalachian Trail and has wodden bunks and single platforms for pads and sleeping bags. There is also a fire pit located outside the shelter.

A State Park Campground for Almost Every Type of Camper

I could easily give this campground five stars, but I am the type of tent camper that likes more wilderness. This campground actually a few "campgrounds" within the park and for almost every type of camper. Camp Burson is the first one you see upon entering the state park (as far as I know, since the park is really lonnggg! It is best suited for RVs, but there are gravel spaces for tents. Another campground in the park has pull-through sites, but there were also a couple of tents there. Since we are mainly tent campers, we went to the third camping area, which also had yurts. The yurts have one double bed but not water. The part that I didn't like, but many tent campers would love, is that you have to pitch your tent on a wooden deck. It's great for camping in the rain because the water doesn't have a chance to puddle. However, I'm the type that likes more primitive camping out in the woods, but I'm not holding that against Hungry Mother. Hungry Mother is a great state park, and the sites are wonderful (unless you are strange like me and prefer more primitive camping). As we drove around, we also saw several cabins and at least one or two lodges. I got the feel that it was almost a gated community, which for some people is not a bad thing. Again, there are opportunities for almost every type of "camper."

As far as I know, this is the first state park that had a restaurant. Unfortunately, we were there in April before it opened, so we missed out on that. The bath and shower facilities are modern with tile floors, which I find as a pleasant surprise for a state park. Camping there is April can actually be a good thing. You can avoid the crowds at the beach (although the water is cold) and there are a good number of empty campsites. This state park also has canoe, kayak, and paddle boat rentals. There is a basketball court and a playground, which is next to the beach. We didn't really stay long enough to enjoy the hiking trails or the fishing, but there are several hiking and biking trails from easy to moderate. The beauty of this park is amazing! With the background of mountains behind the lake, it doesn't get much better. I really would love to go back again and camp for more than just one night to enjoy it all.

Absolutely awesome. Very clean and lots for kids to do.

Very clean campground. Has nice pool with waterside and game room with bowling and food and much more. The owners are the best people as well. They are so good to out camping club. Our favorite place.

Amazing experience

Great campsite with an amazing added bonus- WILD HORSES AND PONIES. (Short hike from the campsite) This campsite had everything we needed- Firewood, fire starters, etc. for purchase right there at the campsite. Spaces are a little close together but it’s nothing out of the ordinary for a state park. Great hikes close by with sweet wild ponies that let you get close for pictures. Bathrooms were clean and there was a nice area for a picnic with swings and other things for kids. (Camped June 2 2018)

Lacking

Stone mountain park is amazing but the campgrounds are lacking. The park host was unhelpful and rude. The wood was overpriced and was more kindling than anything else. Very little spots with actual shade. Cramped feeling throughout. The showers/bathroom were disgustingly dirty and for the women's room there is only one large trash bin with zero in the stalls. You tell a pre-teen to walk her sanitary supplies out to the main bin and see the reaction you get! Simple things like that would improve most anyones experience. We deove the rv portion and the lack of shade and space was even worse! The pads are spacious and level but hard as a rock so staking is tricky. We crammed in 2 days worth of activities into one so that we could leave a night early. I think we might have been a little salty and maybe overly harsh in our review because of how we were treated by the host. We've only had one stay that ranked lower than stone though.

Wild Flower Heaven

First thing we were told by the park rangers was to, 'beware of bears"! Seriously! It was a beautiful park with large lake. We hiked to the lake from our site, only 1.2 miles. The lake had a diving platform in the middle, which of course we had to try! The bottom was so deep, I never hit it! Saw many beautiful flowers, and lots of ducks. There was a very clean laundry room.

Mount Rogers

Variety of types of campsites. Amazing sights and wild ponies! The AT provides some great hiking.

Great Place

Polite staff, relaxed vibe, rustic but clean bathrooms. Campsites on the river. Rushing sounds to pull you to sleep. Tons of hiking nearby but also close to shops and restaurants in Boone.

Great place on a Blue Ribbon Trout stream

Small campground .

Delayed Harvest trout stream , well stocked in spring, larger fish stocked in fall, October I think . Probably 2 - 3 miles of good fishable water . Beautiful 100 yr old church across from the camp ground .

Backcountry camping Grayson Highlands along the Appalachian Trail

Scenic trails crossing multiple terrain with wild horses and steer. AT shelter (but it gets a little loud and party like) - Trails also intersect with the Appalachian Trail. Nice outcropping of trees for hammock hang near huge field of wild berries. Just keep in mind that all kinds of animals like berries as well. Showers are available in the state park (for a small fee) so you can un-stink yourself before returning to the real world from the backcountry. Soap and shampoo are way overpriced at the small campground store in the state park.

Amazing

Probably the only campsite in the Carolinas that I cant put words to reveiw on. Amazing people, food, trails. Wow. Stunned.

Relaxing

This is a very small, secluded campground, but easily able to access a ton of must-see destinations!

Little piece of heaven!

Love this little piece of heaven! Kept secret cuz it’s so peaceful and the owners are so amazing and friendly! Great environment and actually staying here right now with my husband and kids! Plan to stay!

Great place to camp!

Beautiful place! We camped there toward the end of October 2018. Campsites are level and plenty long enough. Bathhouse was extremely clean. Hosts were very friendly and helpful. We camped with 3 other families. It’s a little hilly for kids to ride bikes, but the 6 kids with us managed to have a great time on theirs! We did not take advantage of the swimming area, but I would not hesitate to use it. Great place to launch a boat. Lake was gorgeous! Absolutely the easiest and cleanest dump station we have ever used! Well designed! Close to Willesboro!

Clean and well-maintained

Friendly and helpful office staff, clean bathrooms, washer and dryer available.

Beautiful Long Hikes

The profile trail is a great hike but it is 3.6 miles of mostly uphill on rugged terrain. Permits are required on this trail. They are free and available at the trailhead. We also visited the swinging bridge which was a very short and windy hike with great views.

Decent

The campgrounds were perfect for a few days and there were enough hiking trails around to keep us busy. Most of the trails were very easy, but the view on top of Stone Mountain was nice. I don’t think it was exceptional but overall was a nice camping trip.

A beautiful basecamp for hikers and horseback riders

With camping just a moderate day hike away from Mount Rogers, the highest point in Virginia, this campground is a hiker's paradise.

There is little to no cell signal here, so coming to Grayson Highlands is one of the few state parks in Virginia where you can truly go "off the grid" during the length of your stay--and you won't miss technology, because there is so much to do at this park. From the aforementioned Mount Rogers--an 8.5 mile out-and-back, to the 1.5 mile but difficult Cabin Trail that takes you to a waterfall, to the wild ponies who will approach hikers along the Rhododendron Trail, any fitness level will find hiking they can enjoy. When we stayed the outer bands of Hurricane Michael brought so much fog and rain that we were not able to see any of the ponies, but we did hear one a couple of times, very near Massie's Gap!

As for camping there are two frontcountry campgrounds. All sites have picnic tables and fire rings, and bathrooms with electricity and flush toilets*

Chestnut Hollow Campground:

-There are 23 sites here with water and electric hook-ups May-October, and this loop is available as primitive camping March, April, and November. *During this time bathrooms are pit toilets only

-Horse-friendly; there are stables located adjacent to this loop

-These sites are very small; if you are in a tent I recommend no larger than a 4 person.

-Not a lot of privacy between sites, especially near the back of the loop. Most sites are right agains the road and have little space to move around; I would not recommend this loop if you have small children who are going to want space to run and play

Hickory Ridge Campground

-This is the larger of the loops at GHSP; there are 64 campsites ranging from standard tent sites without water or electric, to full service sites with water and electric hookups.

-Tent sites 1-18 are the furthest from hookup sites and will therefore be the quietest; they are mostly small sites and very close to the road. Sites 10, 12, 13, and 14 are set back furthest from the road. There is a path behind sites 2-14 leading to the bathhouse behind site 14. Site 13 is easily the most private--and arguably the only truly private--tent site in this campground, with the driveway going behind a cluster of trees that shields the site from the road. We stayed in site 12 which easily fit our 6 person tent.

-Sites 31 and 32 are on a meadow the campsite loops around; they have no privacy and little shade, but ample room for kids to run around, and there is a set of swings near these sites. They are however right on the road so it may be easier to just walk to the swings and keep littles in a site without as much traffic. There is water right across from both of these sites.

-Even-numbered hookup sites 60-70 are also right on the meadow with very little shade

-All other sites are heavily shaded, although you'll be close to your neighbors

The camp store near the Hickory Ridge Loop sells ice, firewood, and just about anything you may possibly have forgotten to pack--firestarters, first aid supplies, marshmallows, and has as a gift shop with blankets, outerwear, and kitschy souvenirs.

Normally I would take off a star for lack of privacy of tent sites, however there is so much hiking here that your campsite can really be more of a basecamp than a place you want to sit and hang out all day long!

Great park along the Blue Ridge Parkway

You can’t beat the location of this campground, located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. We stayed in Loop D which has a brand new bath/shower house with six individual stalls with a bath/shower combo. The only thing missing was soap dispensers (I had to remember to bring soap every time I used the bathroom). Very nice and large dishwashing sink. Loop D is for tents so the driveways were small. We were able to fit our 17’ camper van but anything larger might not fit. Park personnel were very friendly and helpful. Wish firewood was available to purchase at the park as we didn’t buy any ahead of time. (You are permitted to pick up downed branches which was new to us). No electric sites and spotty internet but great hiking trails. Recommend the Boone Fork Trail but be prepared for many stream crossings!

Great Stop on the Parkway

The Doughton Park campground off of the Blue Ridge Parkway is a great place to spend the night without if you are driving along the Parkway and don't want to venture too far off course. The campground is much larger than I expected. There's an RV section on one side of the Parkway and a tent section that is on the other side. I only explored the tent side.

Although a little bit confusing, with concentric loops, there are many sites to choose from. Some loops and sites are more wooded and further from roads and amenities while others are more central and along a field. I opted for a more central site and ended up being the only person camping in that loop. At the end of October there were only three other campers in the whole tent side of the campground.

The hosts were friendly and helpful in choosing a site. The bathrooms are small but clean and there are easily accessible water sources about. There has been a young bear hanging about in the campground so they, very reasonably, ask that you keep all scent sources in your car.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is an incredible drive, my favorite section is south of this campground in North Carolina. Just along the VA-NC border the Blue Ridge Music Center is well worth the stop. There is free music there daily from 12-4!

Lovely Stop on the Parkway

The Doughton Park campground off of the Blue Ridge Parkway is a great place to spend the night without if you are driving along the Parkway and don't want to venture too far off course. The campground is much larger than I expected. There's an RV section on one side of the Parkway and a tent section that is on the other side. I only explored the tent side.

Although a little bit confusing, with concentric loops, there are many sites to choose from. Some loops and sites are more wooded and further from roads and amenities while others are more central and along a field. I opted for a more central site and ended up being the only person camping in that loop. At the end of October there were only three other campers in the whole tent side of the campground.

The hosts were friendly and helpful in choosing a site. The bathrooms are small but clean and there are easily accessible water sources about. There has been a young bear hanging about in the campground so they, very reasonably, ask that you keep all scent sources in your car.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is an incredible drive, my favorite section is south of this campground in North Carolina. Just along the VA-NC border the Blue Ridge Music Center is well worth the stop. There is free music there daily from 12-4!

Convenient Stop on the Parkway

The Doughton Park campground off of the Blue Ridge Parkway is a great place to spend the night without if you are driving along the Parkway and don't want to venture too far off course. The campground is much larger than I expected. There's an RV section on one side of the Parkway and a tent section that is on the other side. I only explored the tent side.

Although a little bit confusing, with concentric loops, there are many sites to choose from. Some loops and sites are more wooded and further from roads and amenities while others are more central and along a field. I opted for a more central site and ended up being the only person camping in that loop. At the end of October there were only three other campers in the whole tent side of the campground.

The hosts were friendly and helpful in choosing a site. The bathrooms are small but clean and there are easily accessible water sources about. There has been a young bear hanging about in the campground so they, very reasonably, ask that you keep all scent sources in your car.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is an incredible drive, my favorite section is south of this campground in North Carolina. Just along the VA-NC border the Blue Ridge Music Center is well worth the stop. There is free music there daily from 12-4!

Woody for Tent Campers and Sunny for RV'ers

The tent sites are built into a hill that provides an abundance of trees to hang hammocks and to keep well protected from the sun. The RV spots are located out in the open area and one loop sits right on a creek. The RV spots are sunnier with limited trees to shade from the sun during the summer months. For a NC state park, the bathroom and shower amenities are clean, warm and well stocked with toilet paper. The tent spots are a perfect place to hang hammocks and the tent pads are pretty sizable!

I am giving this review a 5 based on 2 different elements: 1) cleanliness of the camp site was beyond expectation. Not all campground hosts clean out the fire pit on a daily basis. When arriving, there was no trace of the former camper at all. No micro trash, no left over spikes and the campsite was freshly raked and all coals/ash were swept out of the fire ring. 2) welcoming personalities of the camp ground host and and employees. The campground host stopped to ask if we needed anything and to remind us the program that was taking place the next morning.

For tent camping, choose the following sites if you need to park 2 cars at the campsite: #7, #9, #14 and #18. The other campsites have enough space for one car at each site.

Ranger Review: RōM Outdoors RōM Pack at Hungry Mother State Park

Hungry Mother State Park, just a short drive off I-81 in southwestern Virginia, is an easily accessible gem offering modern cabins, yurts, and campgrounds equipped for tents or RVs, with limitless activities.

We stayed in one of the cabins after Hurricane Michael rained out our plans for tent camping. This was our first time in one of the VSP cabins, and will not be our last. There are three types of cabins; log exteriors, part of the original Civilian Conservation Corps structures; wooden frame cabins with wooden interiors, and cinderblock exteriors with tile floors. Cabins range from economy to three bedroom, and all have a kitchen with microwave, stove, and refrigerator/freezer, a bathroom with a shower, and a fireplace, as well as heating and air conditioning. Most cabins also have covered porches, exterior picnic tables, and exterior fire rings.

The Creekside Campground loop has water and electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. The layout is similar to most water/electric sites in state and national parks in Virginia; not much privacy between the sites, but fairly shaded, and a quiet atmosphere. This loop is true to its name, and right on the creek running through the park. We were there during the rains from Hurricane Michael and the creek was running so high that sites 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, and 19 looked like they were in danger of flooding.

The Royal Oak campground has platforms for tents set into the mountain rather than dirt or gravel tent pads, however as there are hooks in each of the pads to anchor your tent they can only accommodate tents with a 20x20 footprint. These sites have picnic tables and fire rings on the dirt beside the platforms. The two VSP Yurts at Hungry Mother are in the Royal Oak loop, along the entrance that are set up from the road. This loop overall offers a lot more privacy for each site that I have typically seen in state parks due to the platforms, though you will still see/hear your neighbors. Both camping loops have bathrooms with electricity, flush toilets, and showers with warm water.

Amenities in the park include a lake with a swimming area, boat/canoe rentals, fishing (with license), a restaurant, hiking, biking, and ranger programs. The park office also has several cool displays of local wildlife and history of the area, as well as backpacks you can check out with books and gear for tree, wildflower, and animal identification. Hiking varies from short and easy trails with minimal elevation gain, to the difficult Molly’s Knob trail with one of the most epic sunset views I’ve ever hiked in Virginia.

I love Virginia State Parks, and this is definitely a new favorite. I’m skeptical of the comfort of the wooden platforms for future tent camping trips, but the cabins will definitely be a future stay for us, particularly during the winter months, and there is so much to do in this park even the most reluctant adventurer will find fun.

**Product Review **

As as Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time — on this trip I tested the RōM pack, from RōM Outdoors.

I was skeptical about this pack when I first received it—it felt extremely heavy for a day pack, particularly as it doesn’t have a hip belt, and while I was impressed with the removable pockets, it didn’t seem like the pack itself had a lot of cargo capacity.

After using this pack on our trip, I am a convert. We used it to pack clothes for my husband and I, knowing we would be able to leave our clothes at camp when we went hiking. This freed up space in the car that would normally go to a larger backpack, and we got to take advantage of the pack’s ability to convert to both a poncho and a blanket, not just for review purposes, but out of necessity.

The poncho’s rain resistance held up well, considering we were hiking in the outer bands of a hurricane. The first hike we took this on we started in the rain, and my husband wore the poncho—he stayed dry for the first half mile of our hike, but by end of our mile the water had started leaking through so he did get a little wet—though mostly around the the seams/openings. On our second hike he wore it as a backpack. Because it was raining when we set out and we anticipated needing the poncho feature again, we elected not to bring the detachable pockets, but the interior of the pack was enough to hold our 5 year old’s day pack once she got tired of carrying it.

It stopped raining by the time we got to the summit of our hike, and we tested the blanket feature of the pack for a picnic. It unfolds to a size that was perfect for our family of four. The canvas is thick enough to make a great picnic blanket—it protects from damp ground and sharp rocks, and the lining makes for a very soft surface to sit on. On the way back I took advantage of the poncho. By this point it had gotten extremely windy and was getting dark quickly, and the poncho was excellent at keeping me warm. It’s very heavy, which was welcome in the strong wind, though it did make it hard to hear with the hood over my ears.

Pros to this pack:

-Versatility. In one trip we used the backpack, poncho, and blanket feature, and were grateful for all three.

-Durability. This is definitely a well-constructed pack, with heavy materials that seem like they will last for a long time.

-User-friendly. The pack looks intimidating at first, but it unfolds/folds from pack to poncho/blanket very easily. Combined with the drawstring inner pack and detachable pockets it’s easy to convert while still keeping track of your gear.

Cons to this pack:

-Space. This is great to bring on a camping trip where you can bring additional packs/bags for your gear, but it doesn’t hold much on its own.

-Weight. It only weighs in at 4.6lbs, which is less than a lot of backpacking packs, but as the pack doesn’t have the hip belt it’s a high starting weight.

-Thin straps. The width of the straps is comfortable, but they could use a little more padding.

Close to Town

2 night stay while traveling the east coast. Campground is very close to town so makes it very convenient to see the sites or run to the store for something. Friendly and helpful staff. Coffee bar on premises. Some sites seemed small and close together. Others were larger and more private so pick wisely. Bathhouse is a little dated but clean and functional. Will visit again.

Gorgeous riverside camping

I attended the Twin Rivers Chopper Campout this past September, and though it was an event that certainly changed the vibe—filled with motorcycles, music, a food truck, and a decent sized crowd of fantastic people—I could tell that this campground would be an absolutely lovely spot if you’re looking for a more unique, more quiet, car-camping experience. My friend and I set up our tent literal feet from the river that runs parallel to the campground, and I could’ve honestly stayed there for a week if I’d been able to! It seems a little bit of a sketchy drive into the primitive sites, but no one had any problems as far as I know—we certainly didn’t! There’s space for RV camping (I do believe) closer to the entrance of the campground, I saw plenty of people taking a float down-river, and the whole area surrounding the campground is filled with beautiful views of the blue ridge mountains just a short drive away. I’ll definitely be going back.