The weekend we decided to stay was the same weekend a water main break happened in downtown Chattanooga, leaving everyone without water. The staff was tremendous! They took it in stride and did everything they could to make it a comfortable stay. The campground was well maintained and we loved the pool! We will be back again to check out the cavern and pan for some gems.
The walkin sites are amazing here! We had site number 21 and it had plenty of trees to hang our 4 hammocks. The west rim hike was nice and accessible from the campsite. It was in the 90s while we were there, but enjoyable under the shade of the trees. Rangers were super helpful with any questions we had. Bathrooms were ok at the walkin area, but not the best I've seen. The showers were hard to manage for my husband who is 6 ft. He said the shower head was at his chest and the stall was on the small side. Other than that, I have no complaints and would definitely go back. There were no mosquitoes when we went in July. The crickets are super loud when it gets dark. Drove around the west and east campgrounds too. The west have more privacy and tree coverage. the east is closer to the falls with less trees and more traffic through. The cabins looked super nice on the east side and the yurts were on the west side of the park. I would totally stay in the walkin sites again. We also visited nearby Lula Lake while we were there. They have certain weekends when they are open to the public. Hiking trails and more waterfalls to see.
We arrived on a Saturday morning to reserve a walkin site that was available online. Paid for the site at the office only to arrive at the site and see that it was already taken, along with all the others. Went back to the office to inform them and then were told the ranger would go check on it. Drove back to the office an hour later to be told that the site was actually the people who were already there, even though it was available in the computer. Offered a $7 refund and a different site not next to the water, like we wanted. It was poor communication all the way around and the campground was overly crowded more than the allotted cars per campsite at multiple sites. Archery activity was canceled for that day, but the people in the office had no idea why. Not on my list of places to go back to.
Positives for the park, sunsets over the lake were gorgeous and the bathrooms were nice.
The only reason I gave this campground a 4 instead of 5 stars is because the bathhouse near the tent sites was undergoing renovations and not usable. We had a good walk to go to the other bathroom. Also, several trails were closed due to down bridges from the hurricane. Other than that it was a really pretty park with lots of history. We enjoyed all the wildlife we saw and the campsites were spaced out with a little vegetation in between each. There is plenty to do at this campground from trails, museum, fort, water activities… Also, there is a restaurant at the marina before you come into the park. We didn't get a chance to stop by, but it was packed out, so I'm assuming it's tasty. There was an Omelette Cafe about 15 minutes from the park, that had an amazing breakfast for our long ride home.
We absolutely loved our large site, right on the lake. #82 was amazing! There were even a couple wooden benches down by the lake. We had just enough beach area to sit on the bank while the boys played in the water. The bath house was just down the hill from our spot and it was pretty central to all the sites. The sunset views were breathtaking and we thoroughly enjoyed our long weekend here.
This campground was much smaller than I thought it would be for an attraction as big as the falls and Appalachian Approach Trail, but it was lovely. The outer sites offered plenty of privacy and shade. Lots of cute little snails moseying along. The campsite is close enough to walk to the lodge to have a meal, but don't plan on supper at the lodge on Mother's Day. They apparently closed the restaurant down early. The staff was super sweet though and gave us a boxed lunch. After a peaceful night of rest at the campsite, we drove down to the visitor center and began the Appalachian Approach Trail. The waterfall view was great at midpoint, especially since it had just rained. It was 8.5 miles to Springer Mountain with lots of friendly people to chat with along the way. There were plenty of places to stop for a rest or to camp overnight. We decided to hike all 17 miles in one day and it was tough. Overall it's a beautiful place and we would definitely stay here again.
This campground was breathtaking with Spanish moss dripping from the trees. Loved the privacy of the campsites and the trails. Plenty of water activities to do and history to learn.