Asher K.

Pro

Birmingham, AL

Joined June 2016

I am an MD/PhD student living in the south who loves camping and my goal is to explore as much of the Alabama wilderness as I can while training here.

Small site close to parking area

This is the first (or last) site you will pass coming from or going to the Sipsey River Trailhead off of Cranal Road. It is only a short walk down the trail on the right side and is a small clearing with an established fire pit. Nothing special about this site except how close it is to the parking which would work nicely if you get a late start. There is a small cave a little further back from the trail but people have left a lot of trash here. There is easy access to the river for water and the site is high enough up to be safe from flooding. Overall I would recommend continuing on to better sites further down the trail but this will work in a pinch.

Nice clearing along the water

This is a small but well-cleared site that would work well for a small group. Check out my other reviews in the area for a better overview of the hiking in Sipsey. This site has an established fire pit and easy access to (purifiable) water.

Woodland Shelter

My wife and I stayed at the shelter while doing a backpacking loop in the smokies. We started at Newfound gap and followed the AT north towards Charlie's Bunion then headed down to the shelter at the split. The views along the ridge are incredible and this is some of the best hiking in the area. I highly recommend this loop and the distance works out nicely for a single night. The shelter itself is nothing too special but has all the amenities of the shelters in the area. There is a bear cable set up so you can hang your gear and multiple fire pits along with a fireplace in the shelter itself for very cold nights. Normally you are required to stay within the shelter but due to COVID concerns, you are temporarily allowed to set up a tent in the area surrounding the shelter. This was a nice option and there were already several established sites. Overall it's not as nice a view as you get staying up on the ridge but it's a quieter area with more privacy and will probably have more space available if you need to book last minute.

Great trail, terrible campsite

First off I would say that the Bartram trail is one of my favorite through hikes in the southeast and I actually got engaged on one of the sections. However, this particular site, listed as a campground on the official Bartram trail NC map, is not worth staying at. I looked around and checked the map several times but it is really just a clearing. There is no firepit, no water, and no good flat area for a tent. In a pinch, you could set up a hammock here and camp for the night but my suggestion would be to plan on staying at one of the nearby backcountry sites with a better setup. I have posted reviews of those as well so check them out. If you are still interested I would suggest watching my video first.

Large site near trailhead

This is a really great group backpacking site near the Mooney gap trailhead and near the AT that is perfect for heading up to the nearby Albert Firetower. I would first suggest checking out my video since that will give you the best idea of what the site provides. However, I do want to suggest that if you stay here don't continue down the trail I went on since it doesn't actually connect back to the main trail. I had to do a little bit of climbing/bushwacking to rejoin my group. The only major downside to this site is it doesn't have super easy water access but since it is so close to the parking area this is something that can be prepared for.

Small clearing

This is a small clearing alongside the Glen Falls trail with an established firepit that would work for a night of camping. However, I would definitely recommend looking at other options in the area, especially the site at the bottom of the falls since this one is not a great option. It is very close to the parking area and trailhead if you are stuck in a situation where you need a night to camp though.

Small area for camping near parking

This site is a small clearing near the parking trailhead for Picken's Nose that has an established firepit and a space prepared for a single tent or a pair of hammocks. It does not have much to offer other than the fact that it is so close to the car. It would be a good spot to set up if you want to get some early climbing in but don't want to hike in with all your camping gear. You will definitely get a better view and the camping is better at the actual climbing area but this is a decent alternative if you get a late start.

Amazing if available

This is really an incredible camping site. The shelter is well maintained and they have taken all the COVID precautions. Another feature of this shelter that is really special is the composting toilet bathroom. They built an entire stall to help with waste buildup at the site. The shelter itself is very large and has a bench for sleeping on along with a fireplace to keep everyone warm. At the moment they are asking people to sleep outside as a safety precaution but in the future, this is a wonderful communal place to sleep. This is a very busy trail and highly trafficked but still worth the stay. If you are considering this site though make sure to book it early cause it can get full. Finally, I would suggest visiting all the small side trails along the way since the views are incredible!!!!

Protected Campsite

Check out my photos below to get a better look at this site and pull up my other reviews of Cheaha for my take on hiking in the area. This site specifically is a nice protected area a short way off the trail near the intersection of the Pinhoti and the Odum trail. It is not far from a water source though the water is seasonal and can be very low in winter. Be prepared to not have water for pumping and bring extra in dry times. The site itself is well cleared and has an established fire pit. There are also several large boulders that work well to block the wind and make this a more comfortable space in bad weather or when it is cold out.

Small car camping site

This is a cute car camping site that we have stayed at several times. It provides great access to hiking in Cheaha and is perfect as a home base for adventures in the area. It was actually closed for COVID when we were there but I believe that it is now reopened. I would definitely check online to make sure it is open before planning to camp here. I would definitely suggest this site over the main Cheaha campgrounds since it is more private and primitive which I prefer. Not a great site for RVs though.

Unique Experience!!!

Camping here is a very unique experience and completely different than most other campgrounds so I will try and make sure to include enough details to repeat our trip. This"campsite" is really just a large embankment along the Tennessee River on land owned by the TVA. They have a policy that on certain parts of their land along the Tenessee River you are allowed to camp following leave no trace rules. Make sure to follow the link for the campsite to learn more. Although you can use any of their lands there are limited areas that are flat or large enough to comfortably set up a tent. This particular site(GPS coordinates above) is a great space and was perfect for a night along the river. We parked our car on the southern side of the Guntersville dam and put in our boats at the loading ramp. we then kayaked with our gear in dry bags up the river past the amazing views of the painted bluff. We parked our boats for a quick swim(with life vests, the current was really strong) and hiked around the shore where there is a cave. We continued on upriver and finally found this particular site where we set up for the night. The banks of the river are pretty steep so finding a large enough site can be challenging. Be prepared to have extra time to search for another site if the river level is high. On the whole, this was one of the most amazing camping experiences I have ever had and I highly recommend it.

AT Backpacking Site

This is a spacious backcountry clearing with an established fire pit that is perfect for a group with 1 or 2 tents. It is located very near where the road bumps into the AT and is a great spot to camp near the fire tower. If you can get to one of the sites up on top those have a better view option but this one is nice if it's cold and you want to be more protected from bad weather. The area, in general, is gorgeous and has beautiful hiking year-round. Check out my video below to get a better view of this site.

Well maintained shelter

This is a review for the backpacking shelter located along the Pinhoti trail in Weogufka State Forest. This is the closest camping site to the Southern Terminus of the trail and is a great overnight option. The shelter is has a platform that goes around 3 walls on the inside which is enough space for about 3 people to stay comfortably. It is also very well maintained and has a logbook. Additionally, another nice feature of this site is the picnic bench and large firepit situated out in front of the shelter. There is also incredibly easy water access since the shelter sits alongside the creek. When we were here recently there had just been a hurricane that came through a couple of days earlier and there were a ton of trees down. But it seems like there was already maintenance in process to clear the area out. Just be aware that this made it hard to find the trail at points so come prepared with a map. Check out my video review below to get a better look inside the shelter.

Easy water access

This is a nice sized campsite alongside the river right off of the Chinnabee Silent Trail. Check out my video below for my take on this site. It is definitely one of the larger and more developed backcountry sites along the trail and is far enough back from the river to not have to worry about flooding. I also liked how close it is to the waterfall so you could set up camp and go for a nice evening swim before cooking dinner. It's probably not the best option if you only have a hammock to sleep in but for a tent it is perfect. If you are not an early riser be aware that this site is right alongside the trail so you may hear people who get out on the trail in the morning. Overall, there are many sites to choose from along this trail and most of the year you will have your pick. If you are backpacking in the busy season though this is a great site if you can get it early.

Wooded private site

This is a beautiful little secluded site along the AT right near Albert Mountain. It is a well-established site that has a built-up fire-pit and plenty of level ground for tents. The trees will also work nicely for a hammock set up. Check out my video for more discussion and a closer look at some of the features of this site.

Review Update

I was back at this site again over the summer and got some updated photos and I wanted just to refresh my review. There was ample water for pumping while there this time and I wanted to share that this is by far one of the best sites in the area for large groups. If you are coming with a church or boy scout group you can't beat the space that this site provides. It is also at the intersection of multiple trails which makes it perfect for backpacking loops.

Pinhoti Group Site

Check out my other reviews of the area for more discussion of my favorite trails and watch the video below for a good view of this site. Overall, it is a large site with a nice fire pit perfect for a large group. Someone also conveniently set up logs for sitting on. The only downside is this site doesn't have a view from the site itself but it's only a short walk to one of the nearby overlooks. Be prepared to do some serious climbing to get up to the ridge though.

Incredible View

This campground is located at the top of Albert Mountain right next to the fire tower. It is along a section of the AT and is a great place to camp for the night. This site is also accessible via car by driving up the forestry road though you will still have to hike in a short way. The site itself is a small clearing with a little built up firepit. There is plenty of space for 1-2 tents and it is somewhat protected by shrubs. Overall it's worth camping at this site since you can climb up the tower to get an incredible view for either sunrise or sunset. When we were here the gate to the top of the firetower was locked but you could still get up the stairs and have a nice view.

Easy access to the bike trail

This is a small RV and tent campground at the start of the Chief Ladiga trail bike path. The trail itself goes all the way to the Georgia line and is an incredible and well-maintained bike path. The campground itself is nice and clean but nothing special. It is right alongside the main road and provides little to no privacy. You basically drive up and park in one of the designated areas along a small gravel loop and the whole area looks just like a grassy field. The city does keep the park very clean though the bathrooms could use some renovations (and better ventilation). Overall, it works as an overnight spot before starting the trail if you want to get an early start but nothing to write home about. One important thing to note is that the park does not have full time staff so you will need to call and reserve ahead to get a code that let's you in the gate.

Large secluded site

As I noted in several of my other reviews check out my review of the Sipsey falls campground for a comprehensive account of my favorite hiking and camping in the area. 

This campsite in particular is located on a small ridge after passing the Sipsey falls area. It is fairly large with two established firepits and multiple cleared areas for tents. It also has plenty of trees for setting up hammocks. I like this site in particular since it is one of the less crowded spots. I only give it 4 stars however since if available some of the best sites are right next to Sipsey falls a little further along where you have access to water for pumping and swimming when the weather is right. 

As always make sure to leave no trace and make the site cleaner than when you found it.