It was ok. We chose a group site. It was difficult to stake our tent due to the massive root systems. Bathhouse was unclean and outdated. There was swimming, but beware of the snakes lurking in the wall you have to step down into the water from. The beach area is also a drive from the camp. Small fishing and peddle boats are offered for a rental fee.
This place was absolutely amazing from start to finish! The campsite is a little small, but well dispersed amongst the rest. We had plenty of shade thanks to the trees, and I honestly can’t think of anything negative about our experience here.
It was peaceful at night and the lightening bugs that took shelter under our rainfly at night looked like a spectacular star show. I’ve never seen anything like it before.
Bathhouse is beautiful. Weird to say about a bathroom, I know, but it really was. Gorgeous cedar stalls helped to cut any odors, the showers were equipped with cedar benches, safety rails for those needing assistance, and a mobile shower head to ensure you get all those hard to reach spots. They were cleaned regularly, and there was even a sink with a sprayer around back that made cleaning our camp dishes a breeze.
They have a book barn!!! It’s a small building full of all kinds of different books you or your kids can borrow to read while there, and return when done. This was so cool to me and a rarity. My kids loved it and read every evening.
There is a large playground near the camp area by a creek, with a bathhouse, pavilions, and picnic area right across the park road.
So many cool trails that ranged from easy to difficult and were well marked. Take the S Old Mac trail to see an old dynamite shed about 0.4 miles in. Take the interpretive loop to walk across the beautiful wooden bride, or cool off in the ice cold creek below it with easy access.
They have two trails that lead to falls, and are relatively easy to hike. There’s another trail called the storybook trail that has lots of pictures and information to stop and read along the way.
Frozen Head has a rich history tied to the historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary that once housed some of the most dangerous murderers, rapists, and all out criminals in the US. You can visit this abandoned prison roughly 20 mins away in Petros, TN and even talk to some of the former inmates.
And last but not least, the Rangers were amazing! They held so many activities for the kids and were so patient with answering their questions. Even the volunteers we would encounter were kind and full of information.
Loved loved loved this place!
We had ten people, so we opted for a group site. We had plenty of room, weren’t far from the bathhouse, and had shade.
There are black bears, so be prepared for this and keep your food stored properly. We even saw a momma and cub on our way down the mountain.
Cades Coves Loop was awesome. So much history, trails, and creeks to play in. The view can’t be beat and the pictures don’t do it justice!
It wasn’t far from the water, but the sites were pretty small, the grill was in the center which made it difficult to place tents safely, and was the site itself was also on a slight grade.
Word to the wise, do NOT purchase their firewood! No amount of lighter fluid, hell fire, or lava could get it to catch. It would only char. However, if you can find some sourgum wood laying around in the surrounding woods like we did, it will give the most entrancing fire you’ll ever see with ember that look like dancing glass.
Bathhouse was heated and cleaned regularly. Very nice!
Awesome bridge going over water that leads over to the cabin side of the park. The bridge had benches and covered shade to rest along the way which was really cool.
Small park in the tent campground that really needs updating, but the one on the cabin side (other side of bridge), was really big and nice. The kids loved playing on it, shooting hoops on the basketball court, and the volleyball court inspired us to invest in a camping volleyball for next time :)
Gorgeous waterfalls (pictures don’t do it justice) close by and hiking. Campsites are very small and on top of each other. Gravel pad. The trees provide partial shade. Glad we anchored our tents well, as their was a tornado warning on our first night with down limbs. Rangers were friendly and came by to check on everyone just before the storm hit, as well as after.
Bathhouse was pretty standard, nothing special, but at least it was clean.
Hiking trails are not well marked, and due to the terrain; I would not recommend taking small children. I mean, it IS named Rock Island after all.
The swimming area had very stagnant water and it was not appealing whatsoever.
Nice play area and some really cool things to look at on your way in. Dollar general 10 mins away.
We always book in the Bruton Branch campground. It’s right on the water, which is nice, but there is poison ivy everywhere along the bank, so pay attention. The bathhouse is nice, has 4 bathrooms/showers, but cleanliness just depended on who else had used it. It was a lot of fun, aside from the noisy gas generator that sounded like a lawnmower outside of my tent at 2am. But we fished and swam (rocky bottom, bring water shoes).
***If you want to fish with minnows, buy them somewhere else. Everywhere near there charges outrageous and they all died within 2 hours despite having an aerator)
Free on a FCFS basis. Roomy. Clean. Well maintained. Beautiful falls to go see. Careful on the hiking trails though, many cross paths with no directions on how to get back to camp. We wondered around for a few hours before making it out. Loved it there though and can’t wait to go back!