The campground itself is nice. Great location off of newfound gap road, with tent sites along a rushing creek. Large sites, although not very private. Flush toilets and running water, but no showers. The office staff was friendly. A few trails start from the campground with plenty more a quick drive away.
My arrival left a bad taste in my mouth. Long story short, my reserved site had equipment set up when I arrived after hours (8pm) and a call to the ranger gave me three options: move that person’s tent, take someone else’s reserved spot (campground was full) or leave and go to another campground. I was told there was no ranger or camp host to assist. I grabbed a reserved spot and luckily no one showed up. The next morning, I asked the office if I could just keep my new spot, rather than set up everything again and was told that I could not. However, the office told me that the person on my spot should not be there, but they did nothing to move him. I had to wait until he left on his own so I could move my stuff, wasting a lot of the morning.
This was my fifth trip to the Smokies this year, and it is obvious that the most visited national park is also the most understaffed. Very little ranger presence and consequently plenty of disregard for the rules, especially after 5pm.
This place is great. The campsites are pretty spaced out, especially for a state park. Plenty of trees for shade and privacy. The restrooms are fairly clean, but a little run down. Showers and utility sinks are available though and there seemed to be plenty of restrooms throughout. The store is well stocked and staff friendly. Miles of trails for horses, bikes and hiking. Beaches, lakes, and small bird of prey exhibit. Plenty of bird feeders around so lots of opportunities to see birds. My only complaint was that the “community” water spigots were hard to find, and usually on someone’s campsite. In one case I experienced, this lead one camper to believe that the spigot belonged to him. Small issue and didn’t ruin a great experience.
Beautiful scenery. A few different hiking trails, short and long, restaurant, on site store. Easy to spend a few days here. Different types of campsites, not incredibly private but typical for a state park. Can get really crowded but worth it.
Free spot with restrooms (no showers). Just of the Natchez Trace parkway, which is nice for biking and scenic drives. A small trail takes a tour of the remains of a ghost town. Camping spots are spread out and have decent tree cover. Saw deer in the campgrounds on my last visit.
Free spot with drinking water. Vault toilet. A few actual spots with fire pits and tables, but lots of make shift spots around the lake. Gets really crowded during weekends but if you get there early, you can find a secluded spot.
Pros: Very nice campground. Clean bath houses with showers, beautiful lake with a small beach. Access to mountain bike trails. Verizon cell reception for those going completely out of touch.
No's: Campsites are on top of each other with very little tree cover. Also, tents cannot be set up on grass; only on their "tent pads." (jagged rocks). I asked the camp host if any sites had actual tent pads instead of rocks and was told no.