Michele Q.

Knoxville, TN

Joined September 2020

One of my favorite little primitive car camping spots

I love the seclusion this little campground has to offer. I’ve camped here many times over the years. There is a pit toilet, but no running water. There was a water pump but the last several times I went it was broken. Perhaps the well dried up. So, pack in water. I’ve heard more wildlife at night here than just about anywhere else. It’s not a campground for those who require amenities. But if, like me, you just love being in nature, it’s a lovely place to car camp. There is actually a small store a short drive up River Road at Green Cove with fishing supplies, drinks, snacks, etc. It’s a great launching point for exploring the area. In all the years I’ve been going there, it’s never been crowded, especially in the Fall season. There have been times we were the only ones there, and I think that’s great. I almost hate to write this review because I feel like it’s my special secret.

Virgin Falls Pocket Wilderness - Gem of a Place

This is one of my favorite areas to hike and camp. There are three official camping areas: Cable Crossing, Martha’s Pretty Point, and at Virgin Falls. There are two ways to get to the Point: the main trail (white blaze) and the Upland Trail (blue blaze). The Upland trail is about 2.4 miles to the point, is mostly a wide gravel logging road, and is easy until you get to a creek crossing in the woods where it is a little confusing as to which direction to take. We actually got a little lost in the woods on the last trip because it was overgrown at that spot and just wasn’t very obvious. But we retraced our steps and figured it out. Campsites 4-7 are up on the point. 7 is the largest and most secluded. 6 is also very nice. 5 is right along the main trail, across from the point, and 4 is right at the point, which sounds nice, but day hikers walk right through the site to get to the overlook. Part of the creek runs right below the point, past the ladder on the trail back down to the main trail (upland trail is somewhat of a loop). But don’t count on water. I hiked it two weeks before I went back and camped it. It was running when I hiked it, 2 weeks later it was dry despite having rained for days. We tarped rainwater the first night and hiked the half mile down to the creek on the main trail the next day for water. Finding a good tree to hang the food was no problem here, and we had no close encounters with any wildlife. We did hear coyotes in the distance the first night, which was nice. 

Campsites 1-3 are at Cable Crossing**. Campsite #1 is the most secluded of the three, with a rock wall on one side which is nice. But it’s the least level of the sites. I don’t like it because of that. Site 2 is flat, but small. Site 3 is large and flat. We had 4 tents there easily. These sites are right along the main trail, so there’s a lot of traffic. Wood to burn is very scarce here. But being at the creek crossing, water isn’t a problem. Water filter is a necessity for camping in this little wilderness. Finding a good tree to hang food here was impossible. We did the best we could, but if something wanted the food, they were going to get it. It was hung pretty low. We had no scavenger activity. I think the likelihood of bears here is very small, but we always hang because it’s a good habit. The hike in to Cable Crossing from the parking lot is pretty easy. A little harder than the Upland trail to the point, but still pretty easy. It’s Just past the intersection of the main trail with the Trail up to the point where this area starts to get strenuous. At this point, I have only been as far In as Big Laurel Falls (I really love Big Laurel). The hike from Cable Crossing to Big Laurel is no joke. I’d call it moderately difficult. But I’ve heard it gets even harder past there. I’m going to day hike the rest of it soon. I’ve just had so much fun exploring the first 2.5 miles of this place, learning all I can about the first half of it. 

**Just on the other side of the cable crossing is an “unofficial” campsite. It’s not a designated site, but it gets a lot of use and I’ve seen Forestry employees interacting with folks camping there and it seemed fine/acceptable.