We didn't have a ton of time to spend at Cloudland Canyon and only stayed 1 night but we loved the walk-in sites! It's a good alternative to drive up sites that are often very close together.
There was a wooden tent pad, picnic table, and campfire ring. Watch your food, a raccoon almost grabbed what we were cooking!
We used this as a base camp to explore the many trails near Chattanooga, but there seemed like there was a lot to do at this park by itself -- hiking, cave tours, and great views.
Really peaceful even when it rained the entire time…
We used two cars and parked one at our campsite here, and brought one to the beginning of the Fiery Gizzard Trail. It was nice to camp the night before in order to get an early start on the trail -- although it did not really help us avoid the incredible heat and humidity of June in Tennessee.
The waterfall and swimming hole were an EXTREMELY WELCOME sight after that long day hike! The water was very cool and felt great in the summer. Tent sites are leveled gravel and we were able to buy some firewood when we arrived. The falls were just trickling -- if you want to see them roaring come in the spring!
We absolutely adored this campsite. It is more quiet and there are less campers than Sea Camp but you still get amenities like showers, bathrooms, campfires, and a non-potable water source unlike the backpacking sites. We used a Grayl water filter for all of our water and had no issues.
The sites are very large with beautiful trees hanging over and providing shade. We didn't have as much of an issue with bugs as we did at Hickory Hill. Make sure you hang your food still -- there was a possum nosing around that had already torn into another camper's dry bag that was left on a log. We are not sure why some of the sites were marked as "closed" and were unreservable online so be sure to book them early if you can.
We used backpacking gear but did see some campers wheel in all of their items on a cart. The Park Ranger mentioned that in the future they may not allow campers to take carts to the "hike-in" sites including Stafford Beach, so keep an eye on the rules regarding that for your visit. Wheeling the cart looked like more effort than it was worth since the Main Road is very sandy and uneven, but if you are planning to stay for a few days you may find having more items is useful!
It was such a short walk to the beach from here! This is where we saw groups of wild horses as well. Since it was turtle egg-laying season we did try to spend time late at night at low tide and high tide to see loggerheads on the beach (make sure you follow the rules about keeping your distance and only using red-light headlamps/flashlights!). There were over 200 nests and reports every night of new ones, but we did not see any come up onto the beach.
We actually hiked out along the beach when we left instead of taking the Parallel Trail or Main Road and it ended up being a bit shorter -- just make sure you use plenty of sunscreen since you're much more exposed! Walking on the "wet" sand areas was sturdy and not difficult at all. There was much less people on the beach between here and Sea Camp and we saw many different kinds of birds.
Highly highly recommend this campsite over all others on the island -- there are less people around, you can still backpack it, there is a water source, and you are very close to the beach.
We backpacked to this site for our first night on Cumberland Island. It was tough in the heat and humidity. We used the Parallel Trail with a slight detour to refill water at the Stafford Beach campground -- make sure you are prepared about water as the nearest non-potable water source to Hickory Hill is about 1 mile away.
We were the only campers this night so it felt very remote and secluded. Unfortunately, no amount of bug spray could deter the mosquitoes in June. We had a million bug bites and tent camping in this humidity was uncomfortable. Elsewhere on the island was not nearly as bad for ticks and mosquitoes. We were brushing them off ourselves and the tent constantly. Make sure you do a thorough tick check! I would love to visit again in the cooler months when this is less of an issue.
Unlike the campgrounds on the island, this site is still kinda far from beach access. You have to hike through a marsh/swampy area with some boardwalks and really keep an eye out for directional signs as there are side trails used by animals that look like the main trail. I was afraid of coming upon gators and I think we heard one but otherwise we didn't see any. We did see many wild horses and armadillos! One of the biggest draws to camping on Cumberland Island is the beach so I would recommend other sites over this one for their shorter access trails -- especially the Stafford Beach campground.
Be aware that campfires are NOT allowed in the wilderness, including this backpacking site. They are only allowed in designated fire rings that are in the 2 campgrounds. We were able to use a small backpacking stove to make our meals. Hang your food to protect from the critters (and horses maybe?)!
There were multiple options for campsites including some large areas that would accommodate groups well. All seemed pretty level.
We hiked up to Blood Mountain from the Byron Reese Trailhead. We didn't stay in the shelter and instead set up our tent near an overlook nearby. Perfect place for sunrise and sunset. It was a little buggy until the wind picked up -- it definitely cooled down at night even in the summer due to the wind so make sure you set up in a spot with a windbreak or bring layers!
We were past bear canister season so we hung our food nearby and had no issues.
We saw tons of lightning throughout the night over nearby towns but nothing hit us and we had no rain.
We are beginner backpackers and had a great time -- definitely recommend this for a quick one night trip if you're new to backpacking! The payoff of hiking uphill for ~2 miles is worth it, we loved the views.
We camped out with a tent in campsite #10. Sites are leveled gravel and you are not allowed to set up your tent in the softer forest patches between sites. There was also a picnic table and a deep fire pit. The campground is located near a busier road so we definitely could hear late-night traffic going by but we still had a peaceful time with clear skies for star viewing.
The bathrooms were very clean and we didn't have any issues hearing other campers even though the sites are fairly close together. There was a water pump at each site, and we used the electric hookup to charge up our phones.
The overlook views from the gorge were amazing! Unfortunately due to the recent heavy rain we were unable to check out the Sliding Rock but we had a great recommendation from the park ranger for a nearby waterfall/swimming hole hike (Panther Creek). The camp host was also very friendly and answered our questions about the area.
Great group campsite not far from Jack's River Falls. We had a group of 10 that spread out over this little "island" very easily. There were two campfire areas already in place and most sites very level and well covered by trees. Obviously very close to the river to filter water from. We didn't see any wildlife at this site, but we did see a copperhead at another earlier in the trip, so be aware! Fall asleep to the rushing waters of Jack's River!
Really cute campground just a short jaunt to the beautiful multi-level Catawba Falls hike in the Pisgah National Forest. We stayed in a tent site VERY close to a rushing creek of cool water. The sound definitely helped put me to sleep!
The tent sites all have a tent pad, camp ring, trash can, and picnic table provided. This site had a bit more privacy than others we saw and was on the other side of the property from the RV area, which also included a playground, bathrooms, showers, and small store. There are also small tiny cabins to rent out which is great if you had a large group and not everyone was down for roughin' it. Some tent sites were also close to shared pavilions which were very nice to use during the rainy weekend we experienced! We appreciated the hot showers since we were outside hiking all day but wanted to hit up some sights in Asheville that evening without looking too worn out.
The people who run the camp were extremely nice and helpful -- we arrived later than expected in a downpour thunderstorm and they were able to accommodate us and transfer us and our bags from the car to the site via golf cart.