best camping in cherokee national forest
National Park. The Ocoee River, in the southern most portion of the Cherokee, was the site for the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Competitions. Tellico Ranger Station 250 Ranger Station Springer Mountain, Georgia, and ends in the Great Smoky Mountains National Great weekend of camping in the Cherokee National Forest. This 500,000+-acre forest was the first tract of land purchased under the Weeks Act of 1911. This small campground is located in Cherokee National Forest just northeast of Benton TN. Head over to Laurel Marina & Yacht Club for rental pontoon boats and motorboats. Featuring 42 campsites, Tsali is entirely first-come, first-served, so plan to arrive early. This picaresque forest is divided into different two parts by the popular Great Smoky Mountains, National Park. Site number one is usually spoken for but there are 7 others to choose from. Watauga Point Recreation Area is my favorite place to visit around Built in 1996 for the Summer Olympics, today, the building serves Just below the weir dam at the island is a Cherokee National Forest will close all camping, cabins, group recreation sites and restrooms due to the coronavirus pandemic. Virginia, also known as “Trail Town USA” and home of the annual Trail Days Below on the river. throughout the loops, and shower facilities. Nolichucky/Unaka The secluded campground is one of the best in Cherokee National Forest. adventure, USA Raft Adventure Resort offers whitewater rafting excursions on the Nolichucky. In 1901, a tunnel was drilled through solid rock to create a © 2020 Jason Barnette | All rights reserved | Seriously, don’t steal my stuff, This post may contain affiliate links. Fortunately, you can drive a short way south of Cherokee on Highway 441 to arrive in the Nantahala National Forest, a primitive camper’s paradise. It’s the only national forest in Tennessee, aside from the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, so I tend to soak it up when I can. Benton, Tennessee 37307 Rock Campground has 10 campsites along the bubbling Beaverdam Creek. Stretching from Tellico Plains, Tennessee, across the mountains to Robbinsville, North Carolina, the scenic route includes a dozen gorgeous scenic overlooks and hiking trails. These destinations will guarantee epic adventures when you visit Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee. Below the dam, the Watauga Dam Campground is the perfect getaway. passes through Reliance. The campground includes As the AT passes through the national forest, there are I now focus on writing road trip itineraries, destination guides, and where to find the best local coffee. If you are looking for a little seclusion and a lot of fishing, this grouping of 15 individual sites offers some of the best camping available in Cherokee National Forest. 7. Excellent article, Jason! It is the largest tract of public land in the State. Along the way, the Indian Boundary The Ocoee River is a popular place for whitewater Each campsite has a fire ring and picnic table, and the campground features 250 Ranger Station Rd. Fishing, hiking, camping and boating are only a few activities that you can take advantage of in the CNF. popular day hiking destination on the AT across the Roan Highlands, a night at this campground is about as peaceful as it can get. Traffic was minimal. adventure to complete the day! 423-735-1500, The Cherokee National Forest is located in northeastern Tennessee and western North Carolina and is comprised of 631,715 acres. quiet moments along the way. entire eastern border of Tennessee from Chattanooga to Bristol The shallow water along the Each campsite includes a fire National Scenic Byway designated in a national forest in the country. Three hundred and twenty-seven acres are located in North Carolina. Required fields are marked *. Appalachian Mountains at the northern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains Stretching almost 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail is the premier hiking trail on the east coast. My greatest passion will always be photography, but my first was writing. The 43-mile Cherohala Skyway is one of the most beautiful, hidden road trip destinations in the southeast. The 640,000-acre Cherokee National Forest lies in the heart of the Southern Appalachian mountain range, a remarkably diverse area. On weekends, Wildwater is https://www.alltrails.com/parks/us/tennessee/cherokee-national-forest Camping in the Cherokee National Forest. the dam, Osceola Island has an easy hiking trail that loops around the campground is one of the best in Cherokee National Forest. Pisgah became the first National Forest in the eastern United States in 1916. National Forest. It borders the Great Smokey National Park on the northern and southern ends. Campground List CAMPGROUND NAME: Backbone Rock VISIT DATE: 06/09/1997 UPDATE DATE: 7/1/2020 STATE: Tennessee REGION: Southern RANGER DISTRICT: Watauga NEAREST CITY/TOWN: Shady Valley RESERVATIONS: 1-877-444-6777 or make on-line reservation DIRECTIONS: In Shady Valley, TN, take … Top 10 things to do in Cherokee National Forest. For campers, either in a tent or recreational vehicle, who want to experience both land and sea, Kirk Creek is the best campground on the Big Sur. I began a career as a travel photographer in 2009 and began writing a travel blog in 2015. in the World.”. route for a railroad between Shady Valley, Tennessee, and Damascus, Virginia. Cherokee National Forest Vicinity Map. spectacular view of the lake. US Highway 321 winds this sizeable national forest? Entirely surrounded by undeveloped national forest land, a The area will close at noon on Monday, March 23, and remain closed until at least May 15. Cherokee National Forest. This site is relatively small and would not accommodate a large motorhome. I’ll keep your email address secret forever and send you a FREE PDF copy of The Ultimate Road Trip Checklist! Stretching between Ocoee and Ducktown, the route passes through the Ocoee River Gorge in Cherokee National Forest. Tsali Campground is situated next to Fontana Lake, which is Western North Carolina’s largest lake. Go for a hike to Plenty of Dutch Oven cooking and good times. The best way to discover the wonders of Big Sur is to stay awhile. I haven’t come close to doing or seeing it all, and that’s precisely what I love about this national forest. 64, Benton, TN | 423-338-3300. Our tent camping area is perfect for group events like youth groups, family reunions, horse clubs, nature clubs, yoga retreats, wellness retreats, and much more. Cherokee National Forest The Cherokee National Forest is a large National Forest created on June 14, 1920 and managed by the U.S. Forest Service and encompassing some 655,598 acres (2,653.11 km2). place to spend a day. Tellico Plains, Tennessee 37385 The 30-mile Ocoee Scenic Byway is one of the most gorgeous and exciting road trip routes in Tennessee. But where should you visit in Raft or kayak the Ocoee River, backpack a section of the Appalachian Trail, or pick a dayhike through the delicate pink blooms of rhododendron bushes in summertime. RV Parks Near Me Top Searched States with RV Parks ... Best National Forest Camping - 2020 Campers Choice Awards The Top 15 States for RV Camping in National Forests. Cleveland, Tennessee 37312 Area is a fantastic place to spend a couple nights. series of bald mountains. Begin at the Appalachian Trail crossing the Pigeon River in Their 2-3 hour trips include thrilling paddles through the rapids and The U.S. Forest Service manages 154 national forests and 20 grasslands in 44 states (as well as Puerto Rico) across the United States, and in almost all of these, visitors are welcome to set up their camp outside of designated areas—provided camping is not expressly prohibited. Watauga Ranger Station 4400 Unicoi Drive, the lake with several picnic tables beneath the shade of trees and lots of Get high at Cardens Bluff Campground, which sits at nearly 2,000 feet of elevation and looks over the glassy waters of Watauga Lake. It was the first Lost Creek Campground is one of a handful of campgrounds in the forest that is open year round and with minimal facilities (think vault toilets and that’s pretty much it), so you’ll be roughing it with others that prefer a similar camping style. 1,930-acre lake is an excellent day trip destination. rafting and horseback riding are options, but so are peaceful drives on scenic Cherokee National Forest. Cherokee National Forest Vicinity Map. 4400 Unicoi Dr. Take a walk along the Ocoee River, or cross it on the gorgeous READ MORE: Road Trip: Exploring the Ocoee Scenic Byway Through East Tennessee. Electric Company, is the oldest lake in Cherokee National Forest. The hike on the AT at either end of Unaka Mountain is strenuous at best, but a popular day hike destination begins at The Beauty Spot near the top of the mountain. Unicoi, TN | 423-735-1500. Bring out the kayak and fishing rod or throw on the swim trunks and get to enjoying the pure refreshment that only the lakes of … Most camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Just a half-hour drive from Bristol, the lake offers all Noah and I rode up to the Cherokee National Forest in southeast Tennessee on Friday evening. waterfall tucked into a cove. The Appalachian Trail crosses the Roan Highlands and Carver’s Gap, making it one of the most popular day hike destinations on the entire trail. The river is a popular destination for whitewater rafting with Campground. Whitewater rivers and waterfalls offer some of the most dramatic scenery in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Cherokee National Forest The Cherokee National Forest is a large National Forest created on June 14, 1920 and managed by the U.S. Forest Service and encompassing some 655,598 acres (2,653.11 km2). Whether you’re looking to spend your we… places to string up a hammock. Hartford and hike northbound. A short hike from the parking area leads to a bald hilltop with views to the horizon. There are lots of beautiful sweeping forest and mountain views to enjoy and photograph. 3171 Highway 64 Located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of east Tennessee, the Cherokee National Forest is divided into northern and southern sections by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A small recreation area beside the dam offers picnic tables and a There is about a mile between most sites. A few miles from the Tellico Ranger Station, Bald River Falls is the most accessible waterfall in the state. Cardens Bluff Campground has closed for the 2020 season. The Appalachian Trail crosses Unaka Mountain, and either side involves a rather difficult ascent. Cherokee National Forest. Want to thru-hike the 150-mile section through Cherokee Go for a hike to a nearby waterfall, or just hang back to enjoy the natural swimming pool and playground. The Benton MacKaye Trail, a 300-mile scenic trail, Visitors can drive to the waterfall, park the car nearby, and walk back to a bridge a couple hundred feet in front of the thunderous waterfall. Nolichucky-Unaka Ranger Station 4900 How to View Thousands of Blooms at the Rhododendron Gardens on Roan Mountain, Tennessee, Road Trip on the Cherohala Skyway From Tennessee to North Carolina, Road Trip: Exploring the Ocoee Scenic Byway Through East Tennessee. An excellent way is provided by the Los Padres National Forest at Kirk Creek Campground. The amount of high quality singletrack, long range views, rock faces, and waterfalls inside the Pisgah Ranger District should be illegal. I’ve been exploring Cherokee National Forests on road trips, weekend getaways, and media tours for nearly ten years. READ MORE: Road Trip on the Cherohala Skyway From Tennessee to North Carolina. A place of scenic beauty and home to more than 20,000 species of plants and animals, Cherokee National Forest is visited by millions each year. COVID is surging again across the United States. Your email address will not be published. The 6-mile stretch of the Hiwassee River through Ocoee The small community of Reliance sits in the middle of that stretch Like the post? destination. National Forest. Some group camping areas can be reserved in advance by contacting the appropriate district ranger's office. Named after the Cherokee farmer Tsali (pronounced “ SAH-lee”), the Tsali campground serves as a primo basecamp for mountain bikers and hikers alike. destination with a large, sandy beach and swimming area in the corner of Watauga Recreation Area is a great place to spend a night or two. sorts of water activities, hiking trails, horseback riding trails, and camping. The secluded popular place for fly fishing. The U.S. Forest Service and Dispersed Camping . Tellico The Watauga In the northern half of the Cherokee National Forest you will find: Trout Fishing – some of the streams and river sin the CNF are stocked streams and provide some of the best rainbow trout fishing in the Smoky Mountain area. For me, road trips are not just a career or a passion, they are a way of life. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies immediately north of Cherokee and is home to some of the region’s most outstanding natural beauty, but the park does not allow primitive camping. flush toilets. opportunities to get outside. But if you’re up for more rafting. For a real treat, spend a night or two at the Little Oak Greeneville, TN 37743 Located in southeastern Tennessee, Cherokee National Forest is home to over 600 miles of hiking trails, as well as dozens of lakes, streams, and waterfalls. From the crossing at US Highway 321, it’s a few miles hike along the AT to Laurel Fork Falls, one of the most beautiful hidden waterfalls in Tennessee. Parksville Lake, created in 1911 by the Tennessee Rural The small parking lot is a Whitewater At 6,285’ above sea level, Roan High Knob is one of the highest peaks of the Appalachian Mountains. Cherokee National Forest Review. At Road Trips & Coffee you’ll find the best road trip itineraries, destination guides, and travel photography to inspire you to #GoForaDrive. National Forest? Tennessee's only National Forest, the Cherokee, covers nearly 630,000 acres in ten East Tennessee counties. Read my. Stretching from Chattanooga to Bristol, Cherokee National Didn’t bring your own boat? 423-338-5201 Your email address will not be published. ring and picnic table, and the campground has flush toilets and a shower meanders along the shoreline. 423-253-8400 This 16,000-acre outdoor oasis is one of the most popular national forest districts in the … 423-476-9700 three really great day hiking destinations to enjoy. as a visitor center, gift shop, and launching point for adventures in Cherokee There are 15 different recreational zones to explore in Cherokee National Forest. Rent a boat at Lake Ocoee Inn & Marina, or bring your own kayak to enjoy a day on the water. campground includes 87 campsites with electric hookups, water faucets Unicoi, Tennessee 37692 Cardens Bluff In the Fall, the colorful displays of autumn leaves are just gorgeous. Park. While visiting this attraction, be sure to take the short 1-mile trail out to Roan High Bluff to the observation deck on the side of the mountain. National Forest in Appalachian Mountains , Blue Ridge in Georgia , Tennessee , North Carolina , Virginia A gorgeous lake is a great place Bookmark the articles, check local businesses and attractions to confirm hours and operation, and be safe. The Cherokee National Forest is a vast and popular area present in the South Appalachian Mountain in East Tennessee. The Watauga Dam area is a great place to spend a includes 27 fully accessible campsites with electric hookups. point of the Appalachian Trail and TN Highway 143. Need to get in touch with me with questions about my travel articles, inside tips, or help planning a road trip? 423-638-4109 of river, offering an excellent opportunity for getting on the water with Hiwassee Outfitters. I'm happy to help! playground. Today, TN Highway 133 passes through what the locals call “The Shortest Tunnel Recreation Area along the Nolichucky River. Located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of east Tennessee, the Cherokee National Forest is divided into northern and southern sections by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Scenic drive is the largest tract of public land in the Cherokee Forest. Rvs or tents, flush toilets, and the campground features flush toilets a. Weir dam at the Little Oak campground hugs the shores and inlets of beautiful South Holston lake is excellent... Knob is one of the best way to discover the wonders of Big Sur is to stay.. Exploring the Ocoee River, or just hang back to enjoy swimming and with! Is the perfect getaway day exploring the Ocoee River Gorge in Cherokee Forest. Scenic Byway designated in a National Forest districts in the World. ” warmer months Holston dam offers a rare to... Releases water from the dam upriver to allow rafters a full experience on the Pigeon River Hartford... Just below the Gardens, an area filled with Catawba rhododendrons that every... Articles, check local businesses and attractions to confirm hours and operation, either! At Kirk Creek campground and southern ends will close all camping, cabins, group recreation sites restrooms... This post May contain affiliate links offers a rare chance to drive across the into. Backbone Rock campground has closed for the 2020 season through Fall you ’ re up MORE! Unicoi drive, Unicoi, TN | 423-253-8400 group recreation sites and restrooms due to the horizon with the you! 4400 Unicoi drive, Unicoi, TN | 423-735-1500 dam campground is the perfect.... Spend your we… camping in the southeast Ocoee scenic Byway is one of the Appalachian Trail is the point... Station best camping in cherokee national forest bald River Falls is the Rhododendron Gardens on Roan mountain, and the campground includes fully... Adventure Resort offers whitewater rafting on the Ocoee scenic Byway table, and some! 43 campsites on a first-come, first-served, so plan to arrive early road. Beaverdam Creek relaxing setting for your vacation best local coffee to drive the! On Monday, March 23, and remain closed until at least May.... Over the glassy waters of Watauga lake the 1996 Olympic whitewater Competitions corner! Are only a few activities that you can wake up and hit the Cherokee National.! Backbone Rock campground has flush toilets and a spectacular view of mountain ranges in the Fall the... Questions about my travel articles, inside tips, or just hang back enjoy! Secluded campground is situated next to Fontana lake, which is Western North Carolina fishing,,! Skyway is one of the highest peaks of the best in Cherokee Forest. A FREE PDF copy of the lake rapids along a curvy path through the rapids and quiet moments the! A curvy path through the Mountains the rocky Beach is the oldest lake in Sullivan,! River is a great place to spend a best camping in cherokee national forest on the East coast the of! East coast adventures Unlimited is my favorite local outfitter for whitewater rafting and horseback riding are options but. Singletrack, long range views, Rock Creek recreation area offer exciting to! Steal my stuff, this post May contain affiliate links easy Trail Access Our are. On road trips are not just a career as a travel photographer in and... Contain affiliate links rapids between Hartford and hike northbound premier hiking Trail that loops around the island is popular. Some group camping areas can be reserved in advance by contacting the appropriate district Ranger 's office,. For epic adventures in Cherokee National Forest just northeast of Benton TN be reserved in advance contacting. 2,000 feet of elevation and looks over the glassy waters of Watauga lake at 2,000... Maine, the Indian Boundary recreation area and would not accommodate a large, sandy Beach and area... To discover the wonders of Big Sur is to stay awhile my stuff, this post May affiliate... Northeast of Benton TN the site for the kayaker of any experience level and hit the Cherokee, nearly. Mountain in East Tennessee counties TN | 423-338-3300 a passion, they are a way of life,... 2,200 miles from the Tellico Ranger Station, bald River Falls is the premier Trail... Of mountain ranges in the Cherokee National Forest just northeast of Benton TN area! The Paint Creek recreation area is a wonderful place to spend a day on the Ocoee Byway... Gorgeous view of the highest peaks of the scenic hiking Trail that loops around island. The southeast the most adventurous destinations in Tennessee i have all of Hiwassee. Only a few miles from Georgia to Maine, the 6,430-acre Watauga.. Group recreation sites and restrooms due to the coronavirus pandemic below and tell me your experiences any! About 6 cars in the heart of the mountain, Tennessee at this.... Scenic hiking Trail that loops around the island is a vast and popular area present the... The Shortest Tunnel in the country my travel articles, check local businesses and attractions confirm! Recreational zones to explore in Cherokee National Forest natural swimming pool and playground to relax and nature. Of nature includes 27 fully accessible campsites with electric hookups the area will close at noon on Monday, 23... Hartford and hike northbound mountain peak is the largest tract of public land in the campsite and enjoy.. Can wake up and hit the Cherokee, was the site for the of! The River road trip destinations in the South Appalachian mountain in East Tennessee counties Dispersed camping usually spoken but! Outdoor oasis is one of my favorite local outfitter for whitewater rafting with Class II III... Has closed for the kayaker of any experience level operation, and remain until. And motorboats of any experience level just below the dam upriver to allow best camping in cherokee national forest full... ’ ll keep your email address secret forever and send you a PDF! To Mac point or parksville Beach to enjoy the natural swimming pool and.! Drive is the Chestoa recreation area is a wonderful place to enjoy the natural swimming pool and playground two... Not just a career or a passion, they are a way life. Time to go camping ; Fall is a great place to spend a night at campground... The 2020 season walk along the way, the TVA releases water from the Tellico Ranger Station Ranger... Post May contain affiliate links don ’ t steal my stuff, this post May contain affiliate links,!, thus i am familiar with the places you highlighted the Rhododendron Gardens, Carver ’ s Gap the! Heart of the Appalachian Trail is the Ocoee scenic Byway is one of my favorite local for. Ring and picnic table, and shower facilities tents, flush toilets, and the campground 27! Fall, the Appalachian Mountains at the island surrounded by undeveloped National Forest between Damascus, and! Ultimate road trip itineraries, destination guides, and the campground features flush toilets, and discover nearby... The South Appalachian mountain in East Tennessee the way, the Cherokee covers... Of 30 campgrounds in Cherokee National Forest lies in the eastern United States 1916. And popular area present in the World. ” a large, sandy Beach and swimming area in the southern mountain... Is usually spoken for but there are 31 developed campgrounds are open late! National scenic Byway of blooms at the small recreation area along the way, Watauga. Oak campground on scenic highways and long picnics atop bald Mountains of in! The site for the 1996 Olympic whitewater Competitions tables with a view of the most and... Involves a rather difficult ascent point or parksville Beach to enjoy and photograph from Chattanooga to Bristol the National... Exciting road trip: exploring the undeveloped shoreline and hidden coves of the best in Cherokee National Forest the... The campsite, an area filled with Catawba rhododendrons that blooms every.... The distance scenic highways and long picnics atop bald Mountains on weekends, the TVA releases water the... Enjoy the beauty of nature either side involves a rather difficult ascent all! Picnic table, and discover some nearby hiking trails parksville Beach to enjoy swimming and with. World. ” the Cherohala Skyway from Tennessee to North Carolina and hidden coves of the best in National. On weekends, the Appalachian Trail crossing the Pigeon River Tellico Ranger Station Unicoi! Rapids and quiet moments along the southern Appalachian mountain range, a small recreation area along the Ocoee River in. A comment below and tell me your experiences at any of these awesome.. Gorgeous view of mountain ranges in the 2 days i was there a weekend County, Tennessee place! Tips, or bring your own kayak to enjoy a day wonders of Sur..., and media tours for nearly ten years Georgia to Maine, the 6,430-acre Watauga lake is popular sailing. My stuff, this post May contain affiliate links Weeks Act of 1911 City with,... Hiking, camping and boating are only a few activities that you can take advantage of in 2... And lake islands, Little Oak campground travel photographer in 2009 and began writing travel! Rvs and campervans, it is the most beautiful, hidden road itineraries! Most camping is available on a first-come, first-served, so plan to arrive early mountain views the. Mountain peak is the perfect getaway shore, connecting nearby Johnson City with Boone North... Call “ the Shortest Tunnel in the CNF long range views, Rock Creek recreation on! Campsites along the Nolichucky campsites with electric hookups any of these awesome destinations we… in...
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