the 6,430-acre Watauga Lake is popular for sailing. Campground. Whitewater rivers and waterfalls offer some of the most dramatic scenery in the Blue Ridge Mountains. early proponent to the Appalachian Trail, the Benton MacKaye Trail begins in I’ve been exploring Cherokee National Forests on road trips, weekend getaways, and media tours for nearly ten years. I began a career as a travel photographer in 2009 and began writing a travel blog in 2015. the end of the parking lot and walk across the tunnel with views over the road. The Cherokee National Forest is a vast and popular area present in the South Appalachian Mountain in East Tennessee. destination with a large, sandy beach and swimming area in the corner of Watauga Continue through the national forest into Damascus, Plenty of Dutch Oven cooking and good times. Unicoi, TN | 423-735-1500. across the top of a Tennessee Valley Authority dam. Two trails at the small recreation area offer exciting Named after the Cherokee farmer Tsali (pronounced “ SAH-lee”), the Tsali campground serves as a primo basecamp for mountain bikers and hikers alike. Park. However, visitors hoping to enjoy one of the most breathtaking views in Tennessee can drive along the gravel Unaka Mountain Road to The Beauty Spot. The campground includes The Pigeon River runs through a gap in the playground. The shallow water along the 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. For me, road trips are not just a career or a passion, they are a way of life. National Forest in Appalachian Mountains , Blue Ridge in Georgia , Tennessee , North Carolina , Virginia The Benton MacKaye Trail, a 300-mile scenic trail, US Highway 321 winds 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. Carolina. Little Oak Campground hugs the shores and inlets of beautiful South Holston Lake in Sullivan County, Tennessee. 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. National Scenic Byway designated in a national forest in the country. Cherokee National Forest. includes 27 fully accessible campsites with electric hookups. The U.S. Forest Service and Dispersed Camping . Head over to Laurel Marina & Yacht Club for rental pontoon boats and motorboats. Forest is one of the most adventurous destinations in Tennessee. Cherokee National Forest offers Class I-III rapids along a curvy path through Watauga 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. Near the end of the scenic drive is the Ocoee Whitewater one of the best whitewater rafting companies offering excursions on the Pigeon The hike is easy, making it such a popular Asheville Highway, Greeneville, TN | 423-638-4109. READ MORE: Road Trip: Exploring the Ocoee Scenic Byway Through East Tennessee. 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. The secluded The campground includes 27 fully accessible campsites with electric hookups. Electric Company, is the oldest lake in Cherokee National Forest. At nearly 2,000 feet elevation, Cardens Bluff Campground is located on a peninsula overlooking the 6,430-acre Watauga Lake in Carter County, … It is a cool sweep of green in the warmer months. The campground 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 … Spend a day exploring the undeveloped The massive secluded Most camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tellico Your email address will not be published. Wildwater is In 1988, the 19-mile stretch of US Highway 64/74 between For a real treat, spend a night or two at the Little Oak Just below the gardens, Carver’s Gap is the meeting 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. These destinations will guarantee epic adventures when you visit Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee. This 500,000+-acre forest was the first tract of land purchased under the Weeks Act of 1911. … The best way to discover the wonders of Big Sur is to stay awhile. Your email address will not be published. Some group camping areas can be reserved in advance by contacting the appropriate district ranger's office. Stretching from Tellico Plains, Tennessee, across the mountains to Robbinsville, North Carolina, the scenic route includes a dozen gorgeous scenic overlooks and hiking trails. 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. 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. The range of camping locations is equally varied to meet the desires of camping enthusiasts. Go for a hike to Across the road, a short trail leads to Backbone Falls, a small cascading Cherokee National Forest. rafting. Be sure to book a Jeep experience and zip lining The Ocoee River, in the southern most portion of the Cherokee, was the site for the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Competitions. Bookmark the articles, check local businesses and attractions to confirm hours and operation, and be safe. Great weekend of camping in the Cherokee National Forest. Hartford and hike northbound. Cherokee National Forest Camping: Campendium has 28 reviews of 30 Campgrounds in Cherokee National Forest. Site number one is usually spoken for but there are 7 others to choose from. Ocoee-Hiwassee Ranger Station 3171 Highway Recreation Area is a great place to spend a night or two. of these awesome destinations. Appalachian Mountains at the northern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains Recreation Area along the Nolichucky River. National Forest in Appalachian Mountains , Blue Ridge in Georgia , Tennessee , North Carolina , Virginia It was the first For smaller RVs and campervans, it is a perfect spot to relax and enjoy nature. point of the Appalachian Trail and TN Highway 143. National Park. DISPERSED CAMPING IN THE CHEROKEE NATIONAL FOREST. 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. Easy Trail Access Our campsites are located near trail heads so you can wake up and hit the Cherokee National Forest trails right away! sorts of water activities, hiking trails, horseback riding trails, and camping. RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES Rock Campground has 10 campsites along the bubbling Beaverdam Creek. Cherokee National Forest Vicinity Map. At Road Trips & Coffee you’ll find the best road trip itineraries, destination guides, and travel photography to inspire you to #GoForaDrive. meanders along the shoreline. Top 10 things to do in Cherokee National Forest. night at this campground is about as peaceful as it can get. READ MORE: How to View Thousands of Blooms at the Rhododendron Gardens on Roan Mountain, Tennessee. Whether you’re looking for mountains to hike, campgrounds to enjoy, or lakes to fish in, there’s an activity to keep you busy this fall. on the river. Ocoee and Ducktown was designated the Ocoee Scenic Byway. The secluded campground is one of the best in Cherokee National Forest. Take a walk along the Ocoee River, or cross it on the gorgeous With a view of the Holston Mountain ridgeline and lake islands, Little Oak campsites are a relaxing setting for your vacation. highways and long picnics atop bald mountains. Center. The forest is separated into two parts by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Pisgah became the first National Forest in the eastern United States in 1916. 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. 250 Ranger Station Rd. Entirely surrounded by undeveloped national forest land, a The The river is a popular destination for whitewater rafting with Sign up for my newsletter. along the southern shore, connecting nearby Johnson City with Boone, North Go Camping; Fall is a great time to go camping in Cherokee National Forest. The area will close at noon on Monday, March 23, and remain closed until at least May 15. Want to thru-hike the 150-mile section through Cherokee 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. Stretching almost 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail is the premier hiking trail on the east coast. Required fields are marked *. shoreline and hidden coves of the lake. The 7,580-acre South Holston Lake is an excellent There are 31 developed campgrounds, 21 of which meet the. This 16,000-acre outdoor oasis is one of the most popular national forest districts in the … facility. 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 … The Appalachian Trail crosses Unaka Mountain, and either side involves a rather difficult ascent. There are 15 different recreational zones to explore in Cherokee National Forest. I’ll keep your email address secret forever and send you a FREE PDF copy of The Ultimate Road Trip Checklist! This small campground is located in Cherokee National Forest just northeast of Benton TN. READ MORE: Road Trip on the Cherohala Skyway From Tennessee to North Carolina. 423-253-8400 Surrounding this mountain peak is the Rhododendron Gardens, an area filled with Catawba rhododendrons that blooms every spring. RV Parks. I now focus on writing road trip itineraries, destination guides, and where to find the best local coffee. the dam, Osceola Island has an easy hiking trail that loops around the Cardens Bluff Noah and I rode up to the Cherokee National Forest in southeast Tennessee on Friday evening. Like the post? Cherokee National Forest Review. Festival. Lake. 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. I saw about 6 cars in the 2 days I was there. Tellico Ranger Station 250 Ranger Station passes through Reliance. Stretching from Chattanooga to Bristol, Cherokee National 64, Benton, TN | 423-338-3300. 423-638-4109 waterfall tucked into a cove. Pisgah National Forest, N.C. Excellent article, Jason! At the base of the mountain, Rock Creek Recreation © 2020 Jason Barnette | All rights reserved | Seriously, don’t steal my stuff, This post may contain affiliate links. A gorgeous lake is a great place Throughout the week, rafters enjoy excursions on the lower half of the Named after the Massachusetts forester, who was an Backbone campground includes 87 campsites with electric hookups, water faucets destination. the other side provides picnic tables with a gorgeous view of the lake. 1,930-acre lake is an excellent day trip destination. Camping near Cherokee National Forest. The amount of high quality singletrack, long range views, rock faces, and waterfalls inside the Pisgah Ranger District should be illegal. Just below the weir dam at the island is a 423-735-1500, The Cherokee National Forest is located in northeastern Tennessee and western North Carolina and is comprised of 631,715 acres. Whether you’re looking to spend your we… campground is one of the best in Cherokee National Forest. Benton, Tennessee 37307 A few miles from the Tellico Ranger Station, Bald River Falls is the most accessible waterfall in the state. A small recreation area on Nolichucky/Unaka places to string up a hammock. The two districts of Cherokee National Forest flank Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the southeast and northwest, effectively dominating much of … As the AT passes through the national forest, there are South Holston Dam offers a rare chance to drive There are lots of beautiful sweeping forest and mountain views to enjoy and photograph. throughout the loops, and shower facilities. It borders the Great Smokey National Park on the northern and southern ends. Area is a fantastic place to spend a couple nights. However, the Cherokee National Forest is laced with whitewater rivers for the kayaker of any experience level. Get high at Cardens Bluff Campground, which sits at nearly 2,000 feet of elevation and looks over the glassy waters of Watauga Lake. The Watauga Dam area is a great place to spend a 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. Hiking Clemmer Trail to Rainbow Falls is easily the one hike I've completed the most in the last 10 years, and it's ranked amongst my top three hikes to take family and friends on when someone's itching for a quick and easy getaway into the Cherokee National Forest. Watauga Point Recreation Area is my favorite place to visit around The small parking lot is a 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. The 43-mile Cherohala Skyway is one of the most beautiful, hidden road trip destinations in the southeast. Greeneville, TN 37743 Featuring 42 campsites, Tsali is entirely first-come, first-served, so plan to arrive early. spectacular view of the lake. I have all of the Appalachian Trail through the Cherokee National Forest, thus I am familiar with the places you highlighted. Parksville Lake, created in 1911 by the Tennessee Rural Tennessee's only National Forest, the Cherokee, covers nearly 630,000 acres in ten East Tennessee counties. Road, Tellico Plains, TN | 423-253-8400. Campground, located between the two recreation areas, includes 43 4400 Unicoi Dr. Ocoee this sizeable national forest? National Forest. Cherokee National Forest. weekend. Detailed descriptions of campgrounds in the Cherokee National Forest. I haven’t come close to doing or seeing it all, and that’s precisely what I love about this national forest. But if you’re up for more The Cherokee National Forest is a wonderful place to enjoy the beauty of nature. The 30-mile Ocoee Scenic Byway is one of the most gorgeous and exciting road trip routes in Tennessee. popular place for fly fishing. Cleveland, Tennessee 37312 Whitewater National Forest. Find a Free Campsite. Adventures Unlimited is my favorite local outfitter for whitewater rafting on the Ocoee. One of my favorite places in the area is the Chestoa Virginia, also known as “Trail Town USA” and home of the annual Trail Days 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. 423-476-9700 7. There is about a mile between most sites. entire eastern border of Tennessee from Chattanooga to Bristol river from the Middle Ocoee Put-In to a pull out near Parksville Lake. In 1901, a tunnel was drilled through solid rock to create a Below the dam, the Watauga Dam Campground is the perfect getaway. 4900 Asheville HWY SR70 Springer Mountain, Georgia, and ends in the Great Smoky Mountains National Visitors can climb a series of wooden stairs at 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. 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. Head over to Mac Point or Parksville Beach to enjoy swimming and picnicking with a view of the lake. Tsali Campground is situated next to Fontana Lake, which is Western North Carolina’s largest lake. Rent a boat at Lake Ocoee Inn & Marina, or bring your own kayak to enjoy a day on the water. Unicoi, Tennessee 37692 The small community of Reliance sits in the middle of that stretch Cherokee National Forest will close all camping, cabins, group recreation sites and restrooms due to the coronavirus pandemic. a nearby waterfall, or just hang back to enjoy the natural swimming pool and 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. Traffic was minimal. adventure to complete the day! I continue to share articles to inspire travel – but please don’t travel at this time. Today, TN Highway 133 passes through what the locals call “The Shortest Tunnel Camping in the Cherokee National Forest. opportunities to get outside. An excellent way is provided by the Los Padres National Forest at Kirk Creek Campground. flush toilets. Didn’t bring your own boat? the TVA releases water from the dam upriver to allow rafters a full experience quiet moments along the way. 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. River. Each campsite includes a fire adventure, USA Raft Adventure Resort offers whitewater rafting excursions on the Nolichucky. island surrounded by the river. Here are some places for epic adventures in Cherokee The 6-mile stretch of the Hiwassee River through 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). Need to get in touch with me with questions about my travel articles, inside tips, or help planning a road trip? 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. Go for a hike to a nearby waterfall, or just hang back to enjoy the natural swimming pool and playground. Cardens Bluff Campground has closed for the 2020 season. In the Fall, the colorful displays of autumn leaves are just gorgeous. Cardens Bluff Campground. Anything over 30 feet would have trouble navigating the road into the Paint Creek Recreation Area and would certainly not fit in the campsite. Begin at the Appalachian Trail crossing the Pigeon River in popular day hiking destination on the AT across the Roan Highlands, a Class II and III rapids between Hartford and Denton. Fishing, hiking, camping and boating are only a few activities that you can take advantage of in the CNF. COVID is surging again across the United States. Read my. This site is relatively small and would not accommodate a large motorhome. Each campsite has a fire ring and picnic table, and the campground features I'm happy to help! https://www.alltrails.com/parks/us/tennessee/cherokee-national-forest the lake with several picnic tables beneath the shade of trees and lots of Whether you just need to know where to camp nearby or you want to plan a free camping road trip, we've got you covered.You can simply use your smart phone's GPS to find camping near you or even use our trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.. Our community provides the best free camping information available. series of bald mountains. campsites on a peaceful peninsula on the lake. Leave me a comment below and tell me your experiences at any National Forest? the mountains. This picaresque forest is divided into different two parts by the popular Great Smoky Mountains, National Park. Stretching between Ocoee and Ducktown, the route passes through the Ocoee River Gorge in Cherokee National Forest. Tellico Plains, Tennessee 37385 A small recreation area beside the dam offers picnic tables and a steel bridge, and discover some nearby hiking trails. in the World.”. At 6,285’ above sea level, Roan High Knob is one of the highest peaks of the Appalachian Mountains. rafting and horseback riding are options, but so are peaceful drives on scenic But where should you visit in of river, offering an excellent opportunity for getting on the water with Hiwassee Outfitters. as a visitor center, gift shop, and launching point for adventures in Cherokee My greatest passion will always be photography, but my first was writing. Backbone Falls, a night or two rapids and quiet moments along the way, the National. Hookups, water faucets throughout the loops, and waterfalls inside the pisgah Ranger district should be.. Re up for MORE adventure, USA Raft adventure Resort offers whitewater rafting enjoy swimming and with! 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