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Grandfather Mountain State Park Camping

Nearby Campsites: Linville Falls Julian Price Campground

Grandfather Mountain State Park – Pisgah NF – North Carolina | 3-day Backpacking Full

For those who are less rustic, but still love to camp, there are two great Blue Ridge Parkway campgrounds nearby the Julian Price Campground and Linville Falls Campground.

Located at Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 297, about 10 miles north of Grandfather Mountain State Park, the campground has 197 sites.

The Linville Falls Campground has 70 sites, over half of which can be reserved in advance. RV camping and tent camping are both available, as are bathrooms and drinking water .

Look for BRP Milepost 316.4, and its a ½-mile down the Linville Falls Spur Road, about 15 miles from Grandfather Mountain State Park.

Both of these campgrounds are excellent places to stay if you travel to see peak fall colors in North Carolina.

Things To Do At Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest

Rendezvous Mountain ESF offers lots to do, both in terms of in-person educational programming and informative trails.

Regular outdoor educational workshops are conducted on-site, and classes from rangers can be arranged as well.

The forest also has self-guided trails that teach hikers about logging, trees, and other forestry-related subject matter.

Beyond that, its just plumb beautiful. Rendezvous attractions includes Amadehy Falls, a fire tower, and spectacular views of famous surrounding mountains, including Table Rock and Grandfather Mountain.

Picnic sites with tables, fire pits with grills, and roomy shelters are all available with advance reservations.

Tuttle Educational State Forest

3420 Playmore Beach RdEntry Fee: None

Tuttle Educational State Forest is the heartwarming story of a lady named Lelia Judson Tuttle, who donated 160 acres of land in 1956 to form the Tuttle Forest Foundation for the good of the community.

TESF has since more than doubled in size, and continues to serve the surrounding community with educational programs.

Tuttle Educational State Forest is located between Lenior and Morganton, about an hour east of Asheville.

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What People Are Saying About Grandfather Campground

Our family always visits in the fall for the Wolly Worm Festival and we absolutely love this campground! We come back every year and stay in tents next to the creek and surrounded by the beautiful fall colors! Definitely recommend staying at Grandfather Mountain Campground! Recon, Google Reviews


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Located on the shores of Lake Price, Julian Price Campground is a fantastic campground near Boone, North Carolina, where you can play in the water. You can canoe and boat on the lake while children enjoy wading in the mountain streams. Amazing scenery awaits you when you choose to camp at this facility.

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Activities In The Park

7 Wonderful Grandfather Mountain Camping Spots

Tips for Snagging a Campsite Reservation

  • Campsite reservations are required and can be made online or by phone.
  • Same-day reservations are possible, but its a good idea to make them before entering the park, where cell service can be unreliable.
  • Booking in advance is recommendedbookings can be made up to 11 months in advance.
  • When to Go

    Grandfather Mountain is open year-round . The park can get crowded with visitors in summer, especially on weekends, and during fall foliage . To beat the crowds, try to arrive before 11am or after 3pm on summer and fall color weekends, as well as on holidays. If visiting in winter, be prepared for closures due to inclement weather.

    Know Before You Go

    • Fires are permitted at lower elevation campsites, but not on Grandfather Trail and not at or above the Hi-Balsam Shelter. Use only dead firewood on the ground, and do not bring firewood from outside the park.
    • Pets are welcome, as long as they are kept on a leash.
    • Grandfather Mountain is in bear country, so hang all food and scented items away from tents and pack out all trash and food scraps.
    • Alcohol is prohibited in all North Carolina state parks. This is strictly enforced by rangers.

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    Backpack Camping On Grandfather Mountain

    Grandfather Mountain State Park

    4198 NC 105 N, Banner Elk, NC 28604


    Campground Info/Reservations

    To be clear, Grandfather Mountain doesnt offer an actual campground. But there are 13 primitive campsites located along the extensive and challenging trail system within this rugged NC state park.

    While this choice might not be for everyone, its a great place for backcountry campers who dont mind roughing it a bit. Some sites dont even allow campfires because of the areas severe winds.

    Grandfather Mountain is the highest peak in the eastern escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains, measuring nearly 6,000 feet tall. There are 12 miles of trails in the park, with strenuous hikes being the status quo.

    There are also some great restaurants nearby, and many things to do in Banner Elk NC right outside the park.

    Note that these campsites are seriously primitive, with no running water or bathroom facilities. There are springheads within the park for fresh drinking water, and all food items need to be hung away from tent sites due to black bears.

    Still, the campsites are in amazing places where not many people will ever spend a night. Note that permits/reservations are required. Jonathon Engels photos by Emma Gallagher unless otherwise noted featured image by Maria Smith

    Grandfather Mountain State Park Makes Big Changes To Camping Policy

    LINVILLE, N.C.- Starting June 1, 2019, Grandfather Mountain State Parks 13 campsites will become available for advanced reservation with a fee, consistent with the camping policy of all other North Carolina State Parks.

    Going forward, all campers will be required to reserve their campsite in advance by calling 1.877.722.6762 or going to the Reserve America Reservation System at Of the 13 primitive campsites on the mountain, 10 accommodate up to six campers with a $15.00 fee, and three accommodate 7 12 campers with a $35.00 fee. Park staff strongly recommends making reservations ahead of time as cell service on the mountain is not reliable and visitors may not be able to connect with Reserve America at the trailheads as a result.

    When the state park opened in 2009, camping fees were waived while park operations were being established, and camping was registered on a first-come-first-served basis with no advanced reservations available except for the Daniel Boone campsite.

    Your local source for propane and heating fuels.

    Showrooms with gas logs, water heaters, generators, and more are located in each Blue Ridge Energy district office.

    Over the years, park staff has observed the frustration of campers who traveled long distances and arrived at the trailhead only to find that all sites have been taken. With advanced reservations, this will no longer be an issue.

    Your local source for propane and heating fuels.

    Boone: 2491 US Hwy 421 S, 828-264-3521

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    Things To Do At Grandfather Mountain State Park In Banner Elk Nc

    For me, the monolithic majesty of Grandfather Mountain preceded itself.

    On a few occasions in the past, my wife Emma and I visited friends who had a distant view of it from their mountain cabin. They were always thrilled to point the iconic summit out as a centerpiece of the High Country landscape.

    In a collection of lofty mountains in Western North Carolina, Grandfather is the highest in both Watauga and Caldwell Counties. Plus, it simply has a name that suggests grandiosity.

    That was enough to catch our attention, and wed been wanting to climb it for years.

    However, that distant panorama of Grandfather Mountain had hardly prepared us for how magical hiking up to Callaway Peak was going to be.

    Little did we know that the venerable mountain is truly a natural wonder, with more than a dozen distinct ecological zones and a plethora of creeks, springs, and the Watauga River adding to the scenery.

    In addition to sweeping views of the NC Piedmont below, there was even more magic inside the forest.

    Check out our guide to making the most of a visit to Grandfather Mountain State Park, including everything from hiking trails and backcountry camping to the Mile-High Swinging Bridge and more!

    Pilot Mountain State Park

    Grandfather Mountain – Overnight Camping at Cliffside

    Pilot Mountain State Park is situated in two counties, Surrey and Yadkin. It is about a 20-mile drive north-west of Winston-Salem.

    The central feature at Pilot Mountain State Park is the iconic geologic knob in its center. Called Big Pinnacle, it once served as a navigational landmark for the Saura tribe.

    Outdoor enthusiasts will love the trails in the park. Hikers can hike around the mountain base, then up Little Pinnacle, which is located along the Yadkin River.

    Rock climbing and rappelling is available to those that love that type of adventure.

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    Grandfather Mountain State Park Changes Camping Policy

    May 21, 2019

    Policies are changing regarding how campers can use 13 primitive campsites at Grandfather Mountain State Park.

    Beginning June 1, campers must reserve campsites using the Reserve America Reservation System via the internet or a toll-free number, making Grandfather Mountain consistent with the camping policy at all North Carolina State Parks.

    The campsites will now cost either $15 or $35 a night.

    While prospective campers can try to make reservations by cellphone when they arrive, park staff strongly recommend making reservations ahead of time as cell service on the mountain is not reliable and visitors may not be able to connect with Reserve America at the trailheads.

    Of the 13 primitive campsites on the mountain, 10 accommodate up to six campers for $15 a night, and three accommodate 712 campers for $35 a night.

    The state acquired Grandfather Mountain in 2008. When the state park was opened, camping fees were waived while park operations were being established, and camping was on a first-come-first-served basis with no advanced reservations available except for the Daniel Boone campsite.

    Over the years, Murray said park staff observed the frustration of campers who traveled long distances and arrived only to find that all sites have been taken. With advanced reservations, this should no longer be an issue.

    Deep Creek Tube Center And Campground: Bryson City

    Bryson City is a beautiful mountain town located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Bryson City is a five-minute drive from the Deep Creek Tube Center. This tube center offers a wide variety of activities for tourists and locals alike.

    What We Like:

    You can rent tubes, jet skis and kayaks from the Deep Creek Tube Center, and even ice skate. There is also a 5-acre pond on site with a fishing area and a playground.

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    Why Youll Love Honey Bear Campground

    At this Boone, North Caroli, campground, you can participate in organized old-fashioned games, get involved in contests or watch an outdoor movie. Cast a line in the fishing pond before heading to the coffee shop to tell a story about the big one that got away. Children adore playing on the double swing and around the campground to their hearts content

    Pisgah National Forest Backcountry Camping

    Free camping comes to an end at Grandfather Mountain State Park

    To minimize the impact of visitors on the local ecosystem, roadside and backcountry camping in Pisgah National Forest is limited to specific areas. But it is available in all of the different ranger districts.

    This is a great option for those interested in free camping in Pisgah National Forest.

    In the Appalachian district, the possibilities are limited to Big Ivy Road, Cold Springs Creek, and River Road along the French Broad River.

    In the Grandfather district, only Curtis Creek is open to backcountry camping.

    In the Pisgah district, there is dispersed camping available along Catheys Creek, Courthouse Creek, Wash Creek, Headwaters, Yellow Gap, and Avery Creek.

    For more details, call the specific Pisgah National Forest NC district offices. by Jonathon Engels lead photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

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    What You’ll Find At Grandfather Mountain State Park

    The 2,500-acre park itself is still very much undeveloped, with no buildings or visitor center. Its claim to fame is that rugged, wild feel of its backcountry strewn with streams, boulder fields, craggy outcrops and 12 miles of hiking trails, some so strenuous they require ladders and ropes. The park also includes some of the regions most iconic summits, including the 5,946-foot-high Calloway Peak.

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    Each of the 13 primitive campsites is different some have tent platforms and fire rings, some are near creeks or mountain views, some do not allow open fires. None of the sites has car camping, drinking water, hookups of any kind or bathrooms.

    That means carrying in all your tent and cooking gear, food and water, and packing out all your trash. It is also black bear country, so food should be stored in bear-proof containers or strung in trees. Bear cables are not available.

    Ten of the sites accommodate up to six campers with a $15 fee, and three can hold seven12 campers for a $35 fee.

    There is still no entry fee to enter the park or hike any of its trails. The state park is separate from the Grandfather Mountain attraction, which includes the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, an animal habitat, hiking trails and restaurant. It is run by the Stewardship Foundation, which does charge an entry fee, but there is no camping.

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    What People Are Saying About Blue Bear Mountain Campground

    Spent our anniversary here and it was great. Got in late and the staff was amazing and helped us find the perfect spot. We had an amazing private spot with the best view Ive ever had at a campground. It was very cold the weekend we were there, and the host made sure that we had plenty of firewood. You definitely get what you pay for here. Cant wait to come back in the summer with our kids. James, Google Reviews


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    If you are looking for a scenic camping getaway, look no further than this Boone, North Carolina, RV park. Over 100 acres of it is kept completely natural. This year-round camping facility is conveniently located near the regions top ski resorts, and active on-site management ensures that everything is kept in top shape.

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    Camping At Grandfather Mountain State Park

    Although backcountry camping is permitted at Grandfather Mountain State Park, there are no state park RV campgrounds available for campers to use. There are, however, many campgrounds in the area surrounding the park at which youll be able to stay one night or many. To the northeast of the state park is Boone KOA, just north of Boone. The KOA has the standard Kampgrounds of America setup, including full hookup sites, plenty of amenities, and diverse activities to keep the whole family entertained.

    To the southwest of Grandfather Mountain State Park is the Down by the River Campground, which focuses primarily on campers who are 55 and over. Children and teens are permitted inside the campground, as long as they are kept supervised at all times, and there are plenty of campsites with both 30 and 50 amp service. Most campsites at this campground are pull-thru for added convenience, and there is also free WiFi, hot showers, and flushing toilets.

    What People Are Saying About Raccoon Holler Campground

    Grandfather Mountain State Park – Pisgah NF – North Carolina | 3-day Backpacking Highlights

    Feels like family. Everyone here is pleasant. Quiet and private sites. Love it and will be back! Ed, Google Reviews


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    Located about 45 miles from Boone, RVers can stay in the Doughton Park Campground located within the 7,000-acre Doughton National Park. This campground is located near great scenic views along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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    Best Campgrounds In The North Carolina Mountains Guide

  • Cheoah Point Campground
  • Crabtree Falls Campground
  • Davidson River Campground
  • Deep Creek Campground
  • Doughton Park Campground
  • Linville Falls Campground
  • Mount Pisgah Campground
  • Smokemont Campground
  • Stone Mountain Campground
  • Bonus: Backpack Camping on Grandfather Mountain
  • 1373 Thunderbird Mountain Road, Robbinsville, NC 28771


    Campground Info/Reservations

    Perched on cliffs above Lake Santeetlah in the 1.3 million-acre Nantahala National Forest, the Cheoah Point Campground feels immensely remote.

    But its a great spot for exploring the forest, getting out on the lake, and taking scenic drives.

    This is a special NC mountains campground because its right next door to the Cheoah Point Beach, which offers a designated swimming area and a nice picnic shelter.

    Just beyond that is a boat ramp for access to the lake. Less than 10 miles away, skirting around the northern lakeshore, is the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, one of the last remaining stands of old-growth forest on the East Coast.

    The campground has 23 campsites, all but six of which are first-come, first-served. There are several RV sites with electrical hook-ups. Flush toilets, hot showers, and drinking water are also available.

    Milepost 339.5 Blue Ridge Parkway, Little Switzerland NC 28749


    Campground Info/Reservations

    The main draw here is one of the best Blue Ridge Parkway waterfalls in North Carolina, Crabtree Falls, a 70-foot waterfall that hikers and photographers cant seem to get enough of.

    Things To Do At Gorges State Park

    This park is recognized for its challenging terrain, which draws outdoors adventurers in search of backwoods trails and stunning waterfalls.

    There are five hiking trails in Gorges State Park, two of which are relatively short. Longer options include Canebrake Trail, Auger Hole Trail, and Foothills Trail.

    Foothills Trail goes just under 7 miles through the park. But it actually extends some 77 miles, venturing into several other state parks, national forests, and wilderness areas.

    All of the streams and rivers within the park were designated as Wild Trout Waters, including Bearwallow Creek, Toxaway River, and Lake Jocassee. Boating is also possible in some places.

    Both horses and mountain bikes are permitted on a stretch of Auger Hole Trail, between the Frozen Creek access area and Turkey Pen Gap.

    The Bearwallow Picnic Area is a particularly special spot for lunching on a blanket. Nearby is the waterfall overlook, with an observation platform over Bearwallow Creek.

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