The Best In Tent Camping: The Southern Appalachian & Smoky Mountains
by Johnny Molloy (Menasha Ridge Press)
© 2007 Johnny Molloy/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.
Not easy to get to if you're coming from the Asheville area or beyond, but worth the trip. Beautiful setting at 3500 feet. Facilities are adequate. Tent sites offer decent level of privacy. Consider a double site if you want room to spread out or normally camp with more than one tent. This is bear country, so be prepared to take necessary precautions. Easy access to numerous trails, some of which connect to the AP. Order National Geographic Trail Map No. 785 before you go, as the Backcountry Information Center is totally inadequate. Plan on spending at least three full days if you want to hike a variety of trails. The best are pretty rugged, involve serious vertical climbs, and travel times are longer than you'd expect for distances involved. The 85 mile stretch of the AP as it passes through Nantahala National Forest is considered by many to be the most severe section along the entire route. Most side trails are equally challenging and not recommended for couch potatoes. :)
Hiked the John Wasilik Memorial Poplar Tree! Quiet walk. Trail is in some disrepair. The plaque is missing. This is the 2nd largest Poplar Tree in Eastern USA. Mr. Wasilik was a Forest Service Ranger that came to North Carolina in the 1930's to work in a Civilian Conservation Corps camp and stayed through his retirement. I met him in the 1960's and he was a real delightful man and an asset to Macon County. Check out some of the other areas such as Rainbow Springs. Many wildflowers and springs!
Very nice camp ground, and really good hiking all around that area. Don't forget to go to Laurel and Moody falls just down the road from the camp ground. Both very easy hikes and worth the time and effort. If you are a camper, this is a good place to camp in the North Carolina Mountains.
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