Perhaps above all else, the High Country is revered by seasoned backpackers and novice families alike as an ideal place to get carefully “lost” in the wondrous scenic beauty of the Blue Ridge and Southern Appalachian Mountains for a night or a week of camping.
Listed below are several camping options to consider throughout the High Country:
New River State Park Campground
Named one of the United States National Wild and Scenic Rivers in 1976, the New River is a fantastic location for recreational water sports, and along its banks are several ideal campsites. For camping and water activities combined in the same weekend, New River State Park Campground satisfies both those itches. Kayaks and canoes can be rented from a number of local river outfitters. Those travelling by boat can paddle to three different campgrounds on state park land.
The main campground is located at 358 New River State Park Road in Laurel Springs. Call (336) 982-2587 for more information.
Linville Gorge Wilderness
Located on some 30,000 acres of Pisgah National Forest wilderness, the Linville Gorge is considered by many to be the Grand Canyon of the East.
The glacially-formed Linville Gorge drops around 2,000 feet towards the Linville River, providing heady panoramic views, accessible by an extensive network of trails ranging in difficulty from easy, such as the Linville Falls trail, to very strenuous.
Free camping permits, obtained at the district ranger’s office, are required weekends and holidays May 1 to Oct. 31, and are limited to 50 per night. Walk-in permits for the current week must be obtained at the Linville Gorge Information Cabin on Kistler Memorial Highway, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.
Grandfather Mountain State Park
The friendly profile of Grandfather Mountain is a popular location for those willing to climb some of Watauga County’s highest peak before they set up camp.
The Grandfather Mountain trail system offers 13 no-cost primitive camping sites, but vehicles must be left at either the Profile Trail or Boone Fork/Daniel Boone Scout trailheads, because the privately-owned attraction housing the Swinging Bridge closes at dark.
The only site along the trail that is available for advanced reservations is a campsite on Daniel Boone Scout Trail, available for groups of 7 to 12 campers.
To make reservations, visit northcarolinastateparks.com, or call (828) 963-9522.
￼ Blue Bear Mountain Campground
196 Blue Bear Mountain Road
Just eight miles from Boone, this facility offers primitive tent camping, as well as less remote RV and cabin sites on over 150 acres of natural land. The campground also offers “glamping,” for those who wish to stay outdoors while retaining all the necessities of modern life, as well as the unique experience of tepee camping — fully furnished with a queen-size bed and fine linens.
￼ Buck Hill Campground
6401 U.S. 19-E South
Buck Hill Campground offers family-friendly RV sites equipped with picnic tables, fire pits and full hookups along 1,600 feet of the North Toe River. The campground also provides hiking trails along 144 acres of wilderness, a lazy river and trout-filled waters.
￼ Down by the River Campground
292 River Campground Road
Down by the River Campground in Avery County offers RV and tent camping, as well as paved roads for bike rides and an indoor recreation area. The site is located on the Linville River, and is a nice spot to fish for mountain trout.
￼ Flintlock Campground
171 Flintlock Campground Drive, N.C. 105
Conveniently located in Boone, Flintlock Campground offers quaint cabins, tent sites and full RV hookups to suit every kind of camper. The campground is also located beside a mountain stream. The site offers free Wi-Fi and cable TV.
￼ Grandfather Campground
125 Profile View Road
Grandfather Campground is located just off N.C. 105, not far from Boone, Blowing Rock, Banner Elk or Beech Mountain. The campground has tent sites and cabins available for rental, and also includes a playground, deluxe bathhouses, picnic tables and fishing. Fisherman can enjoy a stocked trout pond next door, or try their luck in the Watauga River.
￼ Helton Creek Campground
2145 Helton Road
Located minutes from attractions such as the New River, Virginia Creeper Trail and Downtown West Jefferson in Ashe County, Helton Creek Campground is nestled on the banks of a creek and offers tent camping, as well as full RV hookups.
￼ Honey Bear Campground
229 Honey Bear Campground Road
Travelers on the Blue Ridge Parkway or N.C. 105 can easily access the Honey Bear Campground in Boone, which offers tent and RV camping, as well as recreation, including fishing and hiking.
￼ Julian Price Park Campground
Blue Ridge Parkway, milepost 297
For a beautiful view by the water, this campsite is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway beside Price Lake. It offers non-electric RV sites and tent sites with access to hiking, fishing, boat rentals and picnic facilities.
Because of its location, this site fills up quickly, especially on holidays. It is wise to call ahead and schedule a reservation.
￼ Boone KOA
123 Harmony Mountain Lane
Located just outside of the Boone town limits off of N.C. 194 towards Meat Camp, the Boone location of the national chain of KOA Campgrounds has tent sites, cabins and full RV hookups.
￼ Raccoon Holler Campground
493 Raccoon Holler Road
Just outside of Glendale Springs in Ashe County and adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Raccoon Holler Campground is perfect for RV and tent campers who want to enjoy swimming, hiking, canoeing, fishing and community events.
￼ Vanderpool Campground
120 Campground Road
Vanderpool is a family-oriented campground for RV and tent campers located only about seven miles outside of Boone. The campground offers Wi-Fi, horseshoes, a beanbag toss, volleyball and other outdoor games amid beautiful scenery.