The Ultimate Guide To Asheville and the Western North Carolina Mountains
The Ultimate Guide to Asheville & the Western North Carolina Mountains

The Online Version of the Best-selling Regional Guidebook

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Camp Rockmont


Given the vast amount of wilderness area in the Western North Carolina mountains, one would expect to find a staggering array of campgrounds and camping facilities. Indeed this is exactly the case and it is beyond the scope of this guidebook to present all of the camping options available. Rather this chapter presents some general resources and information about the six popular camping regions: the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian Trail; and three campgrounds close to Asheville: The Davidson River Campground, the North Mills River Recreation Area and the Lake Powhatan Recreational Area. It is highly recommended that if you know of a specific area in the mountains in which you plan to go camping that you visit one of the outdoor stores or outfitters listed. There you will not only get knowledgeable advice but also pick up maps and specific guides to the area you plan to visit. Resource websites are also listed for each region as well. 

If you are looking for RV camping facilities near Asheville or Hendersonville, check out  Asheville Campgrounds or Hendersonville Campgrounds.

    Wild & Furry Animals of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, by Lee James Pantas

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Campgrounds Close To Asheville
Davidson River Campground
About: Located at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest in the Brevard area. The Davidson River is a premier trout stream. Located nearby is the Cradle of Forestry.
Address: 1 Davidson River Circle, Pisgah Forest NC 28768
Telephone: 828-862-5960, 877-457-4023
Reservations: 877-444-6777, or online at
Open: Year round
Fees: Yes, Federal Interagency Pass, Senior and Access discounts accepted.
160 spacious shaded sites, singles and doubles. Sites with river access.
Facilities: Hot showers within walking distance of each site.
Directions: From I-26, take Exit 40 (US 280 to Brevard), right on US 276. Enter Pisgah National Forest, one mile on 276, turn left into Davidson River Campground.
North Mills River Recreation Area
About: The North Mills River runs through this recreation area and camping facility. Each campsite is only a short stroll from the river. Swimming, fishing and river tubing. Located between Asheville and Hendersonville.
Address: 5289 N. Mills River Road, Mills River NC 28742
Telephone: 828-890-3284, 877-457-4023
Reservations: 877-444-6777, or online at
Open: Year round with limited service November thru March.
Fees: Yes, Federal Interagency Pass, Senior and Access discounts accepted.
32 primitive sites, including 9 double sites. No hooks up available.
Facilities: Restrooms close to sites.
Directions: From Exit 40 on Interstate 26, travel west on US 280 past the airport six miles to traffic light at North Mills River Road. Turn right and travel five miles to the North Mills River Recreation Area.
Lake Powhatan Recreational Area
About: Located just minutes from Asheville, Lake Powhatan offers peace, quiet and solitude on the border of Bent Creek. Camping , swimming, fishing, hiking trails.  Beach and fishing pier.
Address: 375 Wesley Branch Road, Asheville NC 28806
Telephone: 828-670-5627, 877-457-4023
Reservations: 877-444-6777, or online at
Open: April through October
Fees: Yes, Federal Interagency Pass, Senior and Access discounts accepted.
98 sites, singles and doubles. Limited hook-ups available.
Facilities: Modern facilities with hot showers.
Directions: From I-26, take Exit 33 onto US 191. Travel south on US 191 approximately 2 miles to traffic light, turn right to the Lake Powhatan entrance.

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Blue Ridge Parkway
There are six campgrounds open to the public on the Parkway in North Carolina from May 1 through October or into early November, depending on weather conditions. Facilities are limited in winter. Fees are charged and length of stay may be limited. Camping is permitted only in designated campgrounds. Drinking water and comfort stations are provided; shower and laundry facilities are not. Sites in each campground are designated for trailers but none is equipped for utility connections. Campgrounds have sanitary dumping stations. Each campsite has a table and fireplace. Limited supplies may be purchased at most Parkway gasoline stations and camp stores. For further information, call the  Blue Ridge Parkway headquarters at 828-298-0398.

Blue Ridge Parkway Campgrounds:
Milepost 241.1: Doughton Park
Milepost 297.1: Julian Price Memorial Park
Milepost 316.4: Linville Falls
Milepost 339.5: Crabtree Meadows
Milepost 408.6: Mount Pisgah
Milepost 418.8: Graveyard Fields

Resource Websites:
Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway Association
National Park Service/Blue Ridge Parkway

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Pisgah National Forest
The  Pisgah National Forest is a land of mile-high peaks, cascading waterfalls and heavily forested slopes. It is an ideal place, as are all of the national forests, for outdoor recreation. Located on two sides of Asheville, the forest is more than 490,000 acres and spreads over 12 western North Carolina counties. The forest is more or less divided in half by the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Appalachian Trail runs along its border with Tennessee. The Mountains-to-the-Sea Trail crosses through the forest. Pisgah National Forest contains three wilderness areas, Middle Prong, Linville Gorge and the Shining Rock section, and is divided into four districts: Pisgah District, French Broad District, Grandfather District and Tocane District. The Pisgah District of the forest borders the Asheville/Hendersonville area. This magnificent forest is easily accessible from many points and offers wonderful camping facilities. Keep in mind that there are some rules governing camping in national forests. You can pitch your tent just about anywhere providing you are 100 feet or more from all water sources, at least 1,000 feet from the road and there are no signs prohibiting camping. Pets must be under control and on a leash when you are near people or a campground. For more information about camping in the forest, call 828-257-4200.

Resource Websites:
US National Forest Campground Guide: Pisgah National Forest

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Great Smoky Mountains National ParkGreat Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains, which lie along the common border of Tennessee and North Carolina, form a majestic climax to the Appalachian Highlands. With outlines softened by a forest mantle, the mountains stretch away to remote horizons in sweeping troughs that recede to evenness in the distance. And shrouding the peaks is a smoke-like mist that rises from the dense plant growth. The mountains get their name from this deep blue mist. The park’s boundary wraps around 800 square miles of mountain wilderness, most of it virtually unspoiled. Many peaks rise above 6,000 feet. A great variety of trees, shrubs, herbs and other plants are nourished by the fertile land and heavy rainfall and rushing streams. The Great Smoky Park contains more than 700 miles of rivers and streams, over 200,00 acres of virgin forests, and over 850 miles of trails. It is the most visited national park with over 9,000,000 visitors a year.

Resource Websites:

National Park Service/Great Smoky Mountains Camping

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Entrance to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, Nantahala National ForestNantahala National Forest
The 526,798-acre Nantahala National Forest  located to the west of Asheville offers family camping, boating, fishing, horse trails and miles of hiking trails. Nantahala is home to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, one of the nation’s most impressive preserves of old-growth forest, and has over eight districts, all of which offer excellent camping.


Resource Website:
US National Forest Campground Guide: Nantahala National Forest

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Appalachian TrailAppalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail is a 2,167-mile footpath from Maine to Georgia which follows the ridge tops of the fourteen states through which it passes. Each day, as many as two hundred backpackers are in the process of hiking the full length of the trail. More than 250 backcountry shelters are located along the Appalachian Trail at varying intervals, as a service to all Appalachian Trail hikers. A typical shelter, sometimes called a “lean-to,” has a shingled or metal roof, a wooden floor and three walls and is open to the elements on one side. Most are near a creek or spring, and many have a privy nearby. Hikers occupy them on a first-come, first-served basis until the shelter is full. They are intended for individual hikers, not big groups.

Resource Website:
National Park Service/Appalachian Trail

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Maps of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests, and other wilderness areas, can be ordered from the Cradle of Forestry in  America Interpretive Association Forest Place Store. Their address is The Forest Place Store, 66 South Broad St., Brevard, NC 28712. 800-660-0671.

Outdoor Stores & Outfitters in the Asheville-Hendersonville Area:

Black Dome: 140 Tunnel Road, Asheville NC 28805, 828-251-2001.
Mast General Store: 15 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville NC 28801. 828-232-1883.
REI: 31 Schenck Parkway, Asheville NC 28803, 828-687-0918.
Second Gear (Second-hand) 444 Haywood Road, Asheville NC 28806, 828-258-0757.

Outdoor Stores & Outfitters in the rest of Western North Carolina:
Bryson City: Nantahala Outdoor Center: 13077 Highway 19W, Bryson City NC, 888-905-7238.
Cashiers: Highland Hiker
: 47 Highway 107 South, Cashiers NC 28717. 828-743-1732.
Fontana Dam: Fontana Village Adventure Center:
Highway 28 North, Fontana Dam NC 28733, 800-849-2258.
Hot Springs:
Bluff Mountain Outfitters: 152 Bridge Street, Hot Springs NC 28743, 828-622-7162.
Murphy: Appalachian Outfitters: 104A Tennessee Street, Murphy NC 28906, 828-837-4165.
Valle Crucis: Mast General Store: Other locations in Boone, Waynesville, Hendersonville and Asheville. Highway 194, Valle Crucis NC 28691. 828-963-6511.
West Jefferson: Mountain Outfitters: 102 South Jefferson Avenue, West Jefferson NC 29694. 336-246-9133.


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