Based on previous reviews and our previous experience at another COE campground, we were looking forward to camping here, especially as a base for exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway. We were very disappointed with the maintenance and cleanliness of the campground. Apparently everyone who camps here must smoke. There were cigarette butts all over the place: in the site and on the "beach" (actually a steep muddy bank). Fireplace was filthy and unusable (full of corn cobs and other unrecognizable food items from one of the previous campers). Our site (and the beach) were also covered in goose droppings. We ended up staying inside the trailer most of the time because of this. We just didn't feel comfortable letting our kids play outside in the filth. Playground was very outdated and had broken glass on the ground. Men's room and garbage dumpsters were quite a hike from the lakeside pull-throughs. The men's room was clean but the shower facility didn't look too inviting so we did not use it. We will definitely not camp here again.
This is a very well maintained park in an out-of-the-way location. Very wooded and lots of privacy between sites. Sites were clean and ours was very level. National Park rangers frequently patrol the park and offer assistance. Lots of kids but most everyone was well-behaved; a few site-cutters, but otherwise no noise problems. This is horse country, so we saw lots of horse owners using the campground and park. Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (in which the park is located) is an overlooked gem. The campground has plenty to do to keep kids happy (playgrounds, safe roads on which to ride bikes, a clean pool, horse stables, visitor center, and hiking trails). The only negative is that it is very isolated and TN route 297 is a nightmare to approach the park from the east. We followed the park website's advice and came in from the west on TN 297. After reconnoitering TN 297 to the east (e.g., the road down and back up through the river gorge) we were very glad we added the several extra miles to the trip...it was nothing but steep switchbacks with numerous gouges in the pavement where trailer hitches had bottomed out. In sum, it's a great park for a 3- or 4-day destination for relaxation and as a base for exploring the park.
This is a beautiful park with outstanding views from most sites. We had difficulty reserving a site (it apparently is very popular) so we ended up in one of the sites without any shade (97 degrees that weekend!). Site was level and very easy to back into. Restrooms were clean, but we did not use the showers. Campground hosts very friendly and helpful. Our kids had a great time at the beach and walking through the park. The dump station was very clean. This park is 10 minutes down the road from our house and we intend to be regulars! The addition of sewers would improve our rating to a 10. Many campers also brought watercraft, which were tied up to the shoreline. Very quiet; no problems with noise or bad behavior.