Category Archives: Campsites

Campsite #15 – Rabbit Creek

IMG_2696Campsite #15 – Rabbit Creek

Rabbit Creek Trail – 3.7 miles from the Trailhead at Abrams Creek Campground and , 4.1 miles from the trailhead at Abrams Falls Trail.

Capacity: 12

Rating: 1

Water: Rabbit Creek very near the site

Rabbit Creek Campsite at 1,550 ft. is an inviting place to spend the night, although the first impression is deceiving.  The site is split with the upper and most obvious site being rather small with room for perhaps one tent.  But on the lower side is a bit of an annex near Rabbit Creek.  The site is visited with Eastern Hemlocks providing nice ground cover.  Rabbit Creek is a little nicer alternative to CS#16 at Scott Gap and it is a certain improvement over CS #14 at Flint Gap.

Rabbit Creek at CS # 15

Rabbit Creek at CS # 15 with a visit from a friend

Rating Summary:

  • Level tent sites
  • Well drained sites
  • Low Impact
  • Good water source
  • Bear Cables

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Campsite #14 – Flint Gap

IMG_2709Campsite #14 – Flint Gap

Hannah Mountain Trail – 5.1 miles from the Trailhead at Hatcher Mountain/Abrams Falls Trails, 4.4 miles from the trailhead at Sams Gap.

Capacity: 8

Rating: 1

Water: About 0.3 miles south of the site at a stream crossing in the trail.

Flint Gap at 2,050 ft. is the inspiration for this very feature of this blog.  The site is so underwhelming as to warrant special attention.  For starters, the site is situated right in the trail itself with the fire ring and bear cables mere feet off the trail.  The gap is small and narrow with few level places for tents although up ridge a few yards, one may find a good spot or two.  There are plenty of good trees for hammocks but be aware that other hikers will pass in very close proximity to your camp.  The guide books speak of a spring down the ridge but it has yet to reveal itself.  The better water source is the stream crossing about 0.3 miles south.  About the only highlighted feature of the site is the bear cables.

When planning a trip, you may consider Campsite #16 in Scott Gap 3.0 miles north.

Rating Summary:

  • Bear Cables

 

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Campsite #13 – Sheep Pen Gap

Sheep Pen Gap Campsite 13Campsite #13 – Sheep Pen Gap

Gregory Bald Trail – 4.1 miles from the Trailhead at Sams Gap on Parson Branch Road, 0.5 miles from Gregory Bald Summit.

Capacity: 15

Rating: 7

Water: About 300 yds short of the campsite to the left of the trail.

Sheep Pen Gap at 4,640 ft. is a marvelous place for a campsite.  It is large, grassy, flat and shaded by Yellow Birch trees.  It’s half mile proximity to both Gregory Bald and Parson Bald makes it possible to enjoy sunrises and sunsets without much rigorous night hiking.  Gregory Bald is only a 10 minute walk up a fairly gradual ascent although headlamps will help negotiate the large rocks that are featured along the trail.  The site is quite popular and that is a bit of its disadvantage.  During warmer months, it is usually quite well used if not overused.

Sunrise from Gregory Bald

Sunrise from Gregory Bald

The water source is a completely different matter.  It is a spring 300 yards or so down the trail, which is the headwater for Panther Creek, but due perhaps to wild hogs and also to horse traffic, it is typically a muddy mess and care must be taken to find an upstream place to gather your water needs and one should certainly treat all water.

One other note about Campsite #13.  It is popular with the bears.  Bears are plentiful in the region and the sheer traffic and density of great food smells from crowds of camper attract the hungry bruins, especially in the spring and early summer when their natural food supplies are still in the making.  Campsite #13 is frequently closed due to bear activity so check with the park service for bulletins on campsite closures.

Rating Summary:

  • Water (questionable)
  • Level tent sites
  • Well drained sites
  • Bear Cables
  • Low impact
  • Inspiring Location
  • X Factor

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Campsite #52 – Newton Bald

IMG_2671Campsite #52 – Newton Bald

Newton Bald Trail – 0.3 miles past the intersection with Mingus Creek Trail at Newton Bald, 5.4 miles from Newfound Gap Road and 0.1 miles from the intersection with Thomas Divide Trail

Capacity: 8

Rating: 4

Water: About 100 yds off the ridge to a stream

Campsite #52 has a couple sections.  The first is right off the trail near the bear cables and the second is up on a small nob, which has more level tent sites.  The site is neither remarkable nor is it a bad spot.  It could be more secluded but the upper site is sufficiently off the trail.  The water source is down a steep descent off the ridge, which could be slippery and muddy in wet weather.

Rating Summary:

  • Water
  • Level tent sites
  • Bear Cables
  • Low impact

Campsite #10 – Ledbetter Ridge

Campsite #10 - Ledbetter Ridge

Campsite #10 – Ledbetter Ridge

Campsite #10 – Ledbetter Ridge

Russell Field Trail – Campsite #10 is 0.9 miles from the trailhead at Anthony Creek Trail and 2.6 miles from the intersection with the Appalachian Trail at Russell Filed Shelter.

Capacity: 8

Rating: 2

Water: Available from Left Prong Anthony Creek and from a side creek near the campsite.

 

Campsite #10 is located right alongside the Russell Field Trail with the main fire ring only a few feet off the trail.  The rhododendron growth offers some privacy but the site is generally not very secluded from the trail.  There are a couple niche spots just big enough for a few tents but none of the areas are particularly level.  The site may tend to be impacted with trash due to its close proximity to the Cades Cove area via the Anthony Creek Trail.

Rating Review

  • Bear cables – generally a given but some site may not have them
  • Good water source

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Campsite #9 – Anthony Creek

Campsite #9

Campsite #9

Campsite #9 – Anthony Creek

Anthony Creek Trail – Campsite #9 is 2.8 miles from the trailhead at Cades Cove Picnic Area and 0.7 miles from the intersection with Bote Mountain Trail.

Capacity: 8

Rating: 3

Water: Available from Anthony Creek.

Campsite #9 is at a switchback in the trail as it crosses Anthony Creek before the trail starts a fairly steep climb up to the intersection with Bote Mountain Trail.  This site is fairly popular and generally shows it as there is little ground cover.  As is typical of many sites, it is close to the trail and this is a particularly popular route for day hikers.  Not much seclusion.  There are plenty of tent sites but drainage may be an issue in heavy rain.

Rating Review

  • Bear cables – generally a given but some site may not have them
  • Good water source
  • Level tent sites

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Campsite #16 – Scott Gap

Campsite #16 - Scott Gap

Campsite #16 – Scott Gap

Campsite #16 – Scott Gap

Hannah Mountain Trail – Campsite #16 is at the intersection of Hannah Mountain Trail and Rabbit Creek Trail.

Capacity: 10

Rating: 4

Water: Available from small spring near campsite.

Campsite #16 is a former shelter site.  The main fire ring is near the foundations.  The site has fewer flat spaces than most but in general, the site well drained.  The water source is a very small spring near the site that looks like it may be iffy in dry weather conditions.  There is a combination of mature trees making it necessary to choose tent placement wisely.  The biggest feature is the fact that the site is completely off and out of site of the trails.

Rating Review

  • Bear cables – generally a given but some site may not have them
  • Low Impact – little evidence of overuse such as sparse vegetation and general appearance
  • Leave No Trace – includes general layout and spacing of sites relative to the trail
  • Dry or properly draining tent sites
Campsite #16 - Spring

Campsite #16 – Spring

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