Hey people, my first post. Don't really know what I am doing, but i am wanting to plan a camping trip near Ashville. What campground or park is recommended?
Hey Tlong. Asheville is within proximity to three great wilderness areas: Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are more such as Chattahoochee National Forest and Cherokee National Forest, if you're willing to drive a bit further. All of mentioned have great camping and hiking. Check out https://www.fs.fed.us/ to find information on the National Forests in your area and https://www.nps.gov/index.htm for some of the larger parks.
Since you say that you don't really know what you're doing, I'll give a few tips that are good to know as a beginner. (1) Make sure you have the right equipment, even summer nights can get cold. (2) Try out car camping first. Some of my first trips were hiking 20 miles into the wildneress almost bare bones. I had no idea what I was doing and it was very stupid and not so enjoyable. Car camping allows you to bring lots of luxuries and you can just drive out and leave if you're not having a good time. (3) Make sure to follow the rules of the campgrounds or wildneress areas. Rule-following helps with bear protection, environmental respect, and overall helps you have a good time and allows others to have a good time as well. Check out https://lnt.org/ for information on how to respect the woods and it's inhabitants.
I know this is kind of a lot. I hope that it is helpful and I hope that you have some fun. Camping is righteous and wholesome. Everyone should get amongst it in the woods every now and then.
Hi @Tlong! Thanks so much for taking the plunge and asking a great question. Asheville is my home and I'm excited for you to take your first camping trip here in beautiful Western North Carolina. If you're a new comer to camping there are lots of campground options around Asheville and in the Brevard area. Davidson River Campground is pretty popular and centrally located right off of Hwy. 276 in Pisgah National Forest. You'll have bathroom facilities and easy access to TONS of great hiking trails, fishing, waterfall viewing, and rock climbing. If you'd like to head out to the Smokies, check out the Frontcountry options on the National Park Service Website, Smokies Camping. Elkmont, Cades Cove, and Smokemont are the most popular of those campsites. Honestly, you can't go wrong with any of these options- check our Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, and Cherokee National Forest for more camping options: US Forest Service. And if you just want to chat with someone who camps in the area, give us a call here at the store and we're happy to point you in the right direction, 828-687-0918. We love getting folks outside!
In terms of camping for the first time, I recommend car camping or Frontcountry camping, that way you can ease in to and figure out your tent situation, cooking, and all that good stuff. If you're camping in the Asheville area make sure to check the weather! Storms roll up quickly during the summer so be prepared for a little rain. And be prepared for a range of temperatures. Just beacuse it's 85 degrees in Asheville doesn't mean it's the same out in Pisgah or on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Temperatures can drastically change with elevation, cloud cover, and in the forest. Be prepared for at least a 10 degree difference in some areas, if not more. And @wallstreet is correct! Make sure you follow the rules of the campground- most of them will post rules/regulations on their website and/or at a check-in/check-out station. Being bear aware is true no matter where you're camping, extinguishing your fire completely, and Leave No Trace Principles are good starters. Excited for your first camping trip! Let us know how it goes- happy camping!!
Davidson River in Pisgah National Forest is a great starter. I first introduced my daughter to hiking and camping when she was really young (2nd grade), I started her off at Davidson River. As a mom with a young child I wanted to make sure she had a great first experience. Davidson River was fantastic for that. Lots of great trails near by where I could teach her how to navigate trails, read maps and look for blaze markers to keep us on the right trails and at the same time introduce her to the awesome beauty of camping and being outdoors. There are great hikes near by for all skill level....She is high school now and still loves our mother/daughter camping adventures.
As others have said be prepared for weather, this area isn't referred to as the land of waterfalls for nothing. Expect rain. Enjoy your adventure.