Sunday, January 13, 2013

Roan Mountain State Park Campground is a great camping trip

Roan Mountain State Park Campground in Tennessee is one of the better state park campgrounds that we have stayed in so far. A clean, well maintained camping area is important but so is friendly staff. Roan Mountain State Park campground has the power packed combination of both.

We got there by taking I-26 to Johnson City. From there, you go through town and take the Elizabethton / Roan Mountain State Park exit onto Hwy. 67.

Roan Mountain State Park sign
From there it was just a matter of following the signs. The campground is at the base of the mountain and within an easy drive of Elizabethton and Carver's Gap.

The 87 RV sites have electric and water hook-ups. Every site has a grill and a picnic table. They are available on a first come, first served basis. My family was there during the week in late May and we had no problems finding a well shaded, quiet site on a loop.


Our nearest neighbors came in on Friday night. They were several sites away and downhill from us. Until then, we had the entire half loop to ourselves. Roan Mountain State Park campground also has tent sites. They do not have electricity but there are shared water spigots.

Roan Mountain State Park has inviting cabins with wide front porches. We may try one of those next time. Depending on which you want, you can book 
 a private room with queen bed and 2-bed upstairs loft or a private room with a double bed and upstairs loft with two double beds. Plus a kitchen, bath and shower, furnished linens, heat and so forth.

Tents at Sycamore Shoals reenactment
The park has a couple of tennis courts, horseshoes, playgrounds and volleyball court as well as other games. A swimming pool with wading pool is open from Memorial Day weekend through summer. We were to busy to use it so I can't tell you anything about it. You can also fish on the Doe River and mountain bike.

Whenever the campground staff came by the sites they always waved and called hello. The bathrooms were cleaned daily and the showers have hot water. We were able to go to the office to order firewood. If they were out, it was delivered to our campsite that afternoon. Even Walt Disney World doesn't deliver!

Even from the campground the Cherokee and Pisgah National Forests are all around you. Make sure that you stop in the Roan Mountain State Park visitor center. Staff inside the center were a little rude but information. The waterwheel for the Peg Leg Mine is interesting. There is a bookstore, brochures and exhibits, a small museum that contains a still and short easy hiking trail.

Roan Mountain State Park has about 12 miles of hiking trails that range from easy to strenuous. This is just the tip of the iceberg when compared to what is available in the area. Carver's Gap is only eight miles from the park. It's the low point in the ridgeline and the parking lot is another place that gives you easy access to the Appalachian Trail.

You have to move the car but Roan Mountain is near the Appalachian Trail entrance at Watauga. You can also hike to Little Rock Knob, Round Bald and Jane Bald. The Blue Ridge Parkway is several minutes away by car but the views are beautiful.

History includes being on the Overmountain Victory Trail that commemorates the route taken by Revolutionary militia who hurried to The Battle of Kings Mountain. This battle was one of the decisive turning points the Revolutionary War.

The nearby Sycamore Shoals State Park in Elizabethton played a major role in early U.S. History. We saw one of the impressive battle reenactments. It was also the site of the Transylvania Purchase and it was one of the first settlements outside of the original thirteen colonies.

Roan Mountain is the home of the largest naturally occurring rhododendron garden that is found anywhere on the planet. There is a festival in mid-June but late June is peak season and the busiest time in the park.

The only downside to the Roan Mountain State Park campground is that cell service is nonexistent. Remember, the campground is on a mountain in the extreme corner of the state. You are very near the North Carolina border and surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains. The terrain makes it impossible to get a signal.

Roan Mountain State Park had the peace and quiet that we craved. It was the exact opposite of Warrior's Path Sate Park where we didn't stay.