As of 5/24/15 camping in the Graveyard Fields is still prohibited due to bear activity. Campers staying in the Shining Rock Wilderness and the areas of Flat Laurel Creek – Sam Knob – Tennant Mountain and Black Balsam are required to store food in a hard-sided bear canister. Areas south of the Blue Ridge Parkway are not restricted at this time. Bears seeking food have become a serious nuisance, and have even entered an occupied tent in the area. No one has been injured, but these measures are being taken to prevent bear incidents. Learn more about safety around bears in this article.
There are three types of camping you can do in the Pisgah National Forest.
First, there are developed campgrounds with showers, rest rooms, camp programs, electrical sites, etc.
Second, there are free roadside campsites available in designated areas of the district.
Third, you can hike in and camp throughout the forest or in one of the wilderness areas.
Read More on these camping options below . . .
Organized Campgrounds in the Pisgah National Forest..
Campgrounds in the Pisgah District are listed below. These campgrounds have varying amenities and uses. Reservations can be made online through ReservAmerica.com or Recreation.gov. Listed below are direct links to area campgrounds at ReservAmerica.com. Clicking the campground will take you directly to that sites reservation page.
Pisgah District Campgrounds:
Davidson River Campground – Large campground on the Davidson River near Brevard.
Lake Powhatan Campground – Close to Asheville. Swimming beach and fishing pier.
North Mills River Campground – Trout fishing near campground.
Sunburst Campground – advance reservations are not available.
Pisgah District Group Camps:
Cove Creek Lower Group Camp – Group Size up to 60.
Cove Creek Upper Group Camp – Group Size up to 60.
Kuykendall Group Camp – Group Size up to 60.
White Pine North Group Camp – Group Size up to 25.
White Pines South Group Camp – Group Size up to 25.
Pisgah District Horse Camps:
Wash Creek Horse Camp – Group Size up to 30.
An additional Horse Camp is available without a fee or reservations at Wolf Ford, where FS1206 (Yellow Gap Road) intersects with FS 476 (Wolf Ford Road). There are 13 sites there – these sites can also be used by non-horse campers.
National Park Campgrounds (Blue Ridge Parkway):
Mount Pisgah Campground – 128 sites. On the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mount Pisgah.
Note: The campgrounds that offer reservations do not reserve ALL their spaces in advance – many are first-come non-reserved spots.
Free Roadside Camping in the Pisgah National Forest:
The Forest Service maintains about sixty roadside campsites within the district. These sites are located on the gravel roads in the district and are identified with a campsite (tent) sign. The only amenities you can expect to find on these sites are a tent pad and fire ring. Most of these sites are located near a water source, but you must treat or filter the water if you are going to drink it. If you want to do roadside camping make certain you have selected a legal roadside site – there are unauthorized roadside locations where people have previously camped. Yellow signs warn people that “No Camping” is allowed there. You risk getting a ticket if you camp in these spots. Roadside campsites can be occupied for up to 14 days in a 30 day period. There is no registration process to camp there. They are first-come first-served camp sites.
Here is our opinion about these campsites. They do not always make for a wholesome family camping experience. There are few amenities, they are heavily used, and they are not always clean and free of trash. Forest Service personnel do not provide a trash pick-up service at these sites so they can be quite messy if the campers do not dispose of their trash properly. These sites, due to their proximity to roads, are easy targets for thieves who can steal your camping gear. If you use these sites, do not leave items of value in an unoccupied camp. The use of alcohol is banned in some roadside areas, such as Avery Creek Road.
These sites are free – just be aware of the risks associated with them.
Free Campsite Map Click here to download a map of the free camping sites in the Pisgah Ranger District.
Pisgah-Free-Roadside-Camping Click here for Roadside Camping Regulations.
Dispersed Camping in the Pisgah National Forest:
Dispersed camping for hikers is one of the greatest recreational opportunities available in the Pisgah National Forest. Individuals can camp in the forest, without a permit or registration, almost anywhere they wish to. There are restrictions on where to camp, but they are few, and with nearly 400 miles of hiking trails available in the Pisgah District alone, it is a hiking and camping destination for many people. Requirements are minimal – like you need to camp 1000 feet from a road. Within the Pisgah Districts two Wilderness areas – the Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wilderness Areas – group sizes are restricted to 10 people, and campfires are prohibited. Violations are subject to tickets and fines. A word of advice here – within the wilderness areas the trails are not blazed or signed, so a good map and compass and map reading skills are a must. People do get lost in these areas.
With Dispersed camping people are requested to adhere to “Leave no Trace” camping practices. Click the link to learn more about this initiative.
While there is no camper registration or permit required, hikers and campers may fill out an itinerary at the Pisgah Ranger Station before they depart on their outing. This is a passive system where you leave information about your group, your vehicle, your trail route, etc. Should you fail to arrive home on your intended date, your family can contact the Ranger Station and we will know where to begin looking for you. If you file an itinerary we ask that you call us or stop by to let us know you are out of the forest okay so we can clear our records.