Pisgah National Forest
Guide

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Introduction

Change your perspective and let yourself escape to the quiet, serene sounds of nature at Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. Once home to George W. Vanderbilt, this now a public national forest boasting whitewater rivers, magnificent hardwood forests, and dramatic waterfalls, all under the watch of the awe-inspiring Blue Ridge Mountains. Known as the “cradle of forestry,” come and explore the 500,000-acre Forest that became the first eastern National Forest in 1916. The Forest is divided into three separate ranger districts of Grandfather, Appalachian, and Pisgah. Hike the over 1,000 miles of trails, especially Looking Glass Rock Trail, to explore the peaks of Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Great for water sports any time of the year, fish within the rivers and streams to catch trout or paddle for relaxation out on Lake James. Camp in your camper at one of the 15 RV campgrounds and take in a breathtaking sunset as you gather around the campfire. When you take a break from the screens and realize how much fun you’re having, life will be delightful. This area of North Carolina offers different places for your next big RV adventure. Read on to learn more about a few of the top highlighted RV camping options at the Forest.

RV Rentals in Pisgah National Forest

Transportation in Pisgah National Forest

Driving

Find yourself among the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains when you visit Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. Driving around in your RV, you'll soon realize that this is Mother Nature at its finest in this area of the southeast. Weaving through the Smoky Mountains in your motorhome is always a beautiful and breathtaking experience no matter the time of year. Pisgah National Forest covers 12 counties, and you should be on alert that State Troopers highly patrol this area. Pack a map or use your GPS when traveling to this area as not all roads are properly marked. Some roadways are narrow, and be aware of the tunnels when traveling in an RV. A short drive from Asheville, Waynesville, Greenville, SC and Johnson City, TN, this area invites you to take a break from it all. 

Parking

There's always something new to discover for those who look for it when coming to Pisgah National Forest for vacation or just getting away from it all. Most sites provide gravel lots with back-in parking for RV camping. Check with your campground before you travel to Pisgah National Forest to see if your vehicle needs to be a high-clearance vehicle to access the site. Assistance is not readily available, and locating specific campgrounds is done at your own risk.

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Pisgah National Forest

Campsites in Pisgah National Forest

Reservations camping

Lake Powhatan Campground

Join other nature lovers at this popular dog-loving campground. There are 86 RV sites available nestled along the shores of Lake Powhatan. You'll have access to hot showers, toilets, picnic tables, and potable water. Open year-round, each site features a fire ring and table. Some of the sites even have full hookups, while others are primitive. Pets are welcome, and most sites can fit a rig up to 40 feet long. A great place to get out in the water, you’ll want to take in the sunsets off the lake in your kayak or head out to hike in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest.

North Mills River Campground

Come on out and camp among the lush, shade of the forest at North Mills River Campground. With 17 reserveable RV sites, you have access to a variety of recreational activities during your stay. The campground offers toilets, showers, potable water, and picnic tables that make for a great camping trip. Your site will have a fire ring, table, and grill. Open year-round, this campground is smack dab in the middle of some majestic landscapes like mountains, waterfalls, and forests. There are no hookups available, and maximum RV length is 30 feet.

First-come first-served

Linville Gorge Wilderness Area

Make Pisgah National Forest your prime destination spot when you come to camp at the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. A first-come, first-served camping spot, you can live the rugged lifestyle at this unique dispersed camping area. Head here for the views of the sunrise as they won’t disappoint. The backdrop of the majestic forested mountain ridges won't disappoint. In fact, the views and hiking opportunities are so popular that during the park season on weekends and holidays you will need to get a free permit to camp here. All garbage must be carried out.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Pisgah National Forest

In-Season

Hiking

Pack your sturdiest hiking shoes, sunscreen, and your hat in your Airstream as you explore the breathtaking and scenic views of Pisgah National Forest. With over 1,600 miles of trails, there are hikes for all activity levels. This part of the country provides some spectacular views of waterfalls like Douglas Falls after a couple of miles of hiking. You’ll want to travel with a map and a swimsuit as there are several places for you to stop and take a quick dip in the water.

Bird Watching

Grab your binoculars and head out of the campervan to see the various kinds of wildlife at Pisgah National Forest. With many varieties of bird species throughout the park, you’ll want to bring your camera along too. The trails at Pisgah National Forest offer easy access for birding, and be amazed by this part of North Carolina’s natural wonder and beauty. To see the abundance of wildlife while you’re here, plan for your trip in the summertime.

Fishing

Get out for peace and quiet to an angler’s haven for fishing with access to brown and rainbow trout in the cold, mountain waters. Anglers will need to have a proper North Carolina fishing license. Fish from the Upper Davidson River’s edge, among the Patch or Boone Fork Pond, or from a fishing pier as you enjoy this relaxing outdoor pastime in such a beautiful place. Words cannot capture the stunning scenes of rivers running through the mountains; you need to get here to see for yourself.

Off-Season

Mountain Biking

You’ll want to bring your mountain bike to one of National Geographic’s Top 10 mountain biking destination in the country. A fantastic destination for outdoor sport, you’ll have access to hundreds of singletrack trails. It doesn’t matter your experience level - each ride will be memorable. Head to this area of North Carolina and check out Bent Creek, Kitsuma, and Bennett Gap for a more adventurous journey. Each district, Pisgah, Grandfather, and Appalachian, will provide own its challenges.

Off-Highway Vehicles

Come and get your adrenaline going by traveling the terrain in your ATV or off-highway vehicles at Pisgah National Forest. You’ll want to follow the Motor Vehicle Use Map and travel the territory and explore this majestic national forest. These trails are specific for these types of vehicles, so don’t divert from the main routes. Bring your helmet in the camping trailer and get your adrenaline going as you head out on the trails.

Picnicking

Take a break and enjoy a meal outside by one of the many picnic locations in Pisgah National Forest like Lake Powhatan. You’ll love taking a break and enjoying lunch at Sycamore Flats, or along the riverbanks of the tranquil water at this majestic park. Check with your campground before you arrive to see if they offer fire rings or grills.

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