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Upstream from the Melton Hill Dam, the Melton Hill Dam Campground is a clean energy campground near Lenoir City. It features wind and solar power technology that provides energy to the RV park, as well as a day-use area with a public boat ramp, picnic facilities, and a swimming beach.
RV camping at the Melton Hill Dam Campground includes access to 61 campsites, all of which are equipped with picnic tables, fire pits, and grills. Some of the sites include water and electricity, and a few sites are ADA accessible. Campers can enjoy hot showers in one of the two bathhouses located in the center of the campground and take advantage of the dump station for no additional charge.
A 25-minute drive southwest of the Melton Hill Dam Campground is the Paint Rock Wildlife Management Area, which sprawls across 1,600 acres adjacent to Watts Bar Lake. It’s a popular wildlife-watching area, with white-tailed deer, raccoons, and coyotes regularly spotted here. Birdwatchers should keep their eyes peeled for great blue herons, black-crowned night herons, and great egrets, as well as ospreys that can often be seen nesting on poles around the lake.
Camping at the Melton Hill Dam Campground is also an ideal base for exploring the Lone Mountain State Forest, which encompasses 3,624 acres around the 2,530-foot summit of Lone Mountain. It lies on the western fringe of the Crab Orchard Mountains, with around 15 miles of hiking trails winding along the slopes. A highlight is a trail that leads to Coyote Point, an overlook nestled just below the summit that offers sweeping views across the region. Many of the trails in the Lone Mountain State Forest were originally developed for horseback riding, and you’ll find numerous watering holes and hitching posts for riders to utilize.
Directly north of the Lone Mountain State Forest is Frozen Head State Park, a 24,000-acre protected area that encompasses 14 high peaks. The highest of these is Frozen Head (3,324 feet), with its peak capped by snow during the winter months and offering stunning views across the Cumberland Plateau and the Tennessee Valley. Around 80 miles of hiking trails traverse Frozen Head State Park, with mountain biking also permitted on the Lookout Tower Trail that leads to the summit of Frozen Head. Hiking trails also ascend to the peak of Old Mac Mountain while a section of the Cumberland Trail meanders along the south slope of Bird Mountain.
Campsites at the Melton Hill Dam Campground are 15 minutes’ drive from Lenoir City, where you’ll find supermarkets for stocking up on grocery supplies. There are also gas stations here if you need to fill up your RV rental and a good selection of restaurants and cafes where you can grab a bite to eat.
A short drive north of the Melton Hill Dam Campground is the American Museum of Science and Energy, which was established in 1949 as the American Museum of Atomic Energy. It boasts a range of interactive exhibits that include science puzzles and robots, as well as an NOAA weather station and a Van de Graaff generator. Follow the timeline of atomic discoveries in America and see how solar energy works, then learn about the role of Oak Ridge in nuclear power development at the flagship “Secret City” exhibit. The museum also conducts guided bus tours of the nearby X-10 Graphite Reactor National Historic Landmark and the Y-12 National Security Complex.
The Melton Hill Dam Campground is just 30 minutes' drive from the heart of Knoxville, where you can spend a day hopping between its museums and cultural attractions. Delve into the local history at the Museum of East Tennessee History and see the first building to be constructed in Knoxville - a 1786 log cabin built by Revolutionary War captain James White. At the heart of Knoxville is Market Square, a hive of activity and home to some of the city’s most impressive 19th-century buildings. Admire the Neoclassical Ziegler Building and the Italianate-style Oliver Hotel, then shop for fresh produce at the Knoxville Farmers’ Market. Also not to miss is the iconic Sunsphere, which was constructed for the 1982 World’s Fair and offers panoramic views across the Tennessee River and Smoky Mountains from its observation deck.
Whether you want to challenge yourself on the hiking trails of Frozen Head State Park or explore the American Museum of Science and Energy, book an RV rental in Loudon County and start planning your next visit.