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Within the pristine North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area, the Ridges at Royal Blue is a picturesque campground in northern Tennessee. It’s on the doorstep of over 900 miles of ATV trails in what has been rated by several ATV magazines as the best place to ride in the Southeast.
RV camping at the Ridges at Royal Blue campground includes access to 30 RV sites, with full hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings available at each. Campers can enjoy access to clean restrooms and shower facilities, as well as plenty of grassy areas overlooking Stinking Creek.
A highlight of camping at the Ridges at Royal Blue campground is its access to the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area, which encompasses 146,000 acres of mature hardwood forests. It’s renowned for its population of elk, with the Hatfield Knob Elk Viewing Tower offering the best sightings. Birdwatchers should also head here to spot neotropical migratory songbirds, such as Kentucky warblers, scarlet tanagers, and wood thrush, as well as brown-headed cowbirds and ruffed grouse.
Directly west of the Ridges at Royal Blue is the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, which centers around a fork of the Cumberland River. It’s carved a spectacular river gorge that’s renowned for its fascinating geological features, including unusual hoodoos and one of the largest concentrations of natural bridges in the United States. Aside from canoeing and whitewater rafting, the recreation area is also a popular destination for horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking, with highlights including the Grand Gap Loop and the Angel Falls Overlook.
The Ridges at Royal Blue can also be used as a base for visiting the Norris Dam State Park, which lies 30 minutes’ drive south of the RV park. It centers around a human-made impoundment along the Clinch River that was created following the completion of the Norris Dam in 1936. Begin your visit at the Lenoir Historical Complex, which is home to the Lenoir Pioneer Museum, where the personal collection of Will G. Lenoir is displayed. The complex also features the 18th-century Rice Grist Mill that dates to 1798 and the Caleb Crosby Threshing Barn, which once stood on the banks of the Holston River. Stretch your legs along one of the short hiking trails that meander through the park, then relax in the Tea Room that was constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Pioneer campers can pick up groceries at the supermarket in Caryville, which is 15 minutes’ drive south of the Ridges at Royal Blue. There’s also a gas station here if you need to fill up your RV rental and a couple of eateries that include a waffle house and a hamburger restaurant.
Campsites at the Ridges at Royal Blue are just 45 minutes’ drive from the heart of Knoxville, which sprawls around the banks of the Tennessee River. It’s home to several fine museums and family-friendly attractions, as well as a great selection of cafes, restaurants, and bars. Learn about the people and events that have shaped the area at the Museum of East Tennessee History while browsing the Civil War-era artifacts and regional artworks on display. Also of note is James White's Fort, a reconstructed 1786 log cabin that was originally built by a Revolutionary War captain as Knoxville’s first permanent building.
Admire the 19th-century buildings that cluster in the Market Square district, which is home to the Italianate-style Oliver Hotel and the Neoclassical Ziegler Building. You can shop for fresh produce and artisan goods in the Knoxville Farmers’ Market or see the Vols football team in action at Neyland Stadium. Gaze up at the sparkling Sunsphere that was built for the 1982 World’s Fair, then soak up the views across the Tennessee River, the University of Tennessee, and the Great Smoky Mountains from its observation deck.
A short drive from downtown Knoxville will take you to the Ijams Nature Center, a protected nature park that’s renowned for its rock formations and wetlands. It’s a great place to get active, with a beautiful river boardwalk and naturalist-led programs that will appeal to all ages. Fly high at the nearby adventure park or rent a canoe to explore Mead’s Quarry, then soak up the breathtaking scenery on one of the hiking or mountain biking trails. Wildflower Walks, Bat Nights, and Owl Prowls are also held throughout the year, offering an insight into the native flora and fauna of the region.
Whether you want to explore the recreational reserves of the Appalachian Mountains or discover the cultural sites of Knoxville, book an RV rental in Campbell County and start planning your next vacation.