Date of Stay: April, 2012
This is a very nice, well-kept TVA campground overlooking Melton Hill lake. It overlooks a swimming area on the lake about 100 yards away, which has a nice but small sand beach. The rest of the facility is woods and wide-open fields/lawns, paved walkways along the lake shore, and several very attractive picnic pavilions. The Clinch river is within walking distance of the campground, maybe 1/4 mile away. It was quiet and peaceful. I expected some rowdies, but the crowd was generally much quieter than most places I've stayed. Everybody was very friendly. This is a popular fishing destination. Huge rock bass are regularly caught in the Clinch river just below the dam, and there are lots of other sport fish such as bass and bluegill. Birds are plentiful, including geese, great blue herons, and many, many swallows, for which TVA maintains nesting houses all along the riverbank. I'd have given a score of 10 but most sites are not that good. The campground is very hilly, and many of the sites are lined up sardine-style, and others are perched on a hillside in such a way that you have to walk up or down a full flight of steps to the picnic area. But there are a few very nice sites with good views, an open feel, and a level gravel pad with comfortable, usable space. I have a very small (16') trailer, so maneuvering was no problem, but a big motorhome or 5th wheel would probably have a lot of trouble getting through this campground. I had a very relaxing 4-night stay here, and I'll definitely go back unless I expect a large weekend crowd to compete with for the few good campsites.
Date of Stay: July, 2010
This is a very nice, well-maintained COE campground. There are many sites right on the water, several in the woods, which tend to be better-shaded, several with beautiful views out into open, broad grassy areas. I saw several deer and two wild turkeys. The host was extremely helpful and accommodating. There is no pool, but there is a very nice-looking sand-beach swimming area at the lake shore. I didn't swim there but did swim just off my campsite. The water had no odor, and it was very comfortable (air temps in the mid-90's). Boat traffic was minimal, but I visited during the week. The only warning I would offer is that some of the sites seem to be set up as joint sites, adjoining each other with a continuous gravel pad. If you are camping with another party, this may be desirable, but if you are this close to a stranger, you may not have much privacy. I would recommend calling the campground to request guidance on the type of site you want. The campground map does not do a good job of explaining which are conjoined and which are separate.
Date of Stay: July, 2010
This campground is very nice if you don't need shade: all the trees are indeed gone. Vegetation looks like high desert scrub, not the forest you would have found here before the beetles. It is quite attractive though. The vegetation is low but healthy and pretty, and the views of the lake are terrific. The campground is situated on a rounded hilltop, which gives the uphill sites something of a terraced view over the tops of the lakeside sites. The breeze was stout but pleasant when we were here. I would expect this area to be pretty exposed in severe weather.
Date of Stay: June, 2010
This is a beautiful park. It's too bad they don't take reservations, but it's very large and I saw no sites I would be disappointed with. The sites are very well-spaced, with many mature shade trees.
Date of Stay: June, 2010
We stayed in loop A, site #11. The sites are very well-spaced and well-situated for privacy and views. It has a very large off-leash dog training area, a rare treat for anyone with an energetic dog. This makes Chatfield the most dog-friendly place I’ve ever been, by far. Chatfield has many miles of paved trails and scenic roads perfect for bicycling. There’s no pool, but the reservoir is great. The large beach near the marina is made of a large-grain sand that slopes gently into the water. The water was cold in early June, but pleasant once you’re in. Our site had very little shade, so it got pretty hot, but the wide-open views of the sky and reservoir more than made up for it. We were within a short walk to the marina and restaurant. Chatfield is also close to Mueller and Roxborough state parks, where unfortunately you can’t take a dog.
Date of Stay: June, 2010
Gorgeous campground in a fabulous location, convenient to Indian Peaks, Eldorado Canyon, Nederland, Boulder, Golden. We stayed in site #40 for 5 nights. Nice hiking trails on-site, but I wouldn’t recommend the Raccoon trail – too much of it follows an ugly dirt road in the bottom of a drainage. There are too many other great trails nearby. Water and sewer are centrally located, but fairly convenient. Bathhouse was very modern and clean, but no soap provided even for hand-washing, and the coin-operated showers are absolutely awful. I got all set up for my first shower, towel, soap, etc. all laid out, undressed, only to find my shower only eats coins, and does not dispense any water. The one next to it “worked”. Rather than a shower, I would describe it as a coin-operated cold pressure-washer. On full-hot it was quite cool, and the pressure could not be reduced below my pain threshold without turning the temperature icy. So I depended on my tiny camper’s shower for the rest of the trip and grew to appreciate it even though I can’t stand up straight in it. The campground itself is fantastic, and I would recommend it very highly. It is extremely clean, the hosts were very friendly, and the rangers courteously but firmly kept people from annoying each other. The understory beneath the pines is kept clear, which provides a very pretty aesthetic depth to the woods. The campsites are well-spaced and well-positioned to maximize privacy and the impression of the high mountain forest. I would recommend loop D, where we stayed, but this campground is full of great sites. It would be hard to go wrong. Google maps pointed us up Mountain Base Rd as the shortest route. But this road is closed to RV’s and vehicles pulling trailers. We took the longer route recommended, which was not that much longer (maybe 10 minutes) and definitely safer. Mountain Base Rd is definitely not suitable for trailers or RV’s – it’s too steep and curvy. I would have been terrified if I had ignored the sign, and I’m not sure I would have made it.
Date of Stay: May, 2010
We stayed overnight on long drive, arriving after dark. We stayed in site #30. The site's pad was quite narrow and located very close to the fire ring of the adjacent site. The smoke was heavy in our camper that night. We looked around the next morning and found there are many sites that are more spacious and private. It has good shade throughout, generally a very nice campground. The sites at the end of the campground loop look the best. The bathhouse was quite clean and comfortable. We took a quick hike the following morning, about 1 mile towards Graham cave, but did not go all the way. Very nice trail, trailhead conveniently located in campground area. This park is very close to the interstate, so it is very convenient, and we heard no noise from the interstate at all. Practically ideal distance from interstate.
Date of Stay: May, 2010
Very pretty campground. Owners clearly take great pride in their campground, which shows in its overall cleanliness and in the beauty of the flower gardens and other landscaping. Owners very friendly and helpful in every way, demonstrate care for their customers and their campground. Many activities for children. We don’t have kids, and we can be a little grumpy about noisy kids. But there are so many fun activities for kids at this campground, like putt putt and merry-go-round, etc, that all the (many) kids at the place had plenty of peaceful fun. Would highly recommend this place.
Date of Stay: April, 2010
The west rim is one of the nicest campgrounds I’ve visited. Spacing and layout of the campsites affords very good privacy, views of woods. I could not see a campsite that I would consider undesirable. The shade is very good, with tree cover throughout. The campground is very well cared for. It's quiet most of the time, very clean. Gray water drains are provided at several convenient locations in campground, in addition to the typical dump station at the access road. Trails are accessible from the campground, so there's no need to drive once you're set up. I would give the west rim 10/10. The east rim campground is situated between the day use area access road and the rental cabins – quite close to each. There's not much tree cover, and no privacy to speak of. We didn’t stay in the east rim campground, but it looks like it would feel far less “in-the-woods” than the excellent west rim campground. I would give the east rim 7/10.
Date of Stay: February, 2010
As far as an RV park, the facility is not that great, actually probably the worst I've visited. Many if not most of the hookups are on the wrong side of the sites (as is the dump station). One site I looked at had the water hookup at least 30' from the gravel pad, on the opposite side of the picnic area. Many sites are extremely small and extremely slanted. I have a very small (16') camper, and I still don't think I could have leveled it on some of these sites without lifting both tires off the ground. Fortunately it was very cold when I was there, so I had the place to myself and was able to pick the best site. All that being said, there's a lot to recommend this park. The bathhouse was clean and well-maintained. The campground is on a hilltop, with pretty nice views if sparse shade. The lake and cabin area are a short walk from the campground. There's an unusual, interesting bat tower and playground inside main campground loop. Trail access from the campground is excellent, and the trail system is outstanding. If I were rating the park exclusive of the campground, I'd give it a 9 or 10.
Date of Stay: January, 2010
Very friendly, courteous staff. The place is very clean and well-cared for. We stayed in campground #1, which is the only one with sewer at the sites and the only on open in winter (thank you TN State Parks for keeping this open year-round - we love this place in winter!). We did check out the other areas, though, and found they have some great sites up on a hilltop, and others nestled down in a heavily wooded area close to the lake shore, which would probably be very nice in hot weather. Tree cover throughout the park is excellent. The park and campgrounds are laid out very attractively to give a sense of being in the woods. Nice hiking trails are available, easily within walking distance. There's a lake with boats for rent, although it was frozen over during our stay.