Date of Stay: November, 2011
Stayed here for 5 nights for Thanksgiving in 2011 (and in 2010), for half price using the Golden Pass. Last year the park was filled, this year only 2/3 filled at Thanksgiving. The road is rock dust (very little gravel) so when it is not raining you have dust, and the dust is everywhere. The mosquitoes mentioned in other reviews are real. Any time it is warm and still, you will have dozens trying to land on you, and they are hungry. Be aware that sites 2 to 37 are seriously crowded. Most of the other sites have some space between and a few have a lot of space. The shower/restrooms are nice, though not well located for many campers. They have dribble showers with a minimum amount of water. Restrictors on the showers, and on demand, no control sink faucets prevent you from getting much hot water anywhere. Biggest problem is what I call PRESENCE. The management does not have a presence. In the mornings you will see the clean up crews around and maybe a ranger will drive through by noon, but after that there is nothing. No ranger, host, deputy sheriff, nothing. If you read the requirements for campers you will not see any restrictions on number of persons, vehicles, or boats at a camp site. A few camp sites will have 4 or 5 trucks with multiple tents, etc. There is no one around to enforce the quiet time rules, and one of the so-called hosts was as bad as some of the others. Last year we were lucky and we had good neighbors, but not this year. Only the cold nights quieted things down on some evenings. No rules on cleaning up your kennel mess when you leave, so you leave mounds around for the camper who follows you. I see the campground evolving more and more into a weekend party place for the locals.
Date of Stay: October, 2011
If you come from I-40, you will have 10 miles of very curving road. The asphalt is in good shape but it is a ride, always turning, going up or down. For having 14,000 acres or so of forest, most of it is elsewhere. Camping area is cleared out areas with few trees. You will probably get shade early or late in the day. The Lodge is very nice with restaurant if you want such for a change and Lexington, TN is only a couple miles away. It is largely populated with locals escaping from the Memphis area. Went on the trails, but they weren't much. Many visitors were very impressed by the place, but I had hoped for something more. We were there for 5 nights.
Date of Stay: August, 2011
A long, narrow campground situated next to the waterway and an inlet. Only the sites at the far end of the campground actually have a view of the barges and river traffic. The primitive campground which is on a peninsula probably has the best view of river traffic. Lots of shade on most sites and because of the long narrow arrangement you normally only have a few neighbors. Adjoining is a large kids play area (recreational area) complete with large water fountains for the younger kids. They have boat ramps and parking spaces for those with boat trailers. A very comfortable place, particularly on off season if you want some quiet and wildlife.
Date of Stay: May, 2011
This is a beautiful location for nature walks and exploring. There are several long and sometimes rugged paths along a small river. Cliffs and small waterfalls abound along with very large boulders and many different types of plants. This is also a good place for morning trail runs on hills. If you go to the spillway for the lake, you will find many curious rock formations and with previous visits, I have seen water disappear in one location and pop up 100 feet away. Regretfully the state has put money into refurbishing the rather large swimming pool instead of upgrading many of the camping sites. So if you don’t have a gigantic camper, this is a great location for camping. It is very difficult to rate this campground. The environs are great, but the campsites are sad.