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Camping at Backbone Rock Campground

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Overview of Backbone Rock Campground

Backbone Rock Campground is nestled in the Cherokee National Forest, close to the Tennessee and Virginia state line. This campground provides a serene setting for outdoor enthusiasts looking to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. With the Appalachian Trail and numerous other hiking opportunities nearby, Backbone Rock is a popular spot for campers and hikers.

Campsite Information

Backbone Rock Campground offers a number of campsites suitable for both tent and RV camping. However, the campground is more inclined towards tent camping due to the natural terrain and layout of the area. The campsites usually include amenities like:

  • Picnic tables
  • Fire rings
  • Access to potable water
  • Shared restroom facilities

Campers should check in advance whether any of the sites provide electrical hookups or if they all offer a more rustic camping experience.


Visitors to Backbone Rock Campground can engage in a wide range of activities such as:

  • Hiking: Trails such as the Appalachian Trail are accessible from the campground or a short drive away.
  • Fishing: The surrounding streams are popular for trout fishing, so anglers can enjoy their hobby in lush settings.
  • Sightseeing: The unique geologic feature, Backbone Rock, is an attraction in itself, often referred to as "The Shortest Tunnel in the World."
  • Picnicking: Areas are available for those who wish to have a leisurely picnic in the forest.
  • Wildlife Watching: The diverse ecosystem of the Cherokee National Forest allows for bird watching and wildlife observation.


Accessibility can vary at federal recreation sites, so visitors with disabilities should contact the campground directly to inquire about the specific facilities available. This includes information on whether there are sites that are ADA-compliant and if the restrooms and other facilities are accessible.

Reservations and Fees

Reservations for Backbone Rock Campground can be made in advance, which is strongly recommended during peak season to ensure a camping spot. Fees are typically associated with camping here, but they can vary based on the site and the type of camping experience you are looking for. It's best to check the current fees and reservation policies prior to planning your trip.

Season and Weather

The campground operates seasonally, so it is important to check when it is open. Weather conditions in the mountainous areas of the Cherokee National Forest can change rapidly, and campers should be prepared for a range of temperatures and weather events. Always bring appropriate gear for cold and wet conditions, even during the summer months.

Rules and Regulations

  • Adherence to campsite capacity limits is required.
  • Pets should be kept on a leash.
  • Campfires should be confined to designated fire rings, and campers must follow any fire restrictions.
  • Quiet hours are typically enforced to ensure an enjoyable experience for all campers.
  • Leave No Trace principles should be followed to maintain the natural integrity of the area.

Contact Information

For the most current information, it is recommended to contact the local managing agency directly:

Before heading to Backbone Rock Campground, ensure you are familiar with the rules and regulations, have a confirmed reservation if needed, and are prepared for the natural conditions you may encounter in the Cherokee National Forest.

Location of Backbone Rock Campground
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