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Camping at Gorges State Park

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Overview of Gorges State Park

Gorges State Park in North Carolina is renowned for its rugged terrain, scenic gorges, and abundant waterfalls, stemming from the Blue Ridge Escarpment. It's an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts looking for camping, hiking, and exploring the diverse ecosystem.

Camping Options

Backcountry Camping

  • Primitive campsites are available in the backcountry areas of the park for a true wilderness experience. These require a hike to reach and are equipped with pit toilets.
  • Campers must register for a permit at no charge, which is available at the visitor center or kiosks.

Group Camping

  • Designated areas are available for organized groups. Similar to backcountry camping, these areas are not readily accessible by vehicle and require a hike.

Picnic Shelters

  • Reservation is an option—which is recommended for weekends or holidays.
  • These facilities provide a place for groups to gather during the day but do not allow overnight stays.

Facilities and Amenities

  • The park features a modern visitor center with exhibits and a gift shop.
  • Restrooms and potable water are typically available near the visitor center and parking areas.
  • Picnic areas are scattered throughout the park, some with grills and tables.

Trails and Hiking

  • An extensive trail system is available, ranging from easy to strenuous hikes.
  • Popular trails include the Rainbow Falls Trail and the Bearwallow Valley Trail.
  • The Foothills Trail, which traverses several states, can be accessed from within the park.

Waterfalls and Scenic Views

  • The waterfalls within Gorges State Park, like Rainbow Falls, Turtleback Falls, and Hidden Falls, are significant attractions.
  • There are multiple overlooks that provide panoramic views of the gorges and surrounding area.

Park Regulations

  • Fires are allowed only in designated areas and grills.
  • All visitors must adhere to the Leave No Trace principles.
  • Alcohol and the collection of plants or animals are prohibited.
  • Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet.

Seasonal Considerations

  • Weather can be unpredictable, and the park is known for having one of the highest rainfall totals in the east, so visitors should come prepared with waterproof gear.
  • The park can experience icy conditions in the winter and may close during extreme weather.

Reservations and Permits

  • Backcountry campers must obtain a permit available at the visitor center.
  • For group campsites, advance reservations are vital, especially during peak seasons.


  • Cell phone reception can be unreliable in the park due to its remote location and rugged terrain.
  • Park visitors should be prepared for backcountry emergencies and inform others of their plans before departure.

Contact Information

  • Before visiting, it's best to check the latest information about camping, facilities, and regulations, directly from the North Carolina State Parks website or by contacting the Gorges State Park office.

Please note that services, amenities, and regulations can change, so it's always a good idea to check for the most current information before planning your trip.

Map of Campgrounds in Gorges State Park
Campgrounds in Gorges State Park
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