Since 1972, NOC has shared the outdoors with millions of guests on white water river rafting trips, with all varieties of kayak and canoe instruction, on mountain bikes and around the world with our adventure travel trips. Located in western North Carolina near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NOC is within easy driving distance of Atlanta, Charlotte and Knoxville. Our world-class staff leads whitewater (some say white water!) rafting trips on nine of the East's best rivers
South Mountain is near Morganton, NC. It is a nice park on the edge of the Blueridge and the piedmont area of the state. They have equestrian trails which is nice if that is your thing. They have alot of family sites too. I was not impressed with their backpack trails and campsites. They were a bit to "structured". I prefer no firepit, but this park has fire pits pre-built and tent sites marked. It kinda takes away from the ruggedness of the adventure. We made the mistake of hiking one of the equestrian trails on the way in, but were able to take the foot trails the rest of the way. Its a fun place to take the family but I would not recommend this for the primitive camping experience. If you want to take a fun day hike this is a good option. There are some good views and plenty of space to spread out.
Drive up primative campground with 3-4 camping areas. Free with a very primative pit toilet. Picnic tables and even trash cans provided. Walking distance to Slick Rock overlook and under 3 miles to the Chattooga with many trails and excellent fishing. A trail from the campground also connects to Ellicott Rock trail. There are also several single site primative spots along Bull Pen Bridge Road, mostly between the bridge and Hwy 107 to the east.
GPS: 35.0220 x -83.1449From Highlands, east on Horse Cove Road, down the mountain, to Bull Pen Road on the right. Take for 2 miles or so to Ammons Branch on the right, very soon after Slick Rock trailhead.From Cashiers, south on 107 to Whiteside Cove Road on the right. Take to the valley and take Bull Pen Bridge Road on the left for 2 miles or so to Ammons Branch on the right. Or go further south on 107 and turn right onto Bull Pen Road (this is the way to go if coming from SC). Ammons Branch is 2-3 miles after Bull Pen Bridge. It will be on the left.
Gorges State Park is a beautiful place to backpack into and camp. The Raymond Fisher trail costs around $15 and the Foothils trail is free. It's about 1.5 miles round trip to the RF site and about 6.5 to the Foothills sites. The RF site has a privy, but the Foothils sites are all natural.Here's the main site: http://ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/gorg/main.phpHere's a directions and a trail map/brochure: http://ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/gorg/directions.php