Recreation

Tellico River

From Big Frog Mountain to Watauga Lake, fifteen different areas offer unique opportunities, activities and experiences across the Cherokee National Forest.

Choose an activity of interest in the left menu under “Recreation” or begin exploring the Recreation Map below. Click on the symbols to view recreation opportunities featured throughout the National Forest.

Enjoy your visit to the Cherokee National Forest.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Recreation Conditions Report

 Area Name Status Area Conditions
Apalachia Powerhouse Launch Open to Visitor Open year-round. 2019 Updates: Commercial loading area has been recently updated to allow for smoother commercial operations, resource protection, and less congestion.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail   
Baby Falls Day Use Site Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Backbone Rock Recreation Area Open to Visitor Day use area and pavilion rentals are open for the 2019 season. Campground will open 4/29.
Big Bend Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Big Oak Cove Campground Closed to Visitor Closed for the 2018 season. Will reopen in the spring.
Birch Branch Campground Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Bubbling Springs Range Open to Visitor Illegal targets include skeet, explosives, electronic equipment, bottles, cans, etc.  Please be considerate of others and properly use the shooting range.
Cardens Bluff Campground Closed to Visitor Closed for the 2018 season. Will reopen in the spring. 2019 Updates: Old storm-damaged toilet in Loop A will soon be removed and a new campsite built in its place.
Chestoa Recreation Area Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Childers Creek Trailhead Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Chilhowee Recreation Area Open to Visitor Open for the 2019 season. 2019 Updates: Recreation Area has an entirely new water system. Bathhouses in the day use area and Loops C & D have brand new roofs and interior lighting.
Conasauga River Blue Hole Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Dam Creek Walk-In Campground and Picnic Area Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Davis Branch Campground Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Dennis Cove Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Closed for the 2018 season. Will reopen in the spring.
Donley Cabin Open to Visitor Open year-round.
East Parksville Boat Launch Open to Visitor Open year-round. 2019 Updates: Repairs were done to the boat ramp recently while Parksville Lake was down.
Hiwassee River Picnic Area Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Holder Cove Campground Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Holly Flats Closed to Visitor Closed for the 2018 season. Will reopen in the spring.
Hood Mountain Overlook Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Horse Creek Recreation Area Open to Visitor Open for the 2019 season. Bathhouse has been fully renovated, and will be open for the 2019 season. Vegetation management is ongoing around the day use area to thin out regrowth and enhance specimen trees.
Houston Valley Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Closed for the 2018 season. Will reopen in the spring.
Indian Boundary Overflow Campground Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Indian Boundary Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Closed for the 2018 season. Will reopen in the spring.
Jacobs Creek Range Open to Visitor Illegal targets include skeet, explosives, electronic equipment, bottles, cans, etc.  Please be considerate of others and properly use the shooting range.
Jacobs Creek Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Closed for the 2018 season. Will reopen in the spring.
Jake Best Campground Open to Visitor Open for the 2019 season.
Kings Slough Boat Launch Open to Visitor Open year-round. 2019 Updates: Repairs were done to the boat ramp recently while Parksville Lake was down.
Limestone Cove Day Use Area Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Little Milligan Boat Launch Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Little Oak Campground Open to Visitor Primitive camping is open for the 2019 season. The rest of the campground will open 4/29. 2019 Updates: Bathrooms have been recently updated to allow for better accessibility.
Lost Corral Horse Camp Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Lost Creek Campground Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Mac Point Beach Open to Visitor Open for the 2019 season. 2019 Updates: Repairs were done to the beach recently while Parksville Lake was down. Stairs into the water were lengthened and rails were added. Sand has been added to the beach, erosion behind the seawall has been repaired, and new benches have been installed.
McNabb Group Camp Closed to Visitor
North River Campground Open to Visitor Open for the 2019 season.
North River Checking Station Open to Visitor
Ocoee Whitewater Center Open to Visitor Open for the 2019 season.
Old Forge Recreation Area Open to Visitor Open for the 2019 season.
Paint Creek Campground Closed to Visitor Closed for the 2018 season. Will reopen in the spring.
Parksville Boat Launch Open to Visitor Open year-round. 2019 Updates: Repairs were done to the boat ramp recently while Parksville Lake was down.
Parksville Lake Campground Open to Visitor Open for the 2019 season.
Pinnacle Mountain Lookout Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Pond Mountain Shooting Range Open to Visitor Illegal targets include skeet, explosives, electronic equipment, bottles, cans, etc.  Please be considerate of others and properly use the shooting range.
Quinn Springs Pavilion Open to Visitor
Rat Branch Boat Launch Open to Visitor Open year-round. 2019 Updates: New lighting improvements were recently installed. Walkway to the bathroom will soon be repaired for better accessibility.
Rock Creek Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Closed for the 2018 season. Will reopen in the spring.
Rough Ridge Campground Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Round Knob Picnic Area Open to Visitor Inclement winter weather may prohibit use of the road.
Round Mountain Campground Closed to Visitor Closed for the 2018 season. Will reopen in the spring.
Sink Mountain Boat Ramp Open to Visitor 4/10/19: Sink Mt Road (#298) is now open.
Spivey Cove Campground Closed to Visitor Closed for the 2018 season. Will reopen in the spring.
State Line Campground Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Sylco Campground Open to Visitor Open year-round.
The Laurels Picnic Area Open to Visitor Open for the 2019 season.
Thunder Rock Campground Open to Visitor 4/10/2019: Lift stations are being repaired, so flush toilets are not functional right now. Vault toilets are still working. 2019 Updates: Bathhouse has a brand new roof and interior lighting.
Towee Creek Launch Open to Visitor Open year-round. 2019 Updates: Walkway to the bathroom will soon be repaired for better accessibility.
Tumbling Creek Campground Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Walnut Grove Picnic Area Open to Visitor Open year-round.
Watauga Point Picnic Area Open to Visitor Open for the 2019 season. Pavilion rentals begin 4/8.
Young Branch Campground Open to Visitor Open year-round.

Spotlights

Indian Boundary Recreation Area

View of Indian Boundary Recreation Area in Cherokee National Forest

If you are looking for a base camp to explore the vicinity or a destination campground with modern facilities and a family atmosphere, try Indian Boundary Recreation Area (IBRA), accessed off Cherohala Skyway.

Over 87 campsites are equipped with firerings, picnic tables, lantern posts and electrical hookups, with easy access to drinking water, showers, flush toilet facilities and an on-site dump station.

Day use facilities include a 96-acre lake, swim beach, small boat launch, accessible fishing pier and 3.6 mile hike/bike trail around the lake. Did you forget something? Don't sweat it! The Indian Boundary Outpost can meet your camping supply needs ranging from bread to firewood, as well as a souvenir for you to remember your trip to IBRA.

Indian Boundary Recreation Area Map

Indian Boundary Recreation Area Guide

Little Oak Campground

Looking to camp near a large lake? Try Little Oak Recreation Area, located on a peninsula along the eastern shore of South Holston Lake in Sullivan County. In this campground, most of the 68 universally-accessible sites have lake views and many have direct access. Little Oak is a designated Watchable Wildlife Area with two interpretive trails. A concrete boat ramp provides a popular launch site into South Holston Lake, and is for use by registered campers. Most of the campsites are on Recreation.gov for your convenience.

Dennis Cove Recreation Area

Dennis Cove Recreation Area is a secluded campground and picnic area alongside Laurel Fork Creek in Carter County. It includes a remote developed campground, popular with those seeking a rustic experience. The altitude, creekside location and lush forest surroundings make Dennis Cove particularly desirable during hot summer months. 

Quick Links

Areas & Activities
[Image] of bear in front of bear proof garbage can

Safety in Bear Country

 



https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/cherokee/recreation