Cherokee National Forest - Paint Creek - Camping

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About

Summary

The densely wooded, streamside campsites that you’ll find in Paint Creek Campground are perfect for family camping within the larger Cherokee National Forest.

Written by

Cinnamon Janzer

Distance

0.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

147.4 miles

Difficulty

1 of 5 diamonds

No backcountry logistics necessary here—all sites are easily accessible.

Time To Complete

2 days

Seasonality

Spring, Summer, and Fall

The foliage is outstanding in the fall, but summer is the best time to go in order to take advantage of the accessibility of Paint Creek and fly fishing.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits

Yes

$10 for a single site, $20 for a double. Sites are first-come, first-served.

Land Website

Paint Creek Info

Review

Intro

Compared to some of the other locations in Cherokee National Forest, Paint Creek Campground strikes a happy balance between rustic and amenity-laden—you’ll find vault toilets, but no showers or extra facilities. The easy-to-reach location, plus swimming and fishing in the creek, makes for a fun spot that the whole family can enjoy. There are 20 sites total, 17 of which can be used by RVs and all include a fire pit or grill and a picnic table.

What Makes It Great

At Paint Creek Campground, there are no bad sites—the plots are perfectly spaced and the grounds are well-maintained. All sites are first-come, first-served, so Paint Creek is an equal opportunity campground that tends to fill up with a mix between those just passing through and those who have dubbed this spot as their favorite and return time and time again. The park is open year round, but camping is restricted to the warmer months of the year. Eighteen of the 20 sites are single and two are double.

The Paint Creek Corridor that runs between the campground and the French Broad River is chock full of scenic driving opportunities, fly fishing spots, and a couple of overlooks that offer views of both Kelly and Dudley Falls. Fly fisherpeople will be happy with how stocked the creek stays with trout all summer, while younger ones who are just learning can try their hand at a catch from the warm water fishing pond.

When it comes to daytime activities, there’s a popular biking route not far from the site. The route starts at Paint Creek Campground and follows 41 to River Road and onto Hot Springs, which is technically in North Carolina. The path is 12 miles one-way, so about 24 miles round trip.

Who is Going to Love It

Families and campers who want beautiful scenery without having to worry about the logistics that come with backcountry camping will like what they find here. Fishermen (and women) will also fall for this spot since the creek is stocked with trout during the summer, making for an extraordinary fly fishing experience. Anyone looking to extend their stay in a laid-back, secluded-feeling campground within the beautiful Cherokee National Forest will enjoy a stay at Paint Creek Campground.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Greeneville, take Route 70 south for just over 10 miles until your reach the sign for Paint Creek Campground. Turn right onto Rollins Chapel Road and continue for a little over one mile to Lower Paint Creek Road where you’ll turn left. The campground will be roughly 1.6 miles down the road.

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Location

Paint Creek

35.958557, -82.866808

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