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View Full Version : Free & cheap campsites TN and VA.



flemdawg1
08-30-2018, 15:50
I'm driving to PA next month for a section hike. I'd like to find a cheap or free place to camp along or near the I-40 or I-81 corridor in TN or Southern VA. Anyone have any suggestions.

illabelle
08-30-2018, 16:11
A park won't be free, so maybe your best option is to backpack to an AT shelter or campsite.
John's Spring Shelter is 1.0 mile from the road - near McAfee Knob.
Or from VA55 Linden VA, hike 3.0 miles south to the Jim and Mary Denton Shelter, or 2.5 miles north to the Manassas Gap Shelter.

Other options exist. Depends how far you drive before needing to stop. You could also just pull over in a highway rest area for a few hours...

The Kisco Kid
08-30-2018, 16:13
Waynesboro has free camping for hikers in town. It's not too far from 81. I stayed in town with my brother on a similar overnight on the way from New York to a section hike in North Carolina a few years ago.

gpburdelljr
08-30-2018, 16:22
The Ultimate US Public Campgrounds app is $3.99, and can be used to find campgrounds. Filters on type of campground, price, etc. can be set. The campgrounds are shown on a map. Tap on a campground icon and get a dialog box on the campground, then tap on the i icon to get more info, including gps coordinates.

http://www.ultimatecampgrounds.com/index.php/products/applications

DownYonder
08-30-2018, 16:51
I'm driving to PA next month for a section hike. I'd like to find a cheap or free place to camp along or near the I-40 or I-81 corridor in TN or Southern VA. Anyone have any suggestions.

If you are willing to go 30 minutes off of I-81 there are multiple campgrounds with tents sites. Grayson Highlands is on $15, Bear Tree near Damascus is $24, Grindstone Campground 15 minutes off I-81 is $24. If you don't mind a 35 minute drive, you can camp on our property along Big Horse Creek for free....sorry no facilities.

All of these are off the second Chilhowie VA exit.

Analog_Kidd
08-30-2018, 21:39
Big Creek is a gsmnp campground on I40 right at the tn / nc line. Just make reservations. I think it is like $20.

Max patch is pretty close to there as well. I think you can drive right to it. Not sure what the camping situation is tho. You may have to hike in a bit. But it would be free.

I just realized that may be too far East for you, and not the part of 40 you were looking for.

I think it is legal to camp for free anywhere in a national forest. May want to Google locations of those along your way.

Analog_Kidd
08-30-2018, 21:46
Big Creek is a gsmnp campground on I40 right at the tn / nc line. Just make reservations. I think it is like $20.

Max patch is pretty close to there as well. I think you can drive right to it. Not sure what the camping situation is tho. You may have to hike in a bit. But it would be free.

I just realized that may be too far East for you, and not the part of 40 you were looking for.

I think it is legal to camp for free anywhere in a national forest. May want to Google locations of those along your way.

TNhiker
08-31-2018, 01:15
I think it is legal to camp for free anywhere in a national forest.



thats about half correct.........there are some established campgrounds that charge a fee..............there are a ton of "primitive" campsites along the roads where one can put a tent (and sometimes alot more)...


the road up to max patch has a few places along the way to do this, and it would avoid going all the way up to max patch..........especially, if one is in a hurry and wants to get back on the road........

the lakes that TVA built also has the same with some fee campgrounds and some free places to camp...............

Slo-go'en
08-31-2018, 08:34
I can appreciate the desire to save money, but to get off the highway and try to find a place to camp in an unfamiliar area and probably in the dark seems like way too much trouble to me. It would be easier to find a Walmart and camp in their parking lot with all the RVers.

tagg
08-31-2018, 12:27
the road up to max patch has a few places along the way to do this, and it would avoid going all the way up to max patch..........especially, if one is in a hurry and wants to get back on the road........

Agreed. Get off of I-40 on exit 7 (I think it's Harmons Den Rd or something like that?), and within the first mile before you really start up the mountain there are plenty of spots along the stream to your right where you can spend a night and have an easy in/out.

flemdawg1
08-31-2018, 18:19
What the policy on nonhikers at Partnership Shelter?

DownYonder
08-31-2018, 18:42
What the policy on nonhikers at Partnership Shelter?

Hurricane Campground is in the same area as Partnership. $19 includes car fee and I think they have showers.

Slo-go'en
08-31-2018, 20:11
What the policy on nonhikers at Partnership Shelter?

Show up looking like a hiker before dark and there shouldn't be a problem. Google says you can get to Marion, VA in less then 6 hours, so making it before dark is a good bet. It's probably another 6-7 hours to where your going to in PA, so a good mid way point. Get dinner in town before heading up there.