Bandy Creek Campground, Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures
Bandy Creek Campground, Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures
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If you are looking to explore the beautiful wilderness of Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area but want a place close to all the major attractions, Bandy Creek Campground is one of the most popular options! This modern campground offers water and electric hookups for campers as well as a bathhouse, camp store and even a visitor center. Unlike most National Park Service campgrounds, you will find a large swimming pool and hiking trails that are accessible just steps away from the camping area.

Table of Contents

Amenities

Bathhouses

Bathhouse at Bandy Creek Campground, Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee
Bathhouse at Bandy Creek Campground, Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

There are several bathhouses located throughout the camping area. Each of the bathhouses offers warm showers and restroom facilities for campers. The bathhouse is climate controlled, so if you are tent camping it can be a place to cool off or warm up depending on the season. Non-campers are welcome to use the showers for a small fee.

Playgrounds

Kids will love being able to play on the several playgrounds tucked away around the campgrounds. Some sites actually back up directly to a playground which could be a good option if you are traveling with children. The playgrounds boast slides and climbing areas.

Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool at Bandy Creek Campground, Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee
Swimming Pool at Bandy Creek Campground, Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

One of the few National Park areas to offer a swimming pool, this large aquatic retreat was built in 1988 by the Army Corps of Engineers. Swimmers can enjoy the pools and wading area and there is even a chair lift for handicap access. You do not need to be a camper to use the pool but there is an entrance fee for all users. The swimming pool is typically open from Memorial Day to Labor Day on Fridays – Sundays from 11 am to 6 pm. For more information on current admission and how to get a wristband, please click here.

There is also a volleyball court next to the pool!

Hiking Trails

From Bandy Creek Campground, campers can easily access several hiking trails. Some of these trails lead to unique rock formations, waterfalls and historic homesteads. One especially unique hike is the John Litton Farm Loop Trail that also passes by Fall Branch Falls. Be sure to check out the best hikes in Big South Fork when planning your adventure.

Visitor Center & Gift Shop

Visitor Center & Gift Shop at Bandy Creek, Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures
Visitor Center & Gift Shop at Bandy Creek, Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

Camping in Bandy Creek allows convenient access to the one of Big South Fork’s Visitor Centers. This center offers not only a gift shop filled with maps, collectibles and children’s ranger vests, but also offers Park Rangers on site to help answer questions about the area. Plus if you have a National Park stamp book, you can get your stamp at this location.

Want a National Park Stamp book? Get yours on Amazon here.

Camp Store

If you forgot your mosquito spray or s’mores supplies, don’t worry! Just across the road from the campgrounds, next to the stables, is the Camp Store. This small store features some basic essentials for the great outdoors including food, drinks, sunscreen, coolers, and plenty more. The store offers a nice selection of local wines and craft beer too. If you need firewood or ice, they’ve got an honor box for those items even after hours. The store is open seasonally and is typically open a few days a week. For most current hours, please click here.

Stables

Although horses are not allowed in the campgrounds area, directly across the road is the Bandy Creek Stables, near the Camp Store. The stables feature 54 stalls that are 10’x10′ in size. There are also paddock spaces and easy access to miles of trails. The stalls are available to rent online. To make a reservation, click here.

Things to Know

Site Hookups

Each of the sites offer water and electric hookups. Electric at the sites range from 30 amp to 50 amp. There are no sewer hookups at the campsite. However, there is a dump station with a water spigot that you can drive your camper to or take your portable holding tank up to the station.

Pets

Pets are allowed in the campgrounds and park trails as long as they are on a leash. Pets cannot be allowed to roam the campsite or be left unattended. If you do bring your furry friends, the trails are a great place to take your animals to explore the great outdoors and stretch their legs.

Food Storage

Big South Fork is very remote and seeing bears or other large animals is not uncommon. Proper food storage is required for the safety of campers and wildlife. Food must be securely stored in a hard sided vehicle (or trailer) but a food lockers can serve as an alternative. There are several food lockers throughout the camping area that are free to use. All food including wrappers, plates, grills, or cooking grease, must be disposed of in the provided animal-proof trash cans around the campground or inside your vehicle or trailer.

Wildlife

The camping area gets very dark at night as there is limited lighting. When walking around at night, even to the bathhouses, be sure to always carry a flashlight with you. Also stay alert to animal sounds like bear or raccoons and watch where you step as nighttime critters such as a snakes may be on the move.

Bandy Creek Campground, Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures
Bandy Creek Campground, Big South Fork NRRA, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures

Plan Your Visit

Bandy Creek Campground is open year-round. Planning your visit at different times of the year can bring entirely new experiences. From the first blooms of spring to the falling of leaves in autumn, this campground offers amazing sites with some appreciated seclusion.

If you plan on staying in Bandy Creek Campground, especially if you are towing a trailer or have a large vehicle, it is recommended to avoid coming to the park from Oneida as there are sharp curves and steep switchbacks on Leatherwood Road (TN-297). Plan your route to enter the park from Jamestown.

For groceries or any other supplies, Oneida (15 miles) and Jamestown (24 miles) both have shopping and a Walmart if needed.

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