Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life-and travel-leaves marks on you.
----Anthony Bourdain

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Melton Hill Dam Campground

Melton Hill is one of our favorite camping spots when we want a quick get away. It is located just southwest of Knoxville, Tn., just off of I-40.  It's a very short drive to Lenoir City, so if you forget something and need to run to a store, there are some nearby.
Melton Hill is a self-sustaining TVA Campground.  It is first come, although there are plans to possibly change to a reservation system in the future. Management just switched from TVA to Recreation Resource Management. The campground is seasonal: this year it is open from 15 March through 15 November.
You can have your pick of what amenities you want at your campsite: hook-ups, electricity, and water are all available.
The sites are a decent size. We were there the 2nd weekend the campground was open, and it was pretty much empty.
The handicapped sites are very nice:
There are some sites that are "pull-over":
Those are a tight squeeze, but they're ideal for teardrops or small trailers.
The tent sites are gorgeous. They almost make me wish we were tent camping! Notice I said "almost"! Our heater came in handy at  night!
The bathrooms are decent. There are 2 in the campground; 1 is also used for people who come to enjoy the park for the day. That one got a little less than clean (obviously), but it was still "okay".
(This is the one at the top of the hill, but they are identical on the inside, except for the lower bathhouse accommodating the handicapped.)
The park got pretty busy during the day on Saturday with boaters and picnickers. There are pavilions available; some of them have grills.
Camping areas are clearly marked to keep the park's day users from roaming around the campsites.  Surprisingly, I didn't see anyone roaming or driving around the campground.  The camp host drove around what seemed like every hour.
There is an overlook with a nice observation building. I think the building is actually for the TVA police, but you are allowed to walk around and take in the views. There is also a hiking trail and a couple of pavilions in that area.
The dam area also had quite a bit of traffic, with people biking, running, or just enjoying the sunshine.
Dogs are allowed. (I wouldn't want to forget Laika!) She's a good camping dog, but when it starts to get dark, she's ready to head inside.
As always, we also ate some pretty good food/chow:
The only other time we've been to Melton Hill is the last weekend of the season, so I don't know how hard it is to get a spot other times of the year. They don't have reduced rates for government workers or TVA employees, but they do honor Golden Age, Golden Access, and America the Beautiful; however, if you camp in a premium site, they are not honored. Find out more at RRM's website here

Another good camping weekend, but then again, any weekend is a good camping weekend!

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