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

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Camping on a Tuesday: Jake Best Campground (TN)

I had one more week before it was time for another school year to begin. We decided to take a mid-week break and take a chance on a campground that is first come, first serve. We were a bit concerned that it might be full, but...

We had the whole place to ourselves. Jake Best Campground is in the Cherokee National Forest in East Tennesse, between Vonore and Tellico Plains. More specifically, it is in the Citico area. As we made our way along the gravel road to the campground, several dispersed camping areas were on the creek. This one is on the other side. The ones on the creek are quite spacious.

There is no fee to camp at these sites. Jake Best is $6/night and includes no hook-ups. The campground is open from around the beginning of March through the end of November. There is only one bathroom with a vault toilet.

Yes, I said only one toilet, but there are only 7 sites at this campground. During the peak season, there is a campground host who takes 1 spot. 5 sites are up a hill from the creek; there are 2 on the other side. Those 2 back up to the road; however, the road is one lane. When we were there, there was very little traffic. Robert said that the area gets quite busy once trout are released in the creek as well as during hunting season.
The road leading to the campground

The road leading to the campground on the other side.
Right beside the toilet is a box with envelopes and a pole where your payment is inserted. I'm not sure about other times of the year, but we didn't see any rangers while we were there.
The sites are a good size and are fairly level. There is no electricity or water, so be prepared. There is also no cell service so you're able to completely get away from distractions.
Site 2 seems to be the best site for RVs

Site 3 seemed to be the shortest site.
We chose Site 7 because it had a view of the creek down the hill at the back. The site next to ours also had a view but it wasn't quite as good.
The back of Site 7; the creek is down the hill

Site #7

Since this is bear country, bear-proof trash cans are provided. There are 2 right next to Site 5 and 2 beside the toilet. We didn't see any evidence of bears, or even raccoons for that matter. The campground was very clean and the garbage bins were empty when we got there. 
Bear-proof bins next to Site 5

Bear-proof bins next to the toilet

I would definitely stay there again. It was a little unsettling to be the only ones in the campground the first night but the second night I wasn't bothered by it. We had a backup plan in case the campground was full so we would definitely do that again. There is another campground not too far away that has overflow camping so Indian Boundary may be another option.

We very much enjoyed the solitude of Jake Best. The walk to the creek was easy. The water was very cold and very clear. Robert took a couple of dips in the cold water (I got in once) and we skipped some rocks. It was an exceptionally relaxing couple of days.

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