Outdoor

Marie McAden

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Cherry Hill is a gem among national forest campgrounds

Posted 6/10/2013 1:36:00 PM

Want to feel like you’re camping in the wilderness but still enjoy the luxury of a flush toilet and hot shower. Cherry Hill Campground in Mountain Rest fits the bill.

Touted as one of the best national forest campgrounds in the Southern Appalachians, this backwoods retreat is nestled in the shallow upper valley of West Fork Creek beneath a canopy of towering hardwood and pine trees.

Nearby are trailheads for several outstanding hikes, including the Foothills Trail, Big Bend Falls and Winding Staircase. (I’ll be writing about the last one in an upcoming blog.)

Campsites cost just $10 and offer convenient access to communal drinking water and bathroom facilities. The well-kept bathhouse features four individual bathrooms, providing campers with complete privacy. Each has its own shower, sink, toilet and electric outlet.

Of the 29 campsites, 17 can be reserved in advance for an extra $9. The remaining 12 are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring with cooking grill and a post to hang your lantern.

What they don’t have is electric and water hookups, which means the campground is mostly used by tent campers.

As you enter the campground just off S.C. 107, you’ll come to a circular turnaround on your left. A short path off the loop leads to the ruins of an old settler’s home. Five campsites have been carved into the woods here, but you’ll need to carry your gear a few feet from the parking area to the sites.

The main campground descends to the tranquil West Fork Creek. Nine of the sites lie along the stream. Campsite No. 12, where I stayed recently, was so close to the water we were lulled to sleep at night by the sound of the babbling brook.

In the late spring, you may not even notice the creek for all the blooming flowers. The sites along the stream are shrouded in rhododendron.

Cherry Hill Campground is open April 1 through Oct. 31. A couple from Mountain Rest have been serving as the camp hosts for years and are familiar with all the local attractions, including the Chattooga River, Walhalla State Fish Hatchery, the Ellicott Rock Wilderness Area and Whitewater Falls.

To learn more about Cherry Hill or reserve a campsite, click here.