Saturday, September 17, 2022

Bear Den on the Blue Ridge Parkway

July 28- July 31 2022                                                          Most Recent Posts:
Bear Den Campground                                               Wrapping Up Riverbend
BRP near Spruce Pine, NC                         Chinquapin Mountain & Highlands



On Friday July 28, I moved from Riverbend to Bear Den.  It was only a 111 mile drive but the narrow roads, curves and mountains were worse coming from one end of the North Carolina Mountains to the other than they were getting to Riverbend initially.  Driving 11 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway was the nicest part.  I guess I’m too nervous for mountain driving.  I’m having such a wonderful time in the North Carolina Mountains but I’m not sure I have the fortitude to return again.


The campground at Bear Den is off the Blue Ridge Parkway UP a long narrow gravel road.  The road has driveways to houses along it and dead ends into the campground.   The campground is very large as you can see from the map.  It has both campsites and cabins though the cabins that I saw in the campground have no amenities.  The campground roads themselves go further up the side of the mountain and I was all the way at the top.  Section D.  Low gear just to get there.


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The campground’s information says some cabins have Jacuzzi spa tubs, provide a completely equipped kitchen and fully-furnished living area with gas log fireplace, porch and private deck.  But the only ones I saw within the campground were simple one room.   I didn’t look into where the others might be on the 400 acre property.



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My site was a pull through which was nice initially but it was very odd in that the two sites “above” me drove right by my patio on the “drive way” every time they went in and out.  There were several other sites I would have liked much better for a month long stay.  Unlike Riverbend where most people were long term – month or seasonal, the sites above me switched out every week-end and later in the month were empty all week long which was very nice though there was still an amazing amount of traffic on the loop that surrounded me.


This picture shows Winnona from the front.  The 3 sites on my “driveway” were in the middle of the road that circled to the top and back which everyone who rented a golf cart, so they didn’t have to walk the steep hills, had to drive up and down.  There was no privacy and often no silence.

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The campground had a very small lake separated into a swimming section with a small beach and a fishing section with a dock.

There was more fishing than swimming while I was there but it was seldom too hot here right off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Notice the mid dock that sticks out into the lake on the swimming side.

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Here it is from the top of the dock.  You can see the swimming rope and the fishing dock on the far left.

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From the other side of the lake the artificial waterfall is visible.


I guess this makes 3 waterfalls on the property technically.

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Bear Den is known as a family campground and in addition to the swimming and fishing lake has a basketball hoop and a popular recreation room.


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The campground also has a series of trails on its 400 acres.  And two of them have waterfalls.  The campground areas are in yellow toward the bottom of the map.  I was in area D.



IMG_2573The first hike I did from Bear Den was on the property, the Cascade Trail which I understood had a waterfall on it.  At that point, I thought the property only had one waterfall and I wanted to see it.

The trail began uphill from my site and continued uphill to the falls.  It was steep and long, a single track, rooty and slick in spots.  It was approximately 3 miles round trip but it felt like a lot more.

I found numerous mushrooms but few flowers.  I took pictures of tons of mushrooms.  These are the most interesting ones.


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I really wasn’t expecting to see a tiger lily at the base of this large oak.

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An example of the rooty trail with fungi I don’t think I’ve seen before.  Look closely for orange “stalks”.


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No idea what they are or if they are edible.  Do you know?

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Lots of rhododendron and huge rocks as I approached the cascade.

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Lovely as it is, it doesn’t seem like a cascade to me.  I called it Dripping Springs.

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This video of “dripping springs is a bit jerky in parts.  The rocks were slick and I was trying to show the area and trail in.  But the sound is magical as always and the negative ions were wonderful. Negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.  I know for sure that I feel better after spending time in them.  And after another harrowing drive,  I was only to happy to spend time here.

I was very glad to arrive and get parked at Bear Den.  This hike not easy, but a nice start to my month long stay here.

31 comments:

  1. Whew. I might need a lot of negative ions to enjoy that campground. Looking forward to more stories of your month there.

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    1. Thanks Sue. The campground was okay but not somewhere I would return to in spite of the fact that there was very nice hiking on the property.

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  2. I agree, driving those mountain roads is stressful! I wonder if we end up moving to NC if I would ever get used to those crazy winding roads. Good old flat Florida wins in that regard, LOL. "Dripping Springs" is a perfect name for that lovely cascade!

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    1. I fear North Carolina might have the opposite problem that you have in Florida. You'd have to go away for the winter. Doing the roads in a car is not all that bad but in an RV or towing an RV it's really really stressful.

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  3. I think the fungi might be called "dead man's fingers". Don't know about its toxicity. Do you prefer these private campgrounds or are you not able to get into the county, state and federal campgrounds? I know they often don't have full hookups. Since you like waterfalls, the area around the Great Lakes, especially Lake Superior, has incredible ones, and wonderful hiking trails. I know it is a distance from where you are but worth the drive!

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    1. Without David, I prefer not to have to move every 2 weeks so that's why I have switched to private campgrounds. I for sure do not prefer them but they are easier to get into then state or national parks. We spent some time in the Great lakes One Summer and I really would like to go back. I wish you'd sign your comment so I know who this anonymous is.

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  4. The billiards table would draw me in.

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    1. I never saw anyone playing billiards William but I didn't check the rec Hall everyday.

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  5. Don't miss the stress of those drives up hills! Dripping springs is accurate on this waterfall.

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    1. It's hard to find somewhere to go for cooler weather in the summer without being in the mountains and having to drive.

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  6. Always love to see extensive reviews of campgrounds. Looks like that one is not big rig friendly lol. Love seeing your hikes too!

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    1. There were definitely sites that were big enough for big rigs but you really did have to pull yourself up that mountain to get to them.

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  7. Doesn't look like the best spot for a month stay, but I guess you can get off on trails, etc. Any driving nowadays is stressful, whether winding roads or big city or interstates. Too much traffic and too many crazy people. Enjoy your stay.

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  8. It was a great area to be in Lynne. It was near Boone and Blowing Rock. There was lots of hiking on and off the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was just the getting there.

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  9. I agree that set up for your space is weird, but the park looked like it was nice for a month. Those mountain roads can be exhausting, especially when you're on your own! Definitely a beautiful area that I'm so bummed we ended up missing this time. Love all the delicate fungi :-)

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  10. It was good for a month and such a beautiful area. Hope you are home safe and Bill is feeling great.

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  11. Despite the challenging driving and the traffic going by, you did get to see some cool waterfalls. That fungus is weird. I love that tiger lily with the spots on it. They are one of my favorite flowers. The swimming area looked tempting. I think it would be fun to stay in one of the cabins. I would like amenities (like water) though.

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    1. I was wondering who would stay in those cabins with nothing but a bed. They have other much fancier and expensive cabins. A friend visited me while I was here and stayed in one of them. Very nice.

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  12. Lots of very interesting pics, yet you sure gave that campground a harsh review. Hope you are in a quiet happy place now. Perhaps it would be good for our Sprinter Van.

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    1. I didn't mean to give it a harsh review. I just didn't happen to like my site and that it was a climb straight up hill. I seemed to be the only one walking around. Everyone else had rented a golf cart.

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  13. Hey Sherry.

    Sure would like to see you in a less-stressful, smaller rig…. Albeit my 2007 Ford E350, for example, would be a drastic change, for sure. But, it does get one from Point A to Point B, parked, and setup is easy.

    Basically, all that’s really needed is a place to sleep and perhaps cook meals. It seems that most campgrounds have bathrooms and showers.

    Granted, cooking outdoors when it’s raining is no fun.

    My 2¢

    BTW - I’ll be in south Jersey beginning mid-October. Let me know if you’re anywhere nearby. Would love to see ya. ❤️

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  14. Fortunately Winnona is paid for and buying something else would require funds I don't have. I absolutely love Winnona though I do wish I could shrink her just a bit. Otherwise she is perfect! I don't love mountain driving even in the car. Hard on the brakes and transmission. Will be in Virginia through October.

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  15. Since I visited with you while there, I saw first hand how odd the space you were assigned was. Both of the sites above you were occupied and you are right, there was no privacy for you when sitting outside. But I enjoyed walking around in the campground and getting reacquainted. Hope you made it home safely!

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    1. Thanks Sharon. It was wonderful of you to come and visit. I really enjoyed spending that time with you. It was a highlight of my stay there. I am back at the farm safely. Just SO far behind on the blog. I may be off on winter travels before I get caught up. SIGH....

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  16. I love mountain roads but not in a big rig like yours.

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    1. Me too Gaelyn though I'm not sure Winnona is much bigger than your 5th wheel. Wish David were here to drive. I'm the navigator type.

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    2. Huge size is only one reason I don't travel in the 5th-wheel. The truck camper is perfect. And thankfully all paid for.

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  17. Not so sure I'd have been happy with that pull thru site. With my luck passers by would try to order burgers and fries from me as I sat there. ;c)

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    1. Really Paul I hadn't thought of that but I sure felt like I was on the side of a road.

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  18. Sure looks beautiful there - I love all the curvy roads and the scenery but I don't drive a Winnebago.

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    1. Yes Roger it is gorgeous here and I love driving the roads in the honda but a 35' motorhome towing a car makes me 57' long and it's not so much fun.

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