There’s primitive camping galore in the Fires Creek Recreation Area, particularly along the trail leading up to the rim and along the 25-mile rim itself. Which brings us to the prime reason for heading up to Fires Creek: all that great hiking. The rim trail, topping the intimate horseshoe-shaped ridge that nearly encloses Fires Creek offers a curious mix of great views and tight passages through rhododendron hells. The views are all the more vivid on a crisp winter’s day (and on a crisp winter’s day when the wind is howling those hells offer one heckuva protection). Truly great hiking.

If you don’t care to strap on a 35-pound backpack to reach those more remote primitive sites, you can call the Bristol Campground your base camp for exploring Fires Creek’s trail network. Nothing fancy, but it does offer the basics: water and a pit toilet. What more does an explorer need?

More info

Google locator map
Address: Off US 64, to NC 175 and SR 1344
City: Hayesville
State: NC
Zip: 28904
Latitude: 35.0627
Longitude: 83.4912
No. of campsites: 9
No. with hookups: none
No. without hookups: 9
Primitive sites: nearby
Reservations? no
Cost: free
Year-round? yes
Gate hours: none
Quiet hours: none
Stuff to do nearby: hiking, fishing