Twice, when there was no openings in the surrounding Shining Rock area, we found space at Sunburst. All 10 sites are first-come first-serve; the lack of reservations keeps this intimate campground off the radar of most tent travelers. Hikers will love the fact that a short hike up FR 97 takes you to the 6-mile Haywood Gap Trail, which penetrates the Middle Prong Wilderness. Or, take a short drive on up NC 215 and pick up the Mountains-to-Sea Trail just before the Blue Ridge Parkway: go right into the Middle Prong, go left into the scenic Sam’s Knob/Little Sam’s Knob/Black Balsam/Shining Rock area.


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