Located off the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway (a.k.a. Pisgah Hwy) near Brevard NC, the Davidson River Campground is a perfect base for anyone wanting to explore Pisgah National Forest.
Davidson River Campground Info
ADDRESS: 1 Davidson River Circle, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: adventurepisgah.com
SEASON: Open year-round, with limited facilities available from November to March
CAMPING FEES: $32/$64 per night
Directions from Brevard
Travel northeast on the US-64 E/S Broad Street toward E Main Street and continue to follow US-64 E.
In 2.9 miles, go straight at the traffic circle onto the US-276 N/US-64 E. Continue for 0.5 miles and turn left onto US-276 N.
In 1.3 miles, turn left into the Davidson River Campground. After 0.1 miles, veer right onto Davidson River Campground Dr. All the campsites will be located on your right.
Directions from Hendersonville
Leave Hendersonville on the US-64 W to Transylvania County. In about 16 miles, continue straight onto US-276 N.
In 1.3 miles, turn left into the Davidson River Campground. After 0.1 miles veer to the right onto Davidson River Campground Dr. The campsites will be on your right.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Campgrounds in the North Carolina Mountains
Davidson Campground Amenities
Davidson River Campsites
During the peak season (March 25 to November 14), the Davidson River Campground offers 144 campsites for tents and RVs.
In the off-season (November 15 to March 24), only 44 campsites are available, with some first come first served sites available for 24 hours at a time. Check-in time is at 2PM, and check-out is 12 noon.
For all Davidson River Campground reservations, you must visit the recreation.gov website.
Davidson Campground has 8 camping loops, all hugged by the Davidson River and shaded by the towering trees of Pisgah. For sites right on the river, choose the Riverbend, Dogwood, Appletree, or Sycamore loops.
Note that the Sycamore loop is next to the Entrance Station, while the Riverbend loop has the closest access to the official river swimming spot. But the Riverbend loop does not accommodate electrical hookups.
The Appletree and Dogwood loops offer riverside double campsite spots, and most loops have reservable sites. Each loop also has easy access to a restroom with flush toilets and hot showers, plus ample water hydrants.
You’ll find standard electric and non-electric sites available, each equipped with picnic tables, tent pads, lantern posts, and pits for campfires.
There’s also a recreation field located between the Hemlock and Dogwood loops, as well as the English Chapel.
The Davidson River Campground map can help you choose the perfect camping spot for you and your family.
READ MORE: Camping in Asheville NC: The 15 Best Campgrounds to Visit
Davidson River Activities
Located at an elevation of 2150 feet in the heart of the Pisgah National Forest, the Davidson River Campground is a fantastic choice for family fun.
Tucked into an elbow of the pristine North Carolina river, this particular Pisgah campground offers access to a number of both on- and off-site activities.
The elbow in the Davidson River makes a perfect NC swimming hole for cooling off after a long day’s hiking. It’s shallow enough in parts to wade, and deep enough in others for swimming.
It should be noted that there is no lifeguard service here, so swimming is at your own risk. The swimming hole can be found on the far side of the campground, right next to the Riverbend loop.
This swimming spot is also the head to a popular river tubing run. It is open to the public, regardless of whether they’re staying in the Pisgah campground or not.
From there, you can float down to Sycamore Beach or to the Sycamore Flats Picnic Area, which lies just around the bend. A short trail from the beach leads you back to the swimming hole.
Tubes can be rented at the entrance to Pisgah Forest, or you can bring your own. You can also bring a football, baseball, or frisbee to throw around the recreation field in the center of the campground.
If you’re interested in Appalachian history, visit the adjacent English Chapel, a Methodist chapel established in 1860 by Reverend A.F. English.
The building served as a schoolhouse in the mid- to late-1800s and again in the 1980s. It remains a functioning Methodist church today, and holds Sunday services at 9.30AM for campers, hikers, and other visitors.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Pisgah National Forest Waterfalls to Explore
Davidson River Camping Fees
Davidson River Campground fees for both peak- and off-season are the same.
Single campsites with a maximum occupancy of 8 people and 2 cars are $32 per night, plus an extra $7 per day for an electric hookup.
Double campsites with a maximum occupancy of 16 people and 4 cars are $64 per night, plus $7 per day for an electric hookup.
There is a fee of $5 per day for additional vehicles. Note that added vehicles must be parked in the overflow parking area, which is located close to the Davidson Campground entrance.
READ MORE: The Ultimate Pisgah National Forest Camping Guide
Things to Do Nearby
Davidson River Tubing
The crystal clear water of the Davidson River invites you to spend an afternoon floating your cares away. Shallow water and smooth rocks make this one of our favorite places for river tubing in North Carolina.
You can rent a tube at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, just after turning left onto Hwy 276 when coming from Brevard. It’s on the right, just beyond The Hub and Pisgah Tavern and before Dolly’s Dairy Bar.
From there, you can head off to one of the area’s 3 popular tubing runs.
You can park at the Art Loeb trailhead and head down to the river just behind the sign. Float 200 yards downstream to Sycamore Beach, then get out and follow the trail back up to the trailhead for another go.
Tubers can also follow “The Exercise Trail” to the Davidson River Campground, then continue on to the swimming hole. There you can float downriver to Sycamore Beach, where you’ll find a short trail back up to the campgrounds.
The Coontree Picnic Area to Sycamore Flats run (which isn’t recommended for young kids) is much longer, so you’ll need a car at both ends. You’ll pass under 3 bridges before getting out at the Sycamore Flats Recreation Area.
READ MORE: The 45+ Best Camping Gifts and Hiking Gifts
Driving The Blue Ridge Parkway
From the Davidson River Campground, travel 13.8 miles north along US-276 N and look out for the Blue Ridge Parkway Pisgah Access on your right.
The BRP offers breathtaking vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with a number of overlooks and waterfalls where you can park for safe viewing and incredible photo ops.
This southernmost leg of the Parkway leads you to many of our favorite attractions in the area, all of which are especially impressive once the fall colors begin to peak.
They include the Frying Pan Mountain Lookout Tower and the Pink Beds Overlook in one direction, as well as the Graveyard Fields Upper Falls trailhead and Devil’s Courthouse vista point in the other.
READ MORE: The 25 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes for NC Day Trips
Cradle of Forestry in America
Originally named The Biltmore School of Forestry, the Cradle of Forestry was founded in 1898 by Carl A. Schenck, a forest manager hired by George W. Vanderbilt to take care of 100,000 acres surrounding the Biltmore Estate.
Long considered the USA’s first school of forestry, it is now a historical attraction within Pisgah National Forest. The a National Heritage Site encompasses approximately 6,500 acres of forest.
Visitors can wander around the grounds and explore a number of original buildings, climb aboard old railroad trains, and meander along shaded hiking trails lined with wildflowers in spring and summer.
Guided tours are available, and they regularly host a variety of seasonal events throughout the year.
To get there from the Davidson River Campground, head north along US-276 N. In just over 10 miles, turn right onto Cradle Dr. The Cradle of Forestry will be on your right.
READ MORE: The 20 Best Pisgah National Forest Hiking Trails in North Carolina
Best North Carolina Waterfalls Nearby
Looking Glass Falls
Looking Glass Falls, one of the most popular Western NC waterfalls, is high on many visitors’ must-see lists.
The waterfall is situated right alongside the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway, making it easily accessible for all.
You don’t even have to get out of the car to see it if you can find a roadside parking spot!
Moore Cove Falls
Moore Cove Falls is just minutes away from Looking Glass Falls.
From its trailhead, a 1.5-mile roundtrip trail has you crisscrossing Moore Cove Creek several times before reaching the 50-foot drop waterfall.
Visitors can actually walk behind the falls, which are especially impressive after recent rains.
Daniel Ridge Falls
Daniel Ridge Falls is another gem that can be easily reached from Davidson River Campground.
This 150-foot-drop waterfall can be reached via the Daniel Ridge Loop Trail. A one-mile hike gets you to the fall and back again.
Sliding Rock is a 60-foot-long smooth rockface that visitors can slide down.
Like many creeks in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the pool you plunge into can be bracingly cold, so be warned!
Queues can be long from Memorial Day to Labor Day, when Adventure Pisgah lifeguards are on duty and there’s a $4 entry fee. At all other times it’s free, but you swim/slide at your own risk.
READ MORE: The Top 15 Waterfalls Near Brevard NC (Transylvania County)
Best Hiking Trails Nearby
Pink Beds Trail
The Pink Beds Trail reaches 3000 feet in elevation, but its 6-mile path is flat, making it accessible to most.
This trail was named for its dazzling show of colorful mountain laurels and rhododendrons in the spring.
Pink Beds also boasts meadows full of North Carolina wildflowers and raised walkways across mountain bogs.
Daniel Ridge Falls Loop Trail
The Daniel Ridge Falls Loop Trail lets you see the falls, but offers a little challenge in terms of elevation gain, too.
This 4-mile moderate hike takes you along the Davidson River and treats you to bonus cascades along the way.
Art Loeb Trail
The Art Loeb Trail is definitely not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced hikers.
This grueling 28.5-mile hike starts near the Davidson River Campground and climbs a whopping 6,463 feet in elevation!
Most people complete the trek over a number of days, and there are several campgrounds along the way.
You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Pisgah National Forest and a peek at many of the surrounding North Carolina mountains. -by Emma Gallagher; featured image of Looking Glass Falls by Makasana Photo