Exploring the Davidson River Campground Near Brevard NC

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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.

This prime Pisgah campground boasts several of its own attractions. But it’s also just a stone’s throw away from many of our favorite North Carolina waterfalls, hiking trails, and other points of interest.
After a full day of hiking and playing at Sliding Rock, my husband and I really valued the peace and quiet of this ever-popular campground.
We found a lovely, secluded campsite that was shaded by trees. And though we had neighbors, we didn’t feel crowded together. 
Our tent was at the opposite end of the campground from the swimming hole, but that didn’t stop us from taking a stroll with beach towels in hand. It’s a very pleasant walk, with a rewarding destination.
I especially loved the convenient location of this campground. We were within a few miles of amazing waterfalls and trailheads, and just half a mile from the Pisgah Ranger Station & Visitor Center.
We also appreciated finding an option for camping near Brevard NC, allowing us to head into town when we needed to stock up on supplies, and try excellent Brevard restaurants and breweries.
If you’re looking for campgrounds near Brevard NC, read on for our guide to the Davidson River Campground, including info about the campsites, amenities, camping fees, and more!
Davidson River Campground - Basic Info
Camping at the Davidson River Campground NC, photo by Emma Gallagher

Davidson River Campground Info 

ADDRESS: 1 Davidson River Circle, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

PHONE: 1-828-577-4558

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: adventurepisgah.com

SEASON: Open year-round, with limited facilities available from November to March

CAMPING FEES: $32/$64 per night

RESERVATIONS: Recreation.gov

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

Rivers in North Carolina- Davidson River on the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway
Davidson River on the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

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
Swimming Hole photo via Canva

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 campgrounds, 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 Campground Camper
Davidson River Campground Camper, photo courtesy AdventurePisgah.com

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

Moore Cove Falls NC
Moore Cove Falls by Emma Gallagher
Camping in the Pisgah National Forest provides you with a seemingly endless list of wilderness adventures to satisfy visitors of all ages and ability levels.
From hiking and chasing waterfalls to rock sliding and tubing, the area around the Davidson Campground offers an array of outdoor recreation options. 
These are our picks for the best things in do in Pisgah Forest NC.
Davidson River Tubing in NC
River Tubing, photo via Canva

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 river 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

Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower
Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower, photo via Canva

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

Entrance to Cradle of Forestry in America
Cradle of Forestry Entrance, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

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

Davidson River Campground - Waterfalls
Sliding Rock, photo by Emma Gallagher

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

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)

Davidson River Campground- Best Trails
Pink Beds Trail by Emma Gallagher

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


Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

Born in Britain, writer/photographer Emma Gallagher lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC on a permaculture homestead with her husband, Jonathon. While traveling the world for 13 years, she fell in love with the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge region when she lived at an artist retreat in Burnsville NC before moving to Brevard. Today Emma lives near Stone Mountain State Park and Doughton Park volunteers at the Surry County Fiddlers Convention, and cares for the gardens at the Reeves Downtown School of Music in Elkin. She's also a volunteer for the Elkin Valley Trails Association, which maintains segment 6 of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.