Hidden right in the Highlands of the Nantahala National Forest is the Van Hook Glade campground. The Cullasaja River draws visitors to the area as does Cliffside Lake, both located just steps outside this quaint facility. Gorgeous waterfalls and breathtaking views await any human or canine that makes the journey up into the woods of North Carolina.
Don't expect anything too fancy here, as there are only 18 campsites at Van Hook Glade. Each site comes with a picnic table and a fire ring, and all lots cost $20 per night. You can purchase your firewood on-site, which is also better for the forests as it prevents pests from invading the area. No hookups are provided, but the washroom facilities are modern and drinking water is available on the property. Though the sites are large enough for RVs, some larger campers may struggle traveling on the road within the grounds, so keep that in mind when planning your trip.
The Cliffside Lake Recreation Area plans nature programs for visitors and maintains the body of water that brings people to this part of the forest. Head to the lake to partake in fishing, swimming, or picnicking by the shores. Your pooch will be delighted to find that 6 different trails start at the lake, ranging in difficulty to suit anyone's preferences. The Cullasaja River sits just across the road from the campground and is a great place to cast a line and try your luck at bringing back some dinner to your grill.
All four-legged campers are welcome here, though the forest rules stipulate they must stay on-leash at all times. This also protects them from the many bears that live in the area. Because of these large predators, it is extra important that you diligently scoop all pet waste and dispose of it correctly. Remember to store all toiletries and food in bear-proof containers and keep these hidden in your vehicle as well.
If you'd like to explore the Highlands of North Carolina, there is no place more beautiful to do this than at Van Hook Glade.