Can I show up at the campgrounds without a reservation? (Walk-up Policy)

  • For the peak camping season (April 1 - October 31) walk up site availability is solely based on first come, first served basis. We cannot take reservations for these in advance of arrival. For the greatest chance of getting a walk-up site, we recommend planning your trip during the week and avoiding busy holidays. Please keep in mind that during peak season, we cannot accommodate switches or changes to a more preferred site. 
  • For winter camping (November 1 - March 31) select sites are considered walk up sites and are first come first serve. We can not take reservations for these ahead of time. The best time to arrive for a good chance of your preferred site is around 9am on weekends and 2pm on weekdays. 

Can I change my reserved site after I arrive or during my stay?

If you have made a reservation for a site, you have to stay on that site. During peak season we are no longer allowing site changes upon arrival or mid stay. 

What are the fishing rules and season dates?

  • First Saturday in April to last day in February. 

  • A state fishing license is required to fish in the national forest. State fishing licenses and stamps are available at local stores. 

  • Minimum Size: None

  • Daily Limit: 7 Fish

  • No bait restrictions

  • Davidson River: Catch-and-Release is offered within the Davidson River Area. The section below Avery Creek confluent is stocked weekly from April to August. The section above Avery Creek to the headwaters is catch-and-release only. 

  • The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission manages public trout waters and enforces the rules. 

  • Visit for more information.

How do I get an annual day use pass for Lake Powhatan, North Mills River or Sunburst?

Day use passes cost $30 (or $15 for National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Pass holders). The pass can be purchased at the Lake Powhatan, North Mills River and Sunburst gatehouses. The annual day use pass allows access to all three areas and are valid for a calendar year. They are available for renewal January 1st and expire on December 31 each year.

Can I bring my dog camping?

Yes, you can bring your dog. They must be on a leash at all times and cannot be left unattended in the campsite if you do not have a rigid camper structure. This ensures that the dogs do not get loose, lost, or chase local wildlife. There are many dogs at the campgrounds so we do ask that all dogs are on a leash at all times due to different temperament of each dog. Dogs are not allowed in bathrooms. Please clean up after your pet throughout your stay. 

Do you give discounts to The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Passes holders?

Yes! We give a 50% discount for single sites and day use fees to pass holders. Please refer to the fees section on the campground pages for more details. We accept the Access, Senior and Golden Age passes (note: we do not accept the Annual pass). 


For further information please contact us:

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