Nothing makes me feel more like a camping dilettante than pulling up to the campsite (after driving 30 minutes out of the way) with a big ADA sign in front. A call to the park ranger five minutes in doesn’t say, expert family camper.   

Things were looking up. I whipped out the hotdogs sans the buns and condiments and noticed the husband looking longingly one campsite over. Their family of four had just laid out a bountiful spread on top of a patchwork picnic blanket. Sure, they’d eat well under some twinkly lights, but we had hotdogs and an easy clean-up.

Note to self: Dinner around the campfire is supposed to be an event—twinkly lights and all.

We camped at the Foster Falls Campsite near Fiery Gizzard Trail. This is the only spot in the park where you can car camp. The spaces are big, and it is extremely close to the trailhead. (I’d recommend finding a spot away from the bathrooms if you don’t want to listen to the slamming bathroom doors and electric dryers all night).

We hiked the 2.2-mile Foster Falls Climbers Loop. The beginning is very steep and rocky to the falls. The husband wore the babe, and the 3.5-year-old hiked the whole way. I only said, “slow down, be careful,” 300 times so I’m proud.

Wanna Go:

  • Make sure your site isn’t ADA only. However, some parks do open these slots after a certain time to anyone.
  • Don’t be like us. Look at the map, even if you think you know where you’re going. South Cumberland State Park is the 2nd largest park in Tennessee—spread across three counties.
  • Wear ankle boots, this trail is rocky and steep.
  • Bring Ketchup packets.
  • If you want to volunteer Friends of South Cumberland State Park do many jobs around the park, such as maintain trails and give guided tours.

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