We had a very disappointing, shortened stay at Bear Den. There are several great things about the campground including the well-stocked camp store, good firewood for sale, clean bath house, quiet campground and nice wooded setting right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. But there were fundamental problems with our stay that made us leave after one night. We had rented a Campin' Cabin largely due to the regular rain we've been having and wanted an option to be indoors as needed (normally we tent camp...). The cabin however was almost uninhabitable due to the overwhelming musty, moldy smell. A special trip to buy a fan to pull in outside air helped but one of us was forced to sleep in the car as the air in the cabin made her feel sick.
We tried to make the best of it and spent time on the cabin porch and by the campfire. There was a disappointing lack of privacy at these cabins. I would expect more for $55/night. We made due by the picnic table by putting up a tarp and shower curtain and felt good for a short while. Then we realized the fire pit was useless. It was dug down into the ground about a foot and half and wet on the bottom. We spent 2 hours trying to keep a fire going (with good wood purchased at the camp store) and couldn't due to lack of air floor in the sunken pit.
After putting the fire out with water we brought we filled up our jug from the campsite spigot and got a horrible greeting of the distinct smell and taste of bleach (some folks mistakenly think that adding bleach to well water makes it safer to drink...). So here we were with no usable fire pit, no drinkable water and a moldy cabin! Then it starts raining! We retreated to the covered porch for dinner and appreciated that for a moment but after making it through the night we left.
We might come back to tent camp but we've got to have a couple of basics, a usable fire pit and drinkable water...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Bear Den Family Campground, Campin' Cabins and Rental Villas Open for the Season in Early March. 144 campsites for tents, pop-ups and other types of recreational vehicles adjoining the Blue Ridge Parkway. Water, electricity, fire-rings and picnic tables at each campsite. RV sites with full hook-ups - pull thrus. Bear Den Campin’ Cabins offer basic shelter and electricity for 4 to 6 campers. Modern bath houses; each with hot showers and coin-operated washers and dryers. Sanitary disposal stations. Bear Den Family Campground’s Trading Post has ice, drinks, firewood, souvenirs and just about every camping supply you may need as well as some food items for your camping. Due to our location in the mountains we don't have cable, but we do provide free WiFi for your use. We also have two dump stations for your conveniences. Bear Den Family Campground and cabin guests love our lake for swimming, fishing and canoeing. We have a sandy beach and playground, so the whole family can have a fun get-away in the NC Mountains. Bring your fishing poles because North Carolina fishing license is not needed at our lake. And for the hikers, we have plenty of trails for you to explore so don't forget your hiking sticks. Let the kids bring their bicycles, canoes or paddle boards for your stay with us here at Bear Den...we also have basketball, badminton, volleyball, table tennis, shuffleboard and horse shoe courts, playground and a game room with pool tables, air hockey and arcade games. Never a dull day at Bear Den Campground and everything for your enjoyment right here. *Bear Den's campground and rental cabins are open from the first week in March through November 30 - weather permitting. Early spring and late fall in the NC high mountains are tricky to predict. Select Cabins are available for rental year-round. ... more less
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