Camping Holiday at Standing Indian Campground, North Carolina
Located in scenic Western North Carolina, Standing Indian Campground is a premier camping and hiking destination that includes access to the renowned Appalachian Trail and great location for chasing waterfalls.
Pulling off Highway 64 into the Nantahala National Forest, the cell phone loses service - it's time to officially disconnect. Although only 30 minutes from the charming town of Franklin, camping at Standing Indian Campground offers an unexpected remoteness from the hustle and bustle of life. At an elevation of 3800 feet and at the headwaters of the Nantahala River, camp here to escape the summer heat and humidity, or visit in the fall to savor the brilliant autumn colors.
Standing Indian Campground
Having wrapped up our time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at Cades Cove Campground and Deep Creek Campground, we were looking forward to camping at Standing Indian Campground - surrounded by equally beautiful mountains, but significantly less busy than the previous locations. We pulled up to the Camp Store for a friendly check-in before heading to our campsite. We also arranged for a half load of firewood to be delivered to our campsite for $15 (easily enough for a long weekend). Ice, snacks, and camping sundries are available for purchase as well.
Standing Indian Campground has five loops with both reservable and first-come, first serve campsites. We camped in Loop 5 which was accessed by a gravel drive and situated on a hillside. Although a bit of a hike from the bathroom, we opted for the large, private campsite #66 that backed up to a stream. Lushly lined with rhododendrons, the campground must be stunning when in bloom.
The other loops looked more RV friendly with paved roads and level ground. Although no hookups, you'll find a dump station near the Backcountry Information Board before you pull into the campground.
Standing Indian Campground Things to Know:
- Hot showers (push button every 30 seconds), flush toilets - super clean bathrooms
- No hookups - dump station near campground entrance
- Camping store: wood, ice, basic supplies, snacks
- Dark campground - make sure you have a flashlight or headlamps
Hiking at Standing Indian Campground
Kimsey Creek Trail
You can pick up the Kimsey Creek Trail at the Backcountry Information Board. First, follow the Park Creek Trail to the Kimsey Creek Trail. The Kimsey trail then backtracks through Standing Indian Campground.
However, we recommend accessing the Park Creek Trail in the campground at the bridge that crosses the Nantahala River. Park Creek Trail follows the Nantahala; look for Kimsey Creek Trail (blue rectangular blaze) on your left. As you continue to hike along, you'll pass the outdoor amphitheater and group camping area (you could access the trail from those points, but there is no spur trail and it has a rather steep incline). A bridge then takes you over Kimsey Creek and beckons for a round of 'Pooh Sticks' before continuing on. The trail is often wet with multiple water crossings, so be prepared with appropriate footwear. Dense vegetation and a thick canopy kept us refreshingly cool while hiking mid-day.
- Trail length: 4.1 miles one-way distance to Deep Gap
- Trail Loop: 11.3 (Kimsey Creek Trail to Deep Gap to Appalachian Trail (Standing Indian Summit) to Lower Ridge Trail) - I'd recommend a good trail map if making the loop.
- TIP: If you are not camping, park in the Standing Indian Campground day-use area ($2 fee).
Purchase the official Nantahala National Forest Trail Map here