The U.S. Forest Service will offer limited camping options at Grindstone Campground, located in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, over the next several years as managers work to plan, decommission and replace the current wastewater system, according to a release from the Forest Service.
The wastewater system is over 50 years old and consists of two large settling ponds that return water to Big Laurel Creek, a native trout stream that flows into Whitetop Laurel Creek. Decommissioning the current wastewater system is necessary to protect the water quality of these streams.
Funding from the Great American Outdoors Act is designated for this project and will expedite the design, decommissioning, and construction of a new system to restore services for visitors. The planning and work for this project is ongoing and may not be completed until 2026 or later.
The Opossum Loop of Grindstone Campground will be open April 15 with 20 sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. A port-a-john will be available, but water will not be available.
The Forest Service offers three nearby campgrounds as an alternative camping option, all located within 20 minutes of Grindstone Campground:
Beartree Recreation Area will open starting April 29 and offers camping with hot showers, water and flush toilets near hiking trails and a scenic lake. Campsites are popular with tent campers, since there are no hookups, but RVs are welcome and easily accommodated. Beartree Recreation Area includes:
- Chipmunk Circle, which opens on April 29 has 35 sites. Reservations are available on recreation.gov.
- Beaver Flats, which opens on May 13, has 35 sites. All sites are available on a first come-first served basis.
- Group Loop, which opens May 27, has four tent clusters and four RV clusters. Reservations are available on recreation.gov.
Hurricane Campground will open on April 15 and has 27 sites situated along a rushing mountain stream under the shade of hemlock and rhododendron. Access to the Appalachian Trail and many other nearby trails is within walking distance. This site is not recommended for large RVs.
Raccoon Branch Campground will open on April 15 and has 20 campsites nestled at the base of Dickey Knob and adjacent to Raccoon Branch Wilderness. Raccoon Branch campground offers scenic mountain views, hiking from your campsite, and cold mountain streams popular for trout fishing. There are bathrooms with flush toilets, but no showers. Five sites have water and electric hookups.
Please check the Forests’ website for updated recreation information: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/gwj/recreation For more information on this project, please contact the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area at 800-628-7202.