Camping near Morganton

Rock climbing, biking, and skiing—there’s always more to do while camping near Morganton.

97% (7499 reviews)
97% (7499 reviews)

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Camping near Morganton guide


Camp in the Eastern Appalachian Mountain foothills around Morganton to become immersed in the nature of North Carolina. Tent and RV campers can find multiple riverside  campgrounds right next to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and bike, hike, or paddle into the backcountry from their campsite. Catawba River flows west through the city toward Lake James State Park, where shoreline camping, swimming, and fishing are popular in summer. Winter travelers can try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing while backpacking in Elk Knob State Park, then warm up at a cozy cabin rental back in town.

Where to go

Elk Knob State Park

Just over an hour outside Morganton, Elk Knob State Park offers primitive camping opportunities in the backcountry. Backpack 1-2 miles in for an overnight stay, and register your visit in the box at the trailhead. Then, set up at a campsite next to New River streams. Or take a daytrip and hike 5.5 miles up to the Elk Knob overlook to see panoramic views of North Carolina’s high country. Winter campers can try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on a mile of ungroomed trail in Elk Knob, as well.

Stone Mountain State Park

Stone Mountain, a 600-foot granite dome and National Natural Landmark, is the chief attraction at Stone Mountain State Park. Here, campers can explore waterfalls and creeks, spend the day rock climbing, or learn the history of the area at the restored 19th-century Hutchinson Homestead farm at the base of Stone Mountain. Some park campsites are ADA-accessible with hot showers, firepits, and 50-amp hookups. There are also hike-in primitive campsites available. Many nearby campgrounds are also close to horseback riding trails and trout fishing streams.

Lake James State Park

Just a half an hour west of Morganton along the Catawba River, Lake James State Park offers shoreline camping along Paddys Creek or Catawba River streams. Campers can boat and fish in Lake James waters, or take canoes and kayaks to primitive paddle-in campsites. Prepare for bears in some areas of the park. Most campsites in the park have firepits and picnic tables, and potable water is available throughout the park.

When to go

Morganton has hot, humid summers that start in May and last until mid-September. Average daily temps are generally above 80°F, and water sports at nearby campgrounds are popular during these months. Most rainfall happens during summer, as well—prepare for wetter days and set up at campsites with paved pads or rain covers. In the winters, moderate snowfall between December and March is perfect for mountain snow sports. An average winter temperature of 58°F makes skiing and snowshoeing enjoyable for campers who visit this time of year.

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