Family Camping Trip in Western North Carolina Mountains
In the Nantahala National Forest, Standing Indian is a popular family campground near the Appalachian Trail in Western North Carolina’s mountains.
Standing Indian Campground is located a few miles south of highway 64 between Franklin and Hayesville. It is a very popular family campground in western North Carolina’s Nantahala National Forest. Its 3200 feet elevation makes it refreshingly cool in the summer and often cold during the fall leaf season. It is open from April through November.
Kimsey Creek, which runs through the campground, provides opportunities for trout fishing and wading or playing in the water. This creek feeds into the Nantahala River, which is popular for whitewater rafting and kayaking.
There are also many hiking trails, which connect to the nearby Appalachian Trail. This lower North Carolina section of the Appalachian Trail is quite steep and hilly with elevations up to about a mile above sea level. It is therefore possible to find hiking trails that are quite strenuous or just hike the easier trails in and near the campground. The roads within the campground are very kid-friendly and the kids will enjoy riding their bicycles as well as hiking around the campground.
Origin of the Name Standing Indian
Standing Indian Campground is named for the nearby Standing Indian Mountain. In a Cherokee legend, a brave was standing on the mountain as a lookout. A village child had been snatched up by a monster and the warrior was watching for its possible return. In answer to the villager’s prayers to kill the monster, the Great Spirit sent a storm, which turned the warrior and the mountain top into stone. The standing Indian is still there guarding the surrounding valleys.
Standing Indian Campground has individual campsites on the paved loops that are suitable for RVs and tents. There is an unpaved loop that is better for tents and a group campground. There are regularly cleaned restrooms with flush toilets and one with showers. Water faucets and trash receptacles are located around the campground.
Each campsite has a tent pad, fire ring, and a picnic table. Picking up fallen wood for a campfire is allowed. It is easy to find enough wood for a small fire. For a larger fire bring your own or buy some at the small campground store.
Drive about 11 miles west on route 64 from Franklin, or east from Hayesville. West of the ridgeline where the Appalachian Trail crosses Highway 64 there is a sign marking the turn to Standing Indian – a left turn if coming from Franklin. Follow the signs for a few miles to Standing Indian Campground.
When you reach the campground, select a campsite. Then return to the entrance to pay the $14 nightly fee for your campsite.
The biggest negative feature of the Standing Indian campground is its popularity. It is often difficult to find a vacant campsite. So you should plan to arrive early or make reservations. To reserve a campsite, you must make the reservations at least 4 days in advance. There is a minimum two-night stay on weekends and three nights on holiday weekends.
For tent campers, the other drawback of Standing Indian is the requirement that tents be placed on the gravel tent pads. Bring a well-padded sleeping pad.