A few weeks before we started this blog, we took an extended Memorial-day weekend to a wonderful campground called Hidden Lake Campground in Tellico Plains, Tennessee. First off, we have to mention that the route you take on your travels is just as important as the destination.
Hidden Lake Campground is a beautiful plot of land-and-lake nestled deep in the Appalachian Mountains near Tellico Plains. The owner, Gerry, is an outstanding camp host, and he takes pride in keeping the sites super neat and clean with plenty of privacy. We actually scheduled this trip somewhat last minute, and by last minute I mean a week before Memorial Day. He had a couple of sites open and was very welcoming to any of our requests. The lake itself is beautiful; it stays a crisp, cool temperature and a clear, olive-green hue. We all spent literally hours swimming, fishing, and tubing in the water, and it was so incredibly relaxing. The fishing was great, too; we and our camp neighbors were pulling largemouth bass and crappie out consistently all weekend long.
Hidden Lake truly suits every type of camper, from RV to primitive camping. If you’ve seen our posts, you know that we’re currently tent camping, and our experience here was superb. There were plenty of people posting up with every type of RV imaginable, and just as many taking advantage of the large sites to spread out with tents, canopies, camp kitchens, and the like. Friday and Saturday evening was lively, with people on the lake fishing, swimming, tubing, and kayaking, and their cohorts grilling, hiking, and just relaxing. Our first day there consisted of setting up and weathering a downpour, but afterwards it was warm during the day and briskly cool (mid-40s) at night. The view of the surrounding mountains really made us feel like we were tucked away from the surrounding world, and the night skies were absolutely clear and beautiful.
One of the aspects of Hidden Lake that Gerry prides himself on is the privacy of the sites; you are in no way super close to other campers. Our nearest neighbors were about a football field away up the hill, and our main contact came when people would come by our site on the way to find a prime fishing spot. The amenities were also super clean. As a matter of fact, the bath house was probably the nicest I’ve seen as any campground we’ve ever stayed at. Gerry has an office/bath house/patio/viewing deck in one building. You can buy ice and firewood if you’re in need, there is a separate dish washing station under the patio, and the bathrooms have multiple clean showers. On top of all that (literally) is this amazing view:
One amazing addition to the camp that Gerry has made is the stage that sits near the bath house. On any given weekend, he’ll have local bands come and play. There’s nothing like sitting nestled in the mountains, sippin’ moonshine, and listening to a good bluegrass band jam out. It really does bring you back to a bygone time, and it is experiences like that which Mayflower and Mayhem live for.
And then there is the hiking. Just up the mountain from the property is the Little Tennessee River. The hike itself is only about 20 minutes, but it’s the typical grandpa “I used to walk up hill through the snow both ways to get to school” hike. But man, is it worth it.
After traipsing through yards of beautiful but thick mountain trail, you find yourself on the edge of untamed river front. You have to understand as a traveler that many places you go, as a tourist, are simply that: touristy. This stretch of the river, however, is simply not that. It is wild. When we arrived, the first thing we saw was a black snake swimming through the river towards us and ducks diving in to their roosts. It was as if we were homesteaders from 1860 showing up to stake a claim; it was simply untamed.
The entire trip to Hidden Lake was just charming. The family had a great time. We built fires every night, especially during the first couple of very crisp evenings, we cooked all sorts of great camp food, drank some moonshine, and simply felt at home nestled away from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta. Z got to cook some of his catch, baby J loved splashing around in the lake, and R had a blast jumping off the dock into the lake. Us adults got plenty of relaxation, the fluff nuggets (read dogs) got plenty of relief/stress by barking at passersby, and it was just a wonderful place to hang. If you ever need a place to go near the Smoky Mountains, Hidden Lake Campground is definitely one worth checking out. We’ll for sure be going back!