Western North Carolina National Forest Service
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Appletree Campground
Nantahala Ranger District

Perfect Getaway for Groups

If you love to hike, fish, and camp with a group in western North Carolina's mountains, Appletree Group Campground is the perfect getaway. Visitors can easily access eight hiking trails that offer 32 miles of variety and adventure. Avid anglers can cast their lines for the bounty of fish in nearby rivers and creeks.

A Little Bit of History

Named after the apple trees that used to cover the site, Appletree Campground bears signs of Native Americans who existed as long as 10,000 years ago. Passing this way were early hunters and gatherers who lived here temporarily. The Cherokee lived and used Appletree for nearly 4,000 years. About 400 years ago European traders followed Indian paths to western North Carolina and Appletree. Soon after 1819, the Cherokees traded the land to settlers and migrated west of the Nantahala River. In 1838, the Cherokee were forced to move west along the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma. Early pioneers from the East followed the well-blazed paths over the mountains to settle here in this fertile, well-watered land. Gone are the frontier days, but some things still remain: the high rim of mountains - fortress of the Cherokee - and the rapid waters of rivers that saw the passage of American Indians and the coming of Europeans. Today the area still serves as a place for those seeking rest and solitude.


Eight signed hiking trails, with a total length of about 32 miles, can be accessed from the campground. These are some trails you may discover:

Appletree Trail: This 2.2-mile most-difficult trail climbs 1,640 feet in elevation and connects with four other area trails. To access, park or walk across the road from Appletree Branch and follow the blue blazes to the right of the branch. With two stream crossings, the trail meanders through an array of wildflowers.

Bartram Trail: A 6.5-mile section of the 71.1-mile Bartram Trail passes near the campground. The trail runs near the expeditions of William Bartram, an American naturalist noted for his botanical studies in the late 1700's.

London Bald Trail: A length of 9 miles one way, this trail climbs and contours a side slope at a high elevation and travels through a fern covered forest floor. This most-difficult trail connects with the Appletree Trail and Bartram Trail, accessed by the campground. Access is also by Junaluska Road (SR 1401).


Rainbow, brown, and native brook trout live in the cold mountain streams near the campground. State fishing regulations apply, and licenses are required for fishing in national forest streams. Generally, trout streams in national forests are "wild trout waters" unless classified and posted otherwise. This means only single hooks and artificial lures may be used, and a limit of four trout, at least 7-inches long, may be taken. Anglers should get a copy of the current regulations digest when they buy a fishing license, since regulations can change.


Facilities: Sites A and D serve 10 to 25 people (Site A is for tents only). Sites B and C accommodate 10 to 50 people. To create privacy, each well-spaced campsite is surrounded with trees and shrubbery. All sites have picnic shelters and fire rings. Dead and fallen limbs may be gathered for firewood.

Season: April 1 to October 31

Reservations: 828-524-6441

Minimum camp site: (10 person minimum)

Amenities: Parking, running water, flush toilets, and showers, which are accessible to people with disabilities. Two fields are available for group activities.


From Franklin, NC: From Franklin/Clayton/Atlanta exit, take U.S. 64 west for about 3 miles. Turn right at LBJ/Wayah signs and take first left beside Loafer's Glory Store onto Wayah Road (SR 1310), which goes over Wayah Gap and pastNantahala Lake. After passing Lake's End Store, take first left onto Junaluska Road (SR 1401), toward Andrews for about 2.5 miles to Appletree Group Campground.

From Asheville: Take I-40 west and Exit 27 (Waynesville) onto U.S. 23. Take U.S. 23 past Sylva Exits 85 & 83. At Exit 81, either: take U.S. 74 west and U.S. 19 through Nantahala Gorge to the Nantahala River Launch Site. Turn left onto SR 1310 (Wayah Road). Go about 8 miles and turn right onto SR 1401 (Junaluska road). Go approximately 2.5 miles, and the campground entrance is on your right, or: Take U.S. 441 south to Franklin. Stay on U.S. 441/64 past the Clayton/Atlanta exit, and you will be on U.S. 64 west. Follow directions "From Franklin."

From Atlanta: Take I-85 north and exit onto U.S. I-985 north. continue to Franklin, NC, via U.S. I-985 and U.S. 441. Take U.S. 64 west. From here, follow directions "From Franklin."

From Knoxville: Take U.S. 129 south to Topton, NC. Turn left onto U.S. 19. Turn right at the Nantahala River Launch Site onto SR 1310 (Wayah Road). This will be at bottom of hill. Go about 8 miles and turn right onto SR 1401 (Junaluska Road). Go about 2.5 miles, and the campground entrance will be on your right.

From Murphy, NC: Take U.S. 19 toward Andrews. Leave 4-lane and go through downtown Andrews. At outskirts of Andrews, road forks. Take right fork, SR 1505 (Junaluska Road). Follow this road about 12 miles to campground.

for more information:
Nantahala Ranger District:
90 Sloan Roan
Franklin, NC 28734

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