Blue Ridge Parkway | DOUGHTON PARK CAMPGROUND (MP 239.2)

Doughton Park Campground map (click to enlarge)

Doughton Park Campground map (click to enlarge)

CAMPING SEASON

The Doughton Park Campground is one of eight campgrounds on the Blue Ridge Parkway that is operated by the National Park Service. It is typically open from May until the end of October, though the official opening and closing dates change each year. Be sure to get the latest schedule on the official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for the Blue Ridge Parkway.

TYPE OF CAMPING

Doughton Park Campground can accommodate tent campers, RVs, and other self-contained sleeping vehicles ranging from 20 to 45 feet in length. Maximum vehicle lengths for each campsite are given on the reservation website, Recreation.gov.

Group campsites are also available.

If a campsite has a tent pad, all tents must be pitched on the pad. I’m not sure of the pad size, but they are at least 12′ x 12′. This should allow one large tent or two small tents. If you have more tents than can fit on the pad, you must pay for another campsite. Tent pads are pre-leveled areas of earth that are enclosed in a wood or concrete frame, so regardless of hilly or sloping terrain, you will have a level area on which to pitch your tent.

Doughton Park Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Doughton Park Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway

NUMBER OF SITES

Doughton Park Campground is comprised of three loops and has 108 sites. Each site can accommodate up to six people. There are also 3 group campsites that can host up to 20 people each.

A Loop

A Loop is located on the opposite side of the Blue Ridge Parkway from the other two loops. There are 24 RV sites, 10 of which can be reserved in advance and 14 that are taken on a first come, first served basis. Nearly all of these are back-in sites. Driveway lengths are given on Recreation.gov, even for the first come, first served sites. Along with a place to park, you get a small yard area with a picnic table.

B Loop

Sites 1 through 61 in B Loop are for tent campers only, and sites 62 through 65 can accommodate small self-contained sleeping vehicles (vans, pick-up truck campers, small pop-up campers). Some of the sites have back-in parking spaces that are next to the tent area, while others are “walk-in” campsites where you must carry your gear from the parking lot into the woods. Most of these sites are 50-100 yards from the parking lot. There are actual campsite spaces, so you just don’t pitch a tent in a common field. There is nothing separating your space from the next site.

Eleven campsites can be reserved in advance, while the rest are taken on a first come, first served basis.

Parking spaces are deep enough to fit at least a single vehicle. Some may fit two cars end to end, but if you can’t fit your vehicles in the parking space, you will have to park at another location. All vehicles must be parked on the pavement.

B Loop is actually made up of three sub loops, with campsite numbers 34 and up being a little more level and not quite as “woodsy” as sites 1 through 22 (23 through 33 are walk-in sites). In either loop you will still find many sites with the tent areas either up- or downhill from the parking areas. This does not mean that you will be pitching your tent on a slope. The tent area itself is for the most part level, and if not, the campground has provided built-in tent pads that are level. In addition to the tent pads, each site has a picnic table, a grill / fire ring, and a lantern post.

Typical tent site at the Doughton Park Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Typical tent site at the Doughton Park Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the more level sites at the Doughton Park Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the more level sites at the Doughton Park Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Two of the tents-only sites are reserved for disabled visitors.

Disabled visitor site in the B Loop at Doughton Park Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Disabled visitor site in the B Loop at Doughton Park Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway

C Loop

There are 19 individual campsites and 3 group campsites in C Loop, all of which are for tent camping only. All individual sites are taken on a first come, first served basis, while all of the group sites must be reserved in advance. Aside from being for tents only, the difference between this and B Loop is that nearly all of the campsites are of the walk-in variety. If I were in a tent, I would much rather camp in B Loop where I can get a parking spot right next to my site, but that’s just me.

AMENITIES

There are no electricity or water hook-ups at Doughton Park Campground. Each loop has one restroom building with modern toilets and sinks, but no showers or hot water. Keep in mind that many of the National Park Service campground restrooms along the Blue Ridge Parkway do not have paper towels or a hand dryer, and the lighting is often very poor. Lights tend to be over the sink area, but not over the toilet stalls. Bring some sort of lantern with you at night if you plan to use one of the toilets. A flashlight will not provide the proper illumination.

There is a dump station at the entrance to A Loop.

RESERVATIONS

Select campsites at Doughton Park Campground can be reserved up to six months in advance online at Recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777. The rest are taken on a first come, first served basis. Current fees are listed on Recreation.gov. When making reservations you will be given information about the size of the parking areas, so choose appropriately if you are in an RV or trailer. Holders of the Interagency Senior, Access, Golden Age, or Golden Access passes are entitled to a 50% discount on campground fees.

Group Campsites must be reserved in advance.

For those arriving at the campground without a reservation, some sites are available on a first come, first served basis, and sites that can be reserved but are not taken are available for that night only. To tell the two types of sites apart, look on the campsite post for a diamond. Solid diamonds are first come, first served sites, and diamonds with an R on them designate sites available for reservation.

Coded posts identify the type of campsite at campgrounds on the Blue Ridge Parkway: reservable site (left) vs. first come, first served site (right)

Coded posts identify the type of campsite at campgrounds on the Blue Ridge Parkway: reservable site (left) vs. first come, first served site (right)

When you arrive, drive around and pick out a site. Unoccupied first come, first served sites are yours for the taking for up to 30 days. If there are none left, you can get an open reservable site for one night only. However, don’t assume that just because it is 10 PM and nobody is at a reservable site that it hasn’t been reserved because the person may show up at midnight. Rangers put yellow tags on the posts of sites that have been reserved, so look for R-Diamond posts with no yellow tag. If the campground office is open, you might want to double check before setting up at a reservable site.

Once you have a site, return to the camp office and self-register. You can pay with cash, check, or credit card, though regardless of whether there is a Ranger or camp host on duty, you do not make payment to them. Instead, get a self-registration envelope, provide the requested information (pen or pencil required), and then place cash or check into the envelope, or if paying with a credit card, write the card information on the envelope. When done, tear off your receipt (which you attach to the camp post) and drop the payment envelope into the secure payment box.

If you have a reservation and arrive after hours and there is no tag on your site post, you must get one in the morning at the campground office.

CAMPGROUND RULES

  • Camping is limited to a maximum of 30 consecutive days in any one campground and/or 30 days total per calendar year across all Parkway facilities.
  • A maximum of 6 people may occupy a site.
  • Checkout Time is 12:00 PM.
  • Camping is permitted only at designated sites. Sites are for use by a single family or parties not exceeding six people.
  • Hammocks may be used within established campsites. An established campsite is defined as within 50 feet of the existing grill/fire pit. They must be at least 20 feet from any public use areas such as trails, water spigots, restrooms, or other facilities. Hammocks may not be connected or tied to any facility. If tied to a tree, the tree must be at least 4 inches in diameter, and anchor ropes/webbing must be ½ inch or greater in width. Padding must be used if less than ½ inch in width. Trimming of trees and underbrush is prohibited.
  • Campground speed limit is 15 mph. Vehicles are to be parked on the pavement of an assigned site or in designated parking areas. No more than two vehicles may be parked in each site (i.e., trailer and car, two cars, two motorcycles).
  • All food, coolers, equipment used to cook or store food, and anything that may smell like food (such as toothpaste) must be stored in a closed vehicle or a camping unit made of solid, non-pliable material. Food may also be stored in food lockers provided in some campgrounds.
  • Only charcoal can be used in any grill provided. Gas grills and stoves are allowed. Extinguish all fires before leaving the campground or picnic area. Do not leave any fire unattended. Only heat-treated firewood that is bundled and certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or a state agency may be brought onto the Parkway.
  • Wood gathering for use in park campgrounds is limited to dead material on the ground lying no more than 100 yards from the camp or picnic site.
  • Respect quiet hours between 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM. Use of generators is prohibited between the hours of 9:00 PM and 8:00 AM. Please keep in mind that continuous, loud generator or audio equipment noise, at any time of the day, disturbs other campers.
  • Do not drive nails into trees or strip bark, leaves, or branches from trees or shrubs. Use the lantern posts provided at each site. Do not hang lanterns from trees or loop them over branches or vegetation; these practices always damage and sometimes kill trees and vegetation.
  • All dogs, cats, and other pets must be on a leash no longer than six feet or under physical restraint at all times. Do not leave pets unattended in the campground or your car. Please prevent excessive barking and properly dispose of pet waste.
  • The use of skateboards, roller skates, and other coasting devices is not permitted in the park or campground. Bicycles are permitted on roads only. NC law requires persons under 16 years of age to wear an approved bicycle helmet when operating a bicycle. In Virginia, bicycle helmet regulations vary by county.

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Last updated on November 29, 2023
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