One of the greatest benefits of the new trailer is not needing to check the weather before booking a campground. Previously, the summer months had been off-limits unless unseasonably cool weather blew in. We can power through the heat and humidity while on the trail, but sleeping in 70 degree mugginess is nearly impossible. But now, 110V to power the AC and we can go anywhere!
It’s been a while since we visited Red River Gorge – our favorite weekend spot. We love Koomer Ridge campground, but that is all first-come-first-served and there are only a handful of spots I would consider appropriate for a trailer. Nearby Natural Bridge State Park has two campgrounds – Middle Fork with 86 sites and Whittleton Creek with 94. They sit on opposite sides of Route 11 for easy access to the town of Slade. Both have sites with electricity and decent bathhouses. The tent sites at Middle Fork are dispersed along a road that parallels the creek. This is great for privacy, but makes a long walk to the developed bathhouse should you decide to forego the port-a-potties. The trailer sites are larger, but crowded. Our biggest complaint about Middle Fork campground is its proximity to the road. Be prepared for traffic noise all night long.
Whittleton may be considered the more primitive of the two. The tent sites here are clustered around the bathhouse, and, regrettably, the dump station. There are some lovely spots along the stream, but tent pads are sparse and unlevel. Some sites have fire rings so ready to plunge into the water, only a couple chairs could fit on the landward side. A row of electric sites extends upcreek toward the trailhead for Whittleton Arch. These are perfect for small to medium-sized trailers. All back up to the stream with a campfire ring set back from the site. It seemed the electricity had recently been renovated so much of the area around the sites was recently reseeded. It would have been messier on a wetter weekend. The website lists water at the sites, but one spigot is shared between two sites. It would be on the wrong side for trailers on odd sites and I am not sure our hose would have reached. We filled up at the dump station on our way in.
This posed its own unique challenges. The road traverses the creek with so little room to spare, it is instinct to suck in while driving over. Access to the dump station is not much wider. Likewise, the campsites are a sharp 90 degree turn from a narrow road. While the sites themselves are plenty deep, the paved pads are relatively short. I would not be comfortable with a trailer longer than 25 feet at Whittleton, and that only if there a very confident and competent pilot.
The good news for tenters is that they are welcome to reserve sites 23-37 if they are willing to pay the up-charge for electricity. Some campgrounds seem to frown on that, but it seems about half of those sites were occupied by tents when we were there.
Overall, we think we have found our best option for camping at the Gorge with our trailer. We may still sneak down to Koomer Ridge every now and then with our tent, but Whittleton has provided a great option and I am sure we will be back soon!
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