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8 Free Desoto State Park Boondocking Locations In Alabama

Desoto State Park Camping Spots

There are some great Desoto State Park Boondocking locations to stay in free as well as permit and paid options outside the park and some pricier options in the park. As you know we here at OBE always strive to find the best boondocking locations throughout the United States that offer you free camping while visiting the best National and State parks in the United States.

The Desoto State Park near Fort Payne, Alabama is certainly one of those. The park is located near the junction of Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia borders and has great access to Chattanooga, Tennessee which is a great add on destination when visiting the park. There are Desoto State Park Boondocking in all three states. Be sure and make a visit to Lookout Mountain in the area as well.

8 Desoto State Park Boondocking Locations

1. Free Desoto State Park Boondocking – Otting WMA

Georgia 157
Menlo, Georgia
GPS: 34.537552, -85.465507
Elevation: 1657′

Fish and Wildlife

This Desoto State Park Boondocking location is a free dispersed campsite. This campsite does not use a reservation system. First come, first served. Otting WMA is open all year. Could not locate a campsite. GORP required for this location. This location is a large open field, with a parking area, and a few wildlife management signs. Mostly used for hunting season, and you could throw up a tent or park your RV in the field? This is what you will find in most WMA spots and great solitude if you are looking for that.

2. Free Desoto State Park Boondocking Locations – Alabama Welcome Center-Southbound

Valley Head, Alabama
GPS: 34.70797, -85.55929
Elevation: 922′

Free overnight parking. Security is there 24/7, just let desk person know you are there. The welcome center/rest stop was quiet, well kept, and well lit. The guard was nice and welcoming that night and the attendants in the morning were just as kind. Definitely a good stop for a rest or for an overnight stay. Not really a Desoto State Park Boondocking spot but convenient if you are late coming in and want to wait to morning to find a better location.

3. Free Desoto State Park Camping Spots – Crockford Pigeon Mountain WMA – Sawmill Lake

Chickamauga, Georgia
GPS: 34.670509, -85.38977
Elevation: 1991′
Get Directions

Wildlife management

Crockford – Pigeon Mountain WMA – This Desoto State Park Boondocking location is on Sawmill Lake and is open all year. According to the Georgia Wildlife Commission website, www.georgiawildlife.com, the new Georgia outdoor recreation pass, which became effective Jan. 1, is a modest user fee intended to help cover the maintenance costs at 32 of the state’s 100 wildlife management areas and public fishing areas.

The user fee, which is $3.50 for a three-day pass or $19 for an annual pass, is required for non-hunters and non-anglers 16- 64 years old. A three-day pass for small groups (up to eight people in one vehicle) is available for $10 or $35 annually.

4. Free Desoto State Park Boondocking – Crockford  Pigeon Mountain WMA

Rocky Lane
LaFayette, Georgia
GPS: 34.664154, -85.36373
Elevation: 971′

Wildlife management

Crockford – The Desoto State Park Boondocking at Pigeon Mountain WMA is open all year. 5-6 dispersed campsites no access to toilets or water, does not have tent pads, tables or lantern pole. Camping in designated areas only, clearly marked. Easy access to hiking trails, horizontal caving, and rock climbing.

According to the Georgia Wildlife Commission website, www.georgiawildlife.com, the new Georgia outdoor recreation pass, which became effective Jan. 1, is a modest user fee intended to help cover the maintenance costs at 32 of the state’s 100 wildlife management areas and public fishing areas.

The user fee, which is $3.50 for a three-day pass or $19 for an annual pass, is required for non-hunters and non-anglers 16- 64 years old. A three-day pass for small groups (up to eight people in one vehicle) is available for $10 or $35 annually.

5. Free Desoto State Park Boondocking Locations – TVA Land along the Tennessee River

Section, Alabama
GPS: 34.5829, -86.01318
Elevation: 659′

Tennessee Valley Authority (Official)

The road in to this Desoto State Park Boondocking is Paved. There are 6-15 campsites at this location. You may stay 14 at TVA Land along the Tennessee River. Nice primitive camping walk in spots along the Tennessee River in North Alabama. Great place to camp out and fish along the river. You can park along the western side of 67 and camp anywhere along the river from the northern part of the tract.

Stayed here two nights. Pass the second bridge on top of the hill trail down into woods to the lake nice big lot could hold two or three vehicles and two spaces separate from each other. Right on the water level i would stay again.

Fishing and free camping, what more could you ask for.

6. Free Desoto State Park Camping Spots – Crockford  Pigeon Mountain WMA – Estelle

19568-19670 Georgia 193
Chickamauga, Georgia
GPS: 34.748671, -85.346098
Elevation: 863′

Wildlife management

Crockford – Pigeon Mountain WMA – Estelle is open all year. A great Desoto State Park Boondocking location to use for your trips to the park. Had this lot all to ourselves. Nice cleared loop. Smooth dirt road. Pioneer campsite. No water no bathrooms no trashcan that means take your supplies with you!

According to the Georgia Wildlife Commission website, www.georgiawildlife.com, the new Georgia outdoor recreation pass, which became effective Jan. 1, is a modest user fee intended to help cover the maintenance costs at 32 of the state’s 100 wildlife management areas and public fishing areas.

The user fee, which is $3.50 for a three-day pass or $19 for an annual pass, is required for non-hunters and non-anglers 16- 64 years old. A three-day pass for small groups (up to eight people in one vehicle) is available for $10 or $35 annually.

7. Free Desoto State Park Boondocking – Racoon Creek WMA

Stevenson, Alabama
GPS: 34.817556, -85.812178
Elevation: 607′

Excellent camping right by the Tennessee River near Stevenson, Al. No facilities, water or electric, not even porta potties at this Desoto State Park Boondocking spot. Lots of deep pot holes on the way in, drive slow! Great location for self contained units. Space for about 10 to 20 units with great awning spreads.

Great spacious area right next to the river. About a mile drive in from the road on a flat gravel road. Some potholes but overall pretty good for driving (we were in our Subaru). Parked in the grassy field, some fisherman nearby in the morning otherwise totally to ourselves. Went for a beautiful run on the roads along the river. Very clean and nice spot, enjoyed it very much.

8. Free Desoto State Park Boondocking Locations – John’s Mountain

Armuchee, Georgia
GPS: 34.56079, -85.10213
Elevation: 830′

Fish and Wildlife Service

The road into this Desoto State Park Boondocking location is Dirt and 2 miles from a paved road. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 15 feet. You may stay 7 days at John’s Mountain.

Amenities:

Fire Ring
Near Water
Picnic Tables

Paid and Permit Camping for Desoto State Park

1. Crockford – Pigeon Mountain WMA – Blue Hole

A $13.50 For A PASS or PERMIT is required at this campsite. $3.50 for Additional Days

1401-1499 Blue Hole Road
LaFayette, Georgia
GPS: 34.704565, -85.342012
Elevation: 823′

Wildlife management

706-295-6041 4-5 dispersed camp sites, does not have water, toilet, tent pads, or light poles. Free camping with GORP (Georgia outdoor recreation pass). This spot is great, but not well maintained, can sometimes be overgrown, or people leave their trash and unused tents. Easily accessible from GA HWY 193, onto a smooth dirt road. Close to hiking trails and vertical caving.
Crockford – Pigeon Mountain WMA – Blue Hole is open all year.

2. Berry College WMA East

A $13.50 For A PASS or PERMIT is required at this campsite. $3.50 for Additional Days

873 Old Summerville Road Northwest
Rome, Georgia
GPS: 34.32451, -85.180597
Elevation: 614′

Fish and Wildlife

This is a free dispersed campsite. First come -> First Camped. Reservations not accepted.

Very Cool site, we got lucky and found it open because we were there during spring turkey season. There is a water spigot near the entrance. The area manager is right there by the entrance he might open it up for you if you are outside of hunting season and need a place to overnight.

Camping Inside Desoto State Park

There are 2 Backpacking Campsites to Choose From In Desoto State Park

Rates Start at $15.27 Day

1. Never Never Land Backpacking Campsite

Latitude N34.49313 Longitude W-085.63768

Located in the Forever Wild Tract purchased in 2005, this backpacking campsite sits near an unnamed seasonal stream. The area was nick-named Never-Never Land, by the many mountain bike volunteers who built the trails in the area. The shortest route to this backpacking campsite is .75 miles from the Lost Falls Trailhead. Longer routes can be taken by accessing other trails.

2.CCC Quarry Backpacking Campsite

LaThe CCC Quarry backpacking campsite is located northeast of the old Civilian Conservation Corps quarry off the white trail. One of the shortest routes to this backpacking campsite is 1.1 miles from the Country Store parking lot, following the white trail.

An 8 ft. by 10 ft. open shelter was added to the CCC Quarry backpacking campsite in the winter of 2013 and was constructed by the Fort Payne High School Ag Class.

Directions: From the Country Store Trailhead-park at the end of the parking lot furthest from the Store. Walk across the road and join up with the white trail. Follow this trail approx. .67 miles until you come to a junction-veer right/straight to keep following the white trail(don’t take the Quarry bypass to the left) Hike approx. .27 miles until you reach the quarry. Once at the quarry, walk around the rim until you reach the campsite on the lower end. Watch for the green/yellow backpacker symbol signs.titude N34.50678 Longitude W-085.62658

Primitive Campsites

Rates Start at $15.27 Day

DeSoto State Park is the place to camp in the great outdoors! DeSoto State Park features Improved & Primitive campgrounds, with campsites located in a wooded, mountainous setting. Backpacking Campsites are an option as well.

DeSoto State Park’s Primitive Campground is comprised of 18 individual wooded campsites, a wall tent site, camping cabin, and 3 large group sites. (Wall tent site, camping cabin, & group sites must be reserved separately)

Each individual campsite has a fire ring and enough room for two tents. A vaulted toilet, picnic tables, grills, trashcans, a picnic shelter, and a water faucet are centrally located in the campground. Campers are allowed access to the Improved Campground (approx. 1 mile away) to use comfort stations showers, flush toilets & laundry rooms.

Improved Campsites

Rates Start at $38 Day (2 Day Minimum)

DeSoto State Park is the place to camp in the great outdoors! DeSoto State Park features improved & primitive campground, with campsites located in a wooded, mountainous setting. Backpacking Campsites are an option as well.

DeSoto State Park’s Improved Campground has a total of 94 full hook-up sites, with 2 comfort stations centrally located that have restrooms, showers, & coin-laundry. Each site can accommodate any size of large camping units. Tents are also welcome on the back-in sites. Picnic tables & grills are located at each site.

Campground Amenities

50/30 Amp Service, Cable TV, & Wi-fi hotspots at each comfort station (wifi does not reach to every campsite)
All sites with sewer, water, & electric.
All sites average 16 feet by 60 feet deep
Large offsets for slide-outs and picnic tables. Grills on each site.
Two large comfort stations with showers & coin-operated laundry.
Back-In Sites, Pull-Thru Sites, & ‘Buddy’ Sites available(Specify what type site when making reservation, specific sites are not reserved)

Desoto State Park Boondocking

History of Desoto State Park

Mountainous Desoto State Park is located atop gorgeous Lookout Mountain in picturesque Northeast Alabama and is complemented by numerous gushing waterfalls and fragrant wildflowers that will absolutely take your breath away. It carries on the rustic legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC made numerous natural improvements to the park that were created in the late 1930s and have weathered the test of time and will last for future generations. DeSoto State Park offers a family-friendly environment with treasures for people of all ages, so come connect with Mother Nature there!

DeSoto State Park is conveniently located just 8 miles to the northeast of Fort Payne, Alabama, and DeSoto Falls, which is also a part of the park, is about 7 miles north of the park in the direction of Mentone, Alabama.

Desoto State Park Boondocking Locations

Things to Do On A Desoto State Park Trip

Everything at the Desoto State Park centers around the old country store. While it is not old and not really a country store it is the most convenient places for a new snacks and a good landmark to start your search for the best water falls to visit.

1. Visit the Water Falls

The main attraction of DeSoto State Park, which is situated on the summit of Lookout Mountain in northern Alabama, are waterfalls. DeSoto Falls, a magnificent 107-foot waterfall less than 6 miles from the park’s main area, shares the name with the park. Along the hiking paths in DeSoto State Park, there are numerous additional smaller falls. The majority of these lesser falls are close to the trailheads, making it simple to spot them.

2. Visit Needle Eye Rock

DeSoto State Park contains numerous interestingly shaped rocks, but Needle Eye Rock is one of the most peculiar. It’s a short walk from the Country Store in back. The Red or Orange Trails might be used to locate it. On our walk from Laurel Falls to the Country Store, we came across the bizarre landscape. We were shocked to discover this bizarre split rock.

3. Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls is only.75 miles from the Country Store, but there are other ways to get there as well. Starting from the Talmadge Butler Boardwalk will also get you there.

If you continue on the Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail until you reach the Azalea Cascade, you have the option of going back to your car or continuing on one of the hiking trails to look for Laurel or Lost Falls. If you choose to venture off the boardwalk, I strongly advise bringing a trail guide with you. If you don’t have a copy of the map with you, navigating the network of around three interconnected trails in this area of the park may be a little difficult.

4. Lost Falls

The distance between the Country Store and Lost Falls is around 1.5 miles. On the blue trail, that is where it is. As a seasonal waterfall, when there isn’t any water running over it, it becomes “lost.” Unfortunately, my family had to pass on this one because we lacked the time to search for a waterfall that might or might not have been visible.

5. DeSoto Falls

The waterfall most frequently associated with DeSoto State Park is DeSoto Falls, which is actually about 6 miles from the park’s center. There are numerous indicators to help you navigate between the locations. Numerous homes belonging to the fortunate individuals who are able to reside on Lookout Mountain may be seen as you travel. These homes startled me. I had anticipated Lookout Mountain to resemble Mt. Cheaha, which is located about 100 miles to the south. That state park was surrounded entirely by trees because it was situated in the Talladega National Forest. However, DeSoto State Park is situated in the midst of some of Alabama’s most sought-after real estate.

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