Some dear friends of my wife and I invited us to join them in early February at Vogel State Park near Blairsville, Georgia, where they had a cabin rented on February 6 and 7. We love that area, and I wanted another excuse to get out in our new T@b camper trailer, so we headed up there and stayed in the campground Thursday through Sunday nights, Feb 5 thru Feb 8. This allowed us plenty of time to visit the area and well as visit with our friends. Read on for my report on the Vogel State Park campground experience.
Location / Name: Vogel State Park, Blairsville, Georgia
Date: 02/05/2015 – 02/08/2015 (4 nights)
Site: Site 2, pull-thru.
Access: Vogel State Park is 11 miles south of Blairsville, Georgia on US Highways 19 and 129. This highway is excellent, although quite curvy in sections, especially as it gets closer to the park. The road into the campground is also good as it passes through the cabin section, but then narrows notably within the campground. There are some moderately tight turns within the campground as well, so larger rigs might want to scout the campground before entering.
Electric: 20- and 30-Amp service. I did not measure voltage. All the pedestals I saw were well-located within the sites.
Water: Site 2, as well as all the other sites I scouted, had a well-located double-outlet water supply, sharing a post with the electric. Since temperatures the first night were in the low teens, and below freezing the next couple of nights as well, I didn’t connect my hose, although I did verify the water was operational (I filled a teapot.) In most cases a 25-foot hose would be quite adequate, unless you’re really picky about placement within the site.
Bathhouse: There are three bathhouses in the campground, but two were closed for the winter, along with all but about 30 of the campsites. The bathhouses are located right alongside the roads, with pretty easy access from most of the campsites. This is one of the older state parks, and the bathhouse is certainly not new, but it was clean and, importantly, heated (sort of.) There is a urinal and two toilet stalls in the men’s (3 stalls in the women’s), and two sinks in a spacious vanity. There are two shower stalls in each. The water was hot, important because while the bathhouse is heated, it is not particularly warmly heated. It will keep the plumbing from freezing, but it was pretty chilly showering. The main complaint I have about the bathhouses is the lack of places to hang clothes/towels. There was a single hook in each of the women’s shower stalls; only one of the men’s showers had a hook. There were no hooks or shelves (or seating, except for one chair) in the rest of the bathhouse. There was a seat/shelf in each shower stall on which you can set your clothes, and it’s far enough away from the shower to avoid getting wet unless you’re really messy. Adequate, but not the best bathhouses I’ve used. ADA access and parking available.
Sewer: No sewerage at the campsites. Two dump stations at the exit to the campground. They look old and didn’t seem to be particularly well-drained, but I didn’t use them so can’t say from personal experience.
Cell Phone Service: Coverage was pretty spotty, with 2 or occasionally 3 bars of 3G Verizon service, but even with that, sometimes no Internet traffic made it through my hotspot. Fortunately I was able to pick up a weak wifi signal from the state park service (they provide it to the cabins) that was also occasionally usable, so we were able to access the Internet enough to get an occasional fix, even if I wasn’t able to be very productive. The last two days we got somewhat better 3G connections, and the last night my hotspot was quite usable. I don’t know what that was about; maybe weather conditions.
Trash disposal: Nice large dumpster trailers with easy access by the bathhouses.
Cost: $30 per night; seniors get a 20% discount so we paid $24 per night. Good value in this beautiful area.
General description of campground: This is a very pretty campground in an open forest. The trees are plentiful among the sites, but there is little understory, so the trees don’t provide a lot of privacy (more in summer when there are leaves on the trees.) There are many campsites that are close together in clusters that would be nice for groups. It is hilly on the side of the mountain, which makes it picturesque, but also means some sites aren’t level for any but the shortest of vehicles, or are best for tents. However, there are also a number of sites that are level, even for bigger rigs. Several of the sites, including the one we used, were pull-thru. I would have felt bad about using this large site with my small T@b, except while we were there in early February there were never more than three other sites in the campground occupied. Sunday night we had the campground entirely to ourselves. We had originally planned on staying only 3 nights, but it was so nice Sunday we decided to stay an extra night.
There are a number of campsites as you first enter the campground, and then more sites along two roads that exit at the back of the front area. These each follow along lovely creeks, which empty into man-made but lovely Lake Trahlyta.
General description of park/area: Vogel State Park is one of Georgia’s older state parks, but it continues to be popular. It is located in a beautiful mountain area of the state, with trails that connect to area trail systems, including the Appalachian Trail. The AT reaches its highest point in Georgia as it crosses the nearby Blood Mountain, to which you can hike on trails from the park. There are nearby waterfalls reachable by short hikes, and the roads in the area are popular for hard-core bicyclists and motorcyclists (so be watchful as you drive!) In the state park itself there is a small lake with waterfalls, swimming, and rental paddle boats. There is a miniature golf course, and several playgrounds. While the campground was sparsely occupied in early February, the park itself was quite busy on Saturday and Sunday with day-users, cottage occupants, and backpackers heading up to the backcountry trails via park connector trails.
Supplies/Food: There is a store with basic supplies at the park, and a small general store just a couple of miles back toward Blairsville. There is an outfitter store at Neel’s Gap where the Appalachian Trail crosses Highway 129. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and pretty much everything else you could want is available 11 miles from the park in Blairsville. There are many restaurants in the Blairsville vicinity. We ate at Thursday evening at Rib Country, which had excellent service and excellent ribs (only a little bit pricey). We had an early dinner on Friday at Cook’s Country Kitchen – my wife recommends their pork chops as excellent, although I found the rest of our meal just so-so. We had a late Sunday lunch at Fatz of Blairsville as well, and can recommend them. We had intended to eat at Jim’s Smokin’ Que on Sunday evening since each time we passed it seemed pretty busy, a good indicator of good food. Unfortunately we hadn’t noticed that it is open only Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Jim’s is located about halfway between Vogel State Park and Blairsville.
T@b Note: We are loving the Alde heating system in the T@b. Thursday night the low was around 12 degrees; we actually turned the thermostat down twice overnight. I had not winterized the T@b, although the holding tanks were empty or nearly so. We propped the shower door open, and left the water pump access door open so the plumbing most exposed to the frigid temps would get some heat. In the morning I verified systems were all operational – no problems.
Sometimes when you go to the mountains, you’ve just gotta dance!