Boondock / Dry Camp: Places to Go

Looking for a place to practice your boondocking / dry camping skills close to home?  Here is the perfect place: 

Chuck Swan State Forest (directions)
3476 Sharps Chapel Rd,
Sharps Chapel, TN 37866

Reasons to Camp at Chuck Swan State Forest

  1. It is free.  It does not require permits or licenses.
  2. It does not require reservations.  In fact, there is no way to make reservations.  You simply show up.
  3. It is never crowded.  The most I have ever seen there is one trailer or tent camper during hunting season.
  4. There are no hookups of any kind (no electricity, no water, no sewer, no bathhouse).  This is one reason it is free and never crowded.  Perfect!
  5. You are a half mile from the entrance to the Chuck Swan State Forest and the Chuck Swan Wildlife Management Area.  Here you can:
    1. Mountain bike on gravel roads (bring your own).
    2. Kayak on Norris Lake (bring your own).  Drive to lakefront on gravel roads.
    3. Hike.  There are no trails but there are many miles of gravel and dirt roads taking you to the shorelines of Norris Lake, open fields used for hunting during hunting season, and historic sites such as churches, old cemeteries, foundations for houses moved due to the TVA building the Norris Dam
    4. Hunt for Morel Mushrooms (March/April) (morel hunting tips)
    5. Hunt for Puffball Mushrooms (August – October)
    6. ATV riding (bring your own)
    7. Horseback riding (guided horse tours can be arranged from CC Acres website)
    8. Wildflowers:  Look for Pink Lady Slipper Orchids along the gravel roads (see pictures)
    9. Pick Blackberries and Red Raspberries along the road.

How to Get to the Campground

Chuck Swan State Forest (directions)
3476 Sharps Chapel Rd,
Sharps Chapel, TN 37866

The campground is on Sharps  Chapel Rd., about a half mile before the entrance to the Chuck Swan State Forest. On the way there, look for Ray Rd. on your left.  Go past Ray Rd.  Look for a gated shooting range on your left.  Go past that.  It is the next driveway on your left.  It is a wooded open area.  Park any place you like (keep the dirt road free for traffic).  


New to Boondocking?

Everyone was new to bookdocking at one time in their life.  Here are some things you will want to consider as you improve your skills.  If you forget something on this trip, drive into the WalMart in Tazewell, TN (about 30 minutes away) and get what you need.  

  1.  Bring your own fresh water for bathing and drinking / cooking.  If you run out, have wet wipes as a backup until you can make a run to get more water in your 10 gallon plastic water container (which you will have, right?)
  2. You may need to recharge your batteries, depending upon how long you are there.  Do you have a generator?  a solar panel?
  3. No electricity means no microwave or electric coffee pot.  Plan meals accordingly.  Use your gas stove and stovetop.  Get a stovetop percolator.  Use easy-to-clean teflon pans and paperplates.
  4. Navy showers?  Aye, Aye, Sir!  Make it a game.  How many days can you go with showers for both of you.  Personally, we are up to five days (10 showers total).  One tip is to have a plastic juice container and use it to run your shower water into until it heats up.  Recycle that water to flush your toilet or do dishes.


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