Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vogel State Park, Georgia

One of our camping neighbors from an early trip in Rosie, our Airstream trailer, shared with us their favorite campgrounds. Vogel was at the top of their list and our research suggested that Vogel is one of the top rated state parks in Georgia. That was good enough to get us to add Vogel to our agenda.
Vogel State Park
Reservations at Vogel are similar to having a hunting license. You don't reserve a specific site, you simply reserve one of the remaining open sites in the park. That means you end up having to hunt for your camp site once you arrive. It was entertaining during the week to watch some trailers pass through our loop multiple times while they searched for the best site available.
We did our homework prior to showing up at Vogel. We downloaded the park map to see the campsites that looked better to us then we went online to the web site to look at photos of the actual sites. I think the sites we identified as our top choices were accurate because those were the occupied as we roamed the park looking for the perfect spot. While the photos on the Web were helpful, we discovered that it was easy to misjudge some of the sites. You need to carefully scout your potential sites once you arrive at the park.
We picked a site that backed up to a mountain stream featuring the sound of water cascading over rocks. Perfect! This site wasn't on our "A-list" from our research, but it turned out be one of the best in the park.
Mountain stream behind Rosie

As we were setting up Rosie, the weather radio was alerting us to severe storms in the area. Thunderstorms, hail and 60 mph winds were in the forecast. Our camping neighbors were "locals" and calmly said that the bad stuff was in another county. We ended up getting our fair share of rain that night, but nothing severe.
Bad weather is one of the primary reasons we have Rosie. We would reserve a tent campsite on the beach for a week before we had Rosie and a bad storm would drive us out. We noticed that as the tent campers were tearing down in a hurry, the people in the trailers were simply rolling in their awnings. That observation started us down the road that led us to finding Rosie.
We must have gotten the weather out of the way our first night because the park was our comfortable mountain oasis the rest of our time there. Part of the pleasant temperatures came from the trees providing a canopy in our park loop. We found that it was easy to sleep in because the shade helped make feel as though it was always early morning. Temperatures fell into the upper 50s a couple of nights and the highs creeped into the low 80s a couple of days. The weather ended up being great during out visit to Vogel.
Rosie's camping site at Vogel

The lake at Vogel State Park
Our trips to the camp store were always surprising because it was in the sun and much hotter than our camping loop. We really learned to appreciate our site on the day we elected to visit Helen, Ga., about 10 miles from Vogel State Park. That was when we discovered how hot Georgia can be during August. We welcomed our return to the cooler temperatures in Vogel's camping area.
Camp Store at Vogel

There are hiking trails both inside and outside the park. The Applachian Trail is less than three miles away and it is worth driving over to Neel's Gap to hike on this famous trail. The "AT," as it is called by hikers, passes through the Mountain Crossings outfitter store at Walasi-Yi. Look upward while there to see the many hiking boots hung in the trees and the rafters of the store. According to workers in the store, the boots must have a minimum of 500 miles on them before they are eligible to be left in the trees or the store by AT hikers.
The Appalachian Trail is about 3 miles south of Vogel
Hiker boots in the trees at Neel's Gap on the AT

Other attractions both in and near this park are the numerous waterfalls that you can hike to. One of the camp hosts told us about a pretty waterfall about three miles from the park. The Forestry Service roads leading to the waterfall were more than we bargained for in that we met a car leaving the falls as we were driving in. The narrow road and steep dropoff left no room for error as we creeped past each other. (We had to pull in the outside mirrors on our truck to clear the car!)
A relative advised us to bring our bikes to Vogel. One of the lessons we learned on this trip is to leave the bikes home when heading to the mountains. It was a lot of fun riding the bikes down hill from our site to the camp store area. The return trip was all up hill and convinced us to leave the bikes parked the remainder of our stay at Vogel.
In the wildlife department, deer sightings in our loop were common. Our neighbors told us that a mama bear and her two cubs came up out of the creek behind Rosie and walked through our campsite. We missed that! We think we saw a bat flying around near the camp store one evening and the lake has a duck that seems willing to make friends with dogs.
Here are some specifics about Vogel State Park:
  • This park must be in some rare RF (radio frequency) vortex. We noticed that none of the campers had their TV antennas extended. After checking multiple directions at different times of the day, we could not find any TV signals. Don't expect to watch TV while at Vogel.
  • RF Vortex II - Strangely, we had a hard time picking up over-the-air AM and FM radio signals in this park.
  • RF Vortex III - AT&T cell coverage didn't exist in the camping loops of this park. We didn't see 4G, 3G nor Edge signals there. Our cell phones were disconnected from the universe. Our neighbors said they were on T-Mobile, which also had no service in the park.
  • RF Vortex IV - It was a struggle to pull in a mediocre signal from XM satelite radio.
  • RF Vortex V - Our neighbors with satellite TV antennas said they had difficult times picking up the satellite through the trees.
  • There is Wi-Fi at the campstore. That is also the spot where there is enough cellular service at allow a phone call.
  • As far as we could tell, there are three primary loops in this campground. Two are for RVs and one is exclusively for tent campers. There are a couple of camping "spurs" with four or five sites in each.
  • The RV loops have water plus 30 and 20 amp electrical service.
  • There are two dump stations at the entrance to the RV loops.
  • There are multiple gray water dumping sites scattered throughout the camping loops.
  • There are bath houses scattered throughout the park. If your campsite is at the end of a loop, you will have a heathy hike to the restroom. The bath houses are well-maintained by the camp volunteers.
  • There is a campstore at Vogel with the necessities you normally run out of while camping. Beyond that, you are 20 minutes from a store. (There is a well-stocked Ingels grocery in Blairsville.)
The bottom line is that we enjoyed our stay at Vogel and plan on coming again.

Original watercolor painting of our Vogel campsite by Becky

One of the picnic areas at Vogel.
Visitor's Center at Vogel
Miniature Golf at Vogel


  1. Just a quick note that the 3rd image (Airstream with awning lights) is missing a colon in the URL. Great post :)

  2. Great write up, we plan on staying there later in Aug, 2015. I always skip the Chamber of Commerce stuff, much prefer to read about people who actually do what we do. We've done Unicoi and Amicalola, look forward to Vogel. SleepsTwo.