Crabtree Falls Campground

We left home not knowing exactly where we would camp for the night but very excited about our plans for the weekend (more on that later). I had read and researched and decided to take a gamble on what I thought was a Forest Service campground called Crabtree Falls Campground. I called and make reservations, mostly because it was small and on a decent-sized creek.
We drove to Charlottesville, VA and got off of I-64 and headed uphill to the Crabtree Falls area. We pulled in and our hearts sank. The campground was obviously privately owned and was dank, dark and unkempt. Everything was gray and sodden and dirty looking. It was late and we decided that since we would be charged regardless, we would set up and just load up and leave in the morning and find another place to camp on Saturday evening.
The campsites are stacked one-atop-the-other. The bare dirt of the campsite was covered with cigarette butts, bottle tops and other tiny pieces of trash. The fire pit was full of garbage, broken glass and was set up, literally, RIGHT AGAINST THE TRUNK OF A TREE! The other campground tenants looked sketchy but maybe I’m just Really Picky. Immediately upon alighting from our van with our skootchy little Australian Shepherd, she was accosted by several intact male dogs. She, thank goodness, was/is not in heat. Ack! Gag! Egads! I did not feel safe there. (Mark used the bathroom and was appalled. I avoided it.)
After setting up as minimally as possible and briefly checking out the creek that was 100′ downhill through poison ivy and mud, we decided to take a drive. We headed toward Montebello, home of the reputedly awesome, semi-annual Montebello Fire Dept Fundraiser–a Memorial and Labor Day weekend trail ride and campout. We saw a sign advertising the Montebello Family Campground and decided to ride in and check it out. We rode through, smiled, went back, packed up and moved that evening.
I would not recommend Crabtree Falls Campground to anyone based on cleanliness, ease of access with a large van and pop-up camper, quality of accommodations or attractive surroundings (which is one of the main reasons we camp!) From what we saw on a sunny, lovely day, my opinion is that this is NOT Virginia’s Best Kept Secret…or if it is, we had better keep on keeping it.
Travis says: “Drive the few extra miles to Montebello. Martina and I went in the camp shop at CFC and they let dogs and cats inside where there is food sitting on the shelves.”
Martina says: “There was (sic) fishing hooks everywhere and I saved a butterfly from death by a fishing hook.”

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