Campground Review: Natchez Trace Thousand Trails, Hohenwald, TN

The 150 mile drive from east-central Tennessee to south-central Tennessee was easy aside from some major construction we encountered between Columbia and Natchez Trace Parkway.  Even with that we arrived at the campground without any problem.

image-003.jpg Arriving at Natchez Trace Thousand Trails is, in itself, an interesting experience.  One exits the parkway and immediately comes to an 11 foot overpass.  Our camper comes in at 12′ 8″ so that’s a problem.  However, there’s a solution that is described on the campground’s website.  A sort of bypass has been created that gives plenty of clearance.  One eases off the pavement onto the gravel beside the road, drives through and then back up onto the road.  There’s no telling how many hundreds of people have done this with everything from budget campers to high end motorhomes.  However, if you look at the underside of the overpass you’ll see ample evidence that a few folks should have paid more attention!

2013-10-03 10.44.27.jpg Once you arrive at the campground and check in you are still a mile and a half or more down a rather worn-but-paved road to the primary Thousand Trails campground.  It seems kind of strange to drive so far back and away from the pool, mini-golf (needing lots of TLC), tennis courts (needing even more TLC), camp store, and other facilities.  However, a quarter of a mile from the actual campground there’s a nice facility called the “Town Hall” which is where a lot of activities happen.

2013-10-03 10.48.05.jpg A portion of this facility falls under the KOA umbrella.  KOA customers can’t use TT campsites and TT members can’t use KOA.  However, I doubt that it’s a problem for TT members because none of the KOA sites offer sewer hookups or are close to the lake.

Also, there are lots of cabins – more than we’ve seen in any TT yet.  Some of them are along the lake, others, so far as I can tell, are just along the road and looking out into a tree filled ravine.

2013-10-01 09.36.22.jpg Honestly, no TT traveler need come to Natchez Trace expecting a lakeside campsite.  Those spots are all taken by annual users who have old contracts that pre-date the merger of NACO and Thousand Trails.  These folks have a good deal financially and aren’t likely to give up their contracts any time soon.  If there’s an upside in this for TT travelers it’s the fact that none of the prime lakeside sites which are all occupied have sewer hookups.  The rule of thumb here is “sewer site=no lake view.”  Of course, there are seasonals and annuals occupying many of the full hook up sites too but if one arrives during the week and not in the middle of a busy weekend they have at least a fair chance of snagging a full hookup/30 amp site.  We were quite satisfied with our spot but which was the only one available along a road filled with long term residents.

Not to dwell on the long time residents of the campground let me mention that many of them have made significant improvements to their sites, even going to far as to put up metal RV-sized carports, building decks, and planting flowers.  Also, I’ll mention that these folks are, generally speaking, friendly and welcoming to visitors to “their” campground.  They also volunteer for weekend activities like hayrides for the kids.

I can’t imagine this place ever being clear full.  There are lots of nice campsites for people who are satisfied with a water/electric site.  Some of those sites aren’t suitable for a bigger rig but many of them are.

2013-10-03 10.29.38.jpg This place clearly needs upgrading: primarily road work, more full hook up sites, 50 amp electric (there’s none), and fresh gravel on the sites.   One surprising plus is good WiFi.  I think it’s the best WiFi we’ve ever had in a Thousand Trails facility.  Over the weekend it got sluggish due to, I imagine, heavy use but the rest of the time it’s been pretty good.  My Verizon phone signal has been rather poor, but using my Wilson Sleek signal booster it is usable.  We’ve seen lots of folks sitting in the Town Hall parking lot at the top of the hill using their phones.

To us, the draw here is the campground’s being so close to Natchez Trace Parkway.  I don’t see it as a destination park aside from it being a good spot to let the kids have freedom to roam and enjoy the playground or simply as a place to enjoy some downtime.  I know efforts are being made to catch up on various maintenance concerns and increase the appeal of this park.  I’ll come back when passing through the area again and I hope that when I do I’ll see evidence of that having taken place.

There’s a second review of this campground from October, 2015 here.

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2 responses to “Campground Review: Natchez Trace Thousand Trails, Hohenwald, TN

  1. Years ago I bought an old deed and my family and I have enjoyed the campground very much. In the last four or five years the parks management has been selling annual spots to members. This is in violation of the rules of all the deeds I have read. Which state that under no condition shall any member occupy any site longer than 30 days. Now the annuals have taken up all the lake side sites and these sites are no longer available to members with deeds which have rules t o prevent this type of thing happening. These annuals have built docks decks and other permanent structure . You can hardly call it a camp ground anymore. I have seen signs on dock that say private dock , how can that be? I have seen electrical wired to these docks which would not pass state inspection and is a hazard to the public. To sum it up members with deed have been cheated and visitors are being denied the camping experience that we used to have and is protected by our deeds. Shame on you NACO MGT. This action you have taken will destroy our park. It has now became just a gated trailer park. I hope the person has done this is prosecuted to the full extend of the Law!!!!!!!

    • Lester, I agree completely. My husband and just returned from a week long stay at our “home park”. We also have an old deed that states 30 day stay. This was our first camping trip in awhile and we were surprised at how the campground had changed. The annuals had add permanent structures as you have mentioned. Some of the annual sites looked to have not had a resident all summer. The site next to us had dead leaves under sewer house and junk all around site. This was in the month of August, it was clear that know one had been at this site in months. We asked about the annual sites and she was happy to give us prices and told us we could pick any site we wanted as an annual site. She asked if we were tt members but did not ask to see our deed. The next morning we attended what was at one time was called a members meeting, now called coffee social. I think we were the only ones there that were not annuals. At this meeting the park manager spoke and told everyone at the meeting that this was their park. Our worry is that the next time we plan a trip to our park there will not be a site for us to camp. This concern was not only ours, we meet a couple from California that had the same worry. I hope that management will do something before this campground becomes a trailer park.

      Note: this post was edited by Admin to remove a person’s name.