Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Salthouse Branch Campground, Philpott Lake, Virginia

On our way back from nearby Collinsville to refill one of our 30 pound propane tanks, we take a side trip to the other side of Philpott Lake to visit one of the other campgrounds run by the Corps of Engineers. The closest campground to Goose Point is Salthouse Branch, about fifteen or so very twisty miles by car from Goose Point, but only an easy paddle across the lake by kayak. The Salthouse Branch campground is about twelve miles from the town of Bassett. The road to the campground is almost as twisty as the one to Goose Point, but it is in worse shape. It is a county road and not mowed or maintained like the roads inside the Corps of Engineers property. Again, not for big units or careless drivers. 
We are immediately struck by the major differences between the two locations. The first loop of Salthouse Branch looks to us like a commercial type campground. Sites are laid out in a measured grid at a slight angle to each other, close with no separation between sites. No trees or vegetation, just grass and pavement. Not our cup of tea, but if you want to take advantage of two great swimming areas and an easy access boat ramp, this may be for you. 

This camping area is close to a great put-in point for kayaks, but a good hike from the main boat ramp. This loop is the only one that can accommodate larger trailers or RVs. The rest of the campground is strictly for small camping units, this campground is a far tighter park than Goose Point. In fact, a warning sign posted on one loop warns “No Trailers Over 20 Feet.” They aren't kidding. On the road out from that loop, I couldn't see the edge of the pavement on my driver's side, while I was guessing about how close I was to scrapping the right side of the Toyota on a tree trunk. There isn't even room for two passing vehicles on most of the narrow access road to the beach area! The two swimming areas here are the saving grace, and I'm sure the day user's take full advantage of the facilities. 

NEXT: Philpott - Two More Firsts

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