CS 29-40 – Womack Creek Campground, Tate’s Hell State Forest

You can reserve the sites at the Womack Creek Campground at Reserve America, Tate’s Hell State Forest, Womack Creek Campground. If you have to call 911, your address is 5503 Jeff Sanders Rd., GPS 30.00197, -84.53935. Emergency responders will need the street address. This information is not included in your Reserve America confirmation.

When you arrive at your site, check to see where you can get coverage, if you cannot get coverage at your site.

At 5503 Jeff Sanders Rd. you will find Womack Creek Campground, the largest of Tate’s Hell State Forest’s campgrounds. Although called “primitive” it has currently a large rest house with hot showers and flush toilets. Water is not potable; it can be filtered, but water in the area smells of shulper and needs to sit overnight to remove the smell. Recommend you bring your own drinking and cooking water. Because the resthouse sits on the rim of a bluff overlooking a curve in the Ochlockonee River, the sandy banks have been eroding at a very rapid rate and is currently about 1 foot away from a corner of the foundation. The restroom facilities may soon be closed because of the danger of collapse of the foundation. In such a situation, Tate’s Hell Forestry may have to install vault toilets because the primitive tent sites are too close to each other even though well separated by thick palmetto stands. Digging your own toilet as in isolated single sites in the forest is not sanitary.

Although any number of hosts and visitors have noted that the eroding banks should be shored up over the years, nothing has been done that we can see. This is a lovely campground and increasingly has attracted group camping.

It has been a favorite campground for us because it’s the landing to Womack Creek. In 2013 we organized a paddle for about 85 paddlers to camp here for a weekend and paddle Tate’s Hell SF and area paddling venues. A major front caused cancellation of the paddles on the last day. Tate’s Hell Forestry was very supportive of the group’s plans and provided free firewood and other assistance to enable the event to be a success. Talquin State Forest Region Recreation coordinators have always been willing to help with group events in the forests under their jurisdiction.

We noticed yesterday when we took these photos that there was more dog poop around the campground, which is not common here (or any campsite in Tate’s Hell SF). As tenters, we are particularly conscious of dog feces since we are sleeping directly on ground and walk the area a lot more than campers do. If you reserve a campsite here and you are tenting, you might wish to call the Tate’s Hell State Forest office and request that they remind the host to clean up the dog poop before you expect to be there. If you are trying to introduce a good tenting experience to friends or family, this is sure to discourage them from doing any more camping.

Also, be warned that the host has a dog which while very friendly jumps on you. It is not on lease as it should be. Before you let your children out of your site area, you may want to check with the host to make sure that he is aware that you have children, particularly if you have a child who may not be familiar with dogs larger than they are and may not know how to handle an overly friendly dog.

This is what you will see as you drive into the campground.

This is the parking area for cars for those in the tent only campsites which are inaccessible to cars.

This is the site of the host’s trailer, the only host at Tate’s Hell State Forest. Hosts are volunteers.  They volunteer 20 hours a week of volunteer time and are given a site and water and electricity hook-up for that work. The host at Womack Creek campground is also responsible for the campsites at Nick’s Road landing and other nearby campsites. This is very hard work, so please be patient with them. The regular work often takes more than 20 hours a week and they often buy from their own pockets paper and soap for the bathrooms. To assist these volunteers, you can keep the restrooms and your campsite clean and clear of garbage and debris and clean up your firepit of thrash — the firepit is not a thrash bin.

Campsite 33 and 35 are not reservable. For those camping here, place your fee in the envelope provided and deposit the check/cash in envelope in this iron ranger. There is a day use fee of $2. Campers from other sites often use the showers at Womack Creek Campground. They should pay the day use fee of $2 per person.

This is an enclosure to protect the burrow of a gopher tortoise, an endangered specie and keystone specie. Keystone species are essential to many other living things which depend on them or their habitats to live. In the case of gopher tortoises, about 150 different species including a number of other endangered species. Please do not use this area as a play area and if you see a gopher tortoise, stay away — they are not play animals. They are essential denizens of this ecosystem.

The rest rooms have a very long and wide veranda from which one can rock and view the Ochlockonee river flowing below you. Those rocking chairs were donated by the then Florida Canoe and Paddling Connection paddlers (now Florida Kayaking.com) who held a camp/paddle here in 2013.

The view downriver – note how close the banks are to the rest rooms.

The upriver view from the veranda. At dusk and at dawn this is an incredibly reposeful place to be.

Between the boat landing and the restrooms are the day use pavilions with 2 grills.

And below that is a grassy play area and the boat landing.

The Ochlockonee River curves just before this landing. At flood tide, there are eddies which are quite strong upstream of the landing. Looking upstream you will see the opening of Womack Creek on the left and to the right the Ochlockonee River.

CAMPSITES IN CAMPGROUND

CS #29

This is a tent only campsite as are campsites 3-33, 35, 37. Campsites 33 and 35 are not reservable, but available on a walk-in basis.

The tent sites vary in size, but are not large. There is a picnic table at each campsite and a fire pit. Remember that if you plan to use the fire pit, the tent should not be too close to it or the flying embers will burn a hole in your tent fly.

This site is large enough to hold a 4-6 person tent. It will be cramped.


Except for campsite 37 and the RV/tent sites cars are not accessible to the site. That campsite is not reservable, but is the largest tent site in the campground.

Campsite 30 should accommodate a 4 person tent or 2 two person backpacking tents.

I failed to get the sign post photo of the site below, which is campsite 31.

In the middle of the campsites is a large area for a group fire pit.

Campsite 32 is a smaller tent site which can accommodate a 4 person tent.

Campsite 33 is a non reservable site.

Campsite 34 is an RV/tent site with electricity. It costs more and is reservable. Of the 3 RV/tent sites this may have the largest tent site not on gravel.

This is campsite 35 which is walkable from the main entry road, but car parking is in the group parking area. It is not reservable.

It is one one of the more private of the campsites at this campground.

Campsite 36 is an RV/T site with gravel.

One could pitch a small tent here or at the entrance in a small triangular grassy area right off the main road.

Campsite 37 is the largest of the tent sites and one can park one’s car in the site.

Campsite 38 is an RV/tent site with electricity.

If you camp here, please post your comments in the box provided at the end of this post.

This is a smaller tent only site for a 2 person tent.

A young couple from Indiana was camping here. It rained the night before, but they enjoyed biking the trails.

If you camp at any of these sites, please add your comments.

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