Years ago I went on two camping trips on back to back weekends. The first trip was to Vogel state park in north Georgia. The second trip was up in North Carolina I believe near the Nantahala because we went white water rafting up there to start the trip out. I remember seeing the signs to go to Vogel on the way to the trip so I know we were north of there. When we were finished rafting we asked our guide where a good place to camp would be. The best I can remember we drove down a paved road and crossed over a dam and turned off on a dirt road to the right where there was open camping sites right on the banks of a stream with many waterfalls. I swear that I remember driving over the dam and there being a school right beside the dam. We found a campsite by the water and then later drove further down the road that we were on and parked under a street light at a little parking area that was probably just gravel if I remember correctly. We hit the trail from this parking area and after only 30 - 45 minutes of hiking we were above the tree line on stone ground and you couldn't see 50' in front of your face for the mist in the air. A few minutes later you could see forever. I have no idea where we were other than it was near Natahala and in North Carolina. I've tried calling the rafting outfitters up there and asking with no luck. I've also gone so far as to spend hours on google maps on the street level view and satellite view looking for every dam and school in the area to see if any of it was familiar.
I'm positive that we had to cross over the water and I'm about 85% that it was some type of dam that we drove across. I'm not positive about the school being right there at the dam, it could have been a day care, church or something else. Maybe we turned by a school earlier in the directions, I can't be sure. I am sure that we were able to park only 30 minutes or so from the very top of whatever hill/mountain we were near.
Are there any people with North GA and North Carolina experience that might have an idea of where I'm talking about?