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The Big South Fork National Park or, more accurately, The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, is well known among outdoorsmen and visitors to The Cumberland Plateau but there's a lot more here than meets the eye! There are several exceptional state parks with a "day-trip" drive of the Big South Fork itself, With long springs, a long fall season and mild winters, parks in the Big South Fork area can be enjoyed almost year-round.

 

Pickett Memorial CCC Park is right here in Jamestown. Many of the original buildings were constructed of native sandstone rock that the Civilian Conservation Corps workers quarried from the nearby forest. These beautifully built buildings have stood the test of time, qualifying the park to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This lovely little park is a wonderful place to hike or swim and it has a number of scenic and well-appointed picnic areas. Pickett State Park and Forest is a combination of scenic, botanical and geological wonders found nowhere else in Tennessee. Pickett State Park rents campsites and has several rental cabins, and it features more than 58 miles of hiking trails, as well as picnic pavilions with grills, and swimming from its own little sand beach.  Once owned by the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company, it became one of Tennessee's earliest state parks in the 1930s. 

The park is threaded with hiking trails, varying from easy to moderate. Hikers can walk for twenty minutes or, combining several loops, for several hours. A map is available in a kiosk outside the ranger station as you drive in. It's clear and easy to use. The Lakeview Trail is especially scenic and includes a trip across the suspension bridge. Hikers won't want to miss Hazard Cave, which simply takes your breath away with its massive ruggedness, and the Natural Bridge is another geologic formation that's also a destination.
There's a lovely little lake, with bluffs that form the lake's far side. This rock formation, part of the bluff, looks just like a fish, with eyes and a mouth.

Pickett Fishy.jpg

For more information, visit Pickett State Park or call (931) 879-5821.

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Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park, located in Pall Mall, Tennessee, pays tribute to Sgt. Alvin C. York, the backwoods marksman from the mountains of Tennessee who became one of the most decorated soldiers of World War I. The historic park includes the York family farm and the grist mill he operated for many years on the banks of the Wolf River. For additional information visit Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park or call (931) 879-6456.

Frozen Head State Park is nestled in 12,000 acres in the back of the valley of the Flat Fork watershed. Activities include hiking, biking, camping, backpacking, and picnicking. It has some beautiful wildflower hikes in the spring. The 3½ mile hike up the South Old Mac Mountain Trail leads to the CCC-built fire tower. The views from the fire tower are spectacular, with the wilderness of the Cumberland Mountains to the north and the Tennessee Valley to the south. For more information visit Frozen Head State Park or call (423) 346-3318.

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest. Known as the "Niagara of the South," the waterfall forms a 125-foot wide curtain that plunges 60 feet into the boulder-strewn gorge below. The mist of Cumberland Falls creates the magic of the moonbow, only visible on a clear night during a full moon. The area is a natural choice for water-sports enthusiasts, offering white-water rafting and canoeing among other water activities. The historic DuPont Lodge offers lodging, dining and a spectacular view of the Cumberland River Valley. For additional information visit Cumberland Falls State Resort Park or call (606) 528-4121.

Dale Hollow Lake is managed by the Nashville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who welcomes you to this recreational treasure located on the Cumberland Plateau. Each year Dale Hollow Lake provides recreational opportunities to millions of visitors. As a result of the temperate climate and relatively long recreation season, visitors to Dale Hollow have many opportunities to fish, hunt, camp, picnic, boat, canoe, hike, ride horseback, and enjoy the outdoors.

For additional information visit Dale Hollow Lake or call the Resource Manager at (931) 243-3136.

 

Then there is the Cordell Hull Birthplace Park near Dale Hollow Lake. The site consists of a representation of Hull's log cabin birthplace, an activities center, and a museum housing documents and artifacts. The collection includes his Nobel Peace Prize that is on display. Also in the park is the beautiful Bunkum Cave Trail leading to an overlook and the actual entrance of historic Bunkum Cave where Cordell Hull's father made moonshine many years ago.

 

Cumberland Mountain State Park is just 45 minutes from here in Crossville, which is where you exit Interstate- 40 en route to Big South Fork. This 1,720-acre park was acquired in 1938 as a project of the Farm Security Administration to provide a recreational area for some 250 families selected to homestead on the Cumberland Plateau. The Homestead Museum, located one mile from the park, depicts the Cumberland Homestead Community of the 1930s. This community-built the park with help from the CCC and WPA. Cumberland Mountain Park has 147 tent and RV campsites with hookups provided, as well as picnic tables, grills, and a bathhouse. The park's Olympic-size pool is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. This park offers fishing on Byrd Lake, and visitors can expect catches of catfish, bass, bluegill, and bream. Fishing from the bank is allowed except for posted areas.

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