With a Tennessee State Park within an hour’s drive of just about anywhere in the state, families seeking unique recreation opportunities, high-quality accommodations and an exceptional value can look a bit closer to home. Finding a state park in your own backyard is easy to do and you don’t have to spend a lot of gas money to get there! Listed below are just a few of these great “One Tank” Trips.
South Cumberland State Park
South Cumberland State Park will hold several fun and educational hikes in the coming weeks:
- Nature Hike-Boulders Crossing: Seasonal Ranger Aaron will lead this great hike on Saturday, July 17th. Participants should meet at the Collins West parking lot at 1:30pm (CDT) for this strenuous three-mile hike over beautiful, rocky terrain to view Collins Creek with a side trip to Suter Falls. Along the way, hikers will identify native trees and wildflowers. Bring water and a snack, wear sturdy shoes and bring the camera!
- Sunset Hike to Savage Falls: Meet Seasonal Ranger Aaron at the Savage Gulf Ranger Station on Friday, July 23rd at 8:00pm (CDT) for a moderate four-mile hike to see beautiful Savage Falls. Hikers will experience the difference between “night and day” at the park. Bring water, a snack, bug repellent and wear sturdy shoes. Hikers are also asked to bring a headlamp or flashlight.
- What is the Woolly Adelgid?: Meet Seasonal Ranger Aaron at the Grundy Forest parking lot on Saturday, July 24th, at 9:00am (CDT) for a moderate two-mile hike. Along the trail are numerous old-growth Eastern Hemlock trees that, left untreated, could be destroyed by the Woolly Adelgid. Discussions will include the insect’s potential impact on our forests, and what can be done to minimize its impact in our area. Bring water, a snack and wear sturdy shoes.
- Nature Hike-Stone Door Trail: Join Ashlie at the Stone Door Ranger Station on Sunday, July 25th, at 9:00am (CDT) to learn about Tennessee native trees and wildflowers, while soaking up some incredible views. This two-mile hike is easy and family friendly – so bring the kids, water and a snack.
- Geology Showcase: The Great Stone Door: Join South Cumberland State Park on Monday, July 26th, for a geology lesson at Stone Door. Hikers will go through the “door” and check out the overlooks. There will be an overview of geologic history and how the door was formed. Participants should meet at the Stone Door Ranger Station at 10:00am. (CDT).
- Savage Falls Hike: Meet Seasonal Ranger Aaron at Savage Gulf Ranger Station on Friday, July 30th, at 1:30pm (CDT) for a moderate four-mile hike to see beautiful Savage Falls. Bring water, a snack, wear sturdy shoes and bring a bathing suit if you want to take a swim in the pool below the falls! Don’t forget your camera!
Located near Monteagle, South Cumberland is one of the newer Tennessee State Parks. Almost the entire park lies atop the Cumberland Plateau and, unlike most state parks, South Cumberland is made up of ten different areas located in four different counties. The Visitor Center is located between Monteagle and Tracy City on Highway 41. For more information about the park, please call 931-924-2980 or visit www.tnstateparks.com/SouthCumberland.
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls State Park’s Summer Concert Series offers live music every weekend through September 5th. Featuring an array of artists, including country, bluegrass and folk, all concerts begin at 7:30pm (CDT) and will run approximately two hours. Admission is $3.00 and children six and under are admitted free. The roster of upcoming featured artists include:
- Saturday, July 17th: Lantana Drifters
- Saturday, July 24th: Fredonia Bluegrass
- Saturday, July 31st: Catoosa Canyon
Fall Creek Falls’ Summer Season also is in full swing – offering an array of activities! Softball, nature hikes, canoe floats, campfires, horseback riding and bluegrass music are just some of the unique opportunities that mark Fall Creek Fall’s summer programming. Interpretative and recreational events are scheduled seven days a week. For a complete schedule of events, please call 423-881-5298.
Fall Creek Falls State Park is a 25,500-acre paradise on the western Cumberland Plateau. Located just 40 miles south of Cookeville and 65 miles north of Chattanooga, the park offers incredible scenic beauty and recreational opportunities. Beautiful waterfalls, tremendous canyons and dense forests are protected within the park’s boundaries. Visitors will find a 250-site campground, a hotel and conference center and 30 cabins among the parks many amenities. In addition to these features, the visitors to the park will find an expansive nighttime sky – ideal for viewing stars and planets. For more information about the park, visit www.tnstateparks.com/FallCreekFalls.
Long Hunter State Park
Long Hunter State Park will hold a number of events and activities this month. For additional information about these upcoming opportunities, please call 615-885-2422.
- Tree ID Walk: Friday, July 16th at 5:00pm. – Take a walk around the two-mile loop trail at Couchville Lake with the Friends of Long Hunter and learn about our extensive tree diversity at the only certified arboretum in Tennessee State Parks – the Couchville Lake Arboretum! Participants should meet at the Area 2 parking lot.
- Stories of the Ancient Ones: Saturday, July 17th at 9:00am. – Take a walk back in time at the Sellars Farm Archaeological Site. Mississippian period Native American culture will be discussed while visiting this site. All program participants should meet at the Sellars Farm Archaeological Site. Please contact the park office for directions at 615-885-2422.
- Summer Star Party: Saturday, July 17th at 8:30pm. – The Adventure Science Museum of Nashville presents a public star party at the group camp area near the park office. Members of the Barnard Seyfert Astronomical Society will set up telescopes to provide views of Saturn, the Moon and more! If the weather is cloudy, the event will be cancelled. If the weather is questionable, call AstroLine at 615-401-5092.
- Day Loop Nature Hike: Sunday, July 18th at 9:00am. – Join us for a four-mile hike on the scenic Day Loop Trail to take in nature and all its beauty. The trail also provides breathtaking views from the bluffs above Percy Priest Lake. Hikers should meet at the Day Loop trailhead.
- Make Your Own Slime: Monday, July 19th at 10:00am. – Learn about animals that make their own slime and how it aids in their daily life. Participants will also get to make their own slime! Food coloring may be involved so please dress appropriately.
- Campfire Night: Friday, July 23rd at 8:00pm. – Learn about the basics of campfire building and enjoy delicious s’mores and summer relaxation. Feel free to bring other great snacks to roast over the fire.
Make plans now to join Long Hunter State Park on Saturday, July 31st, for a Volunteer Trail Clean-up Day. Participants will be cleaning up the Volunteer Trail – so bring water and a picnic lunch! Meet at the Volunteer Trail trailhead at 9:00am.
Long Hunter State Park is situated along the shore of J. Percy Priest Lake. It consists of four units: Couchville, Baker’s Grove, Bryant Grove and Sellars Farm. Picnicking, swimming, hiking, backpacking, boating, fishing, nature photography and wildlife observation are among the activities available to park visitors. Planned activities include interpretive and recreation programs for the general public and environmental education programs for school and other interested groups. For more information about Long Hunter State Park, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/LongHunter or call 615-885-2422.
Tennessee’s 53 state parks and 80 natural areas offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families, or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free 1-888-867-2757. For additional information, visit our Web site at www.tnstateparks.com. Tennessee State Parks is featuring several more One Tank Trips, which you can find at www.tnstateparks.com/onetank.
As always, thank you for your continued interest in Tennessee State Parks!