Tennessee – Ghosts and goblins take note! It’s Halloween in Tennessee and there are several “spooky” fun events in store for kids and adults alike! There also are some great early November events planned in the Middle Tennessee area from rock-climbing workshops to outstanding hikes to honoring our local Veterans! Visit a Tennessee State Park and enjoy the colors, sounds and beauty of fall!
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!
Tennessee State Parks offer a variety of activities and events throughout the fall. From great hikes to bluegrass – there’s something designed for the entire family!
Here are just a few state park events in your area.
South Cumberland State Park
South Cumberland State Park will host a variety of unique hikes and programs in the coming weeks, including:
- Greeter Falls Nature Hike: Friday, October 29th, at 9:00am. – Join Ashlie at the Greeter Falls parking lot to enjoy a moderate two-mile hike Greeter Falls. Bring sturdy shoes, water and swimwear so you can take a quick dip!
- Soap Making: Friday, October 29th, at 2:00pm. – Meet at the Stone Door Ranger Station to learn about primitive soap-making techniques and to see a demonstration using simple household materials.
- Savage Day Loop Hike: Friday, October 29th, at 2:30pm. – Meet Seasonal Ranger Aaron at the Savage Gulf Ranger Station for a moderate five-mile hike on the Savage Day Loop. Along the way, hikers will see Savage Falls and the beautiful Rattlesnake Point overlook. Bring water, a snack and wear sturdy shoes. Don’t forget your camera!
- Scavenger Hunt: Saturday, October 30th, at 9:00am. – Meet at the Stone Door Ranger Station to test your detective skills by tracking down objects in the woods. All materials will be provided. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
- Volunteer Day: Exotic Invasives: Saturday, October 30th, at 2:00pm. – Meet at the Stone Door Ranger Station and learn about the dangers of exotic invasive plants. There will be hands-on demonstrations and volunteers will help remove these pesky plants!
- Backpacking Basics: Saturday, October 30th, at 3:00pm. – Meet Seasonal Ranger Aaron at the Savage Gulf picnic area for an informative talk for beginning backpackers. Come learn the essentials to a fun and successful trip in the backcountry.
- Drawing Nature: Sunday, October 31st, at 9:00am. – Meet the ranger at the Stone Door Ranger Station for a discussion on different native animals and plants, including a demonstration on how to draw them. Materials will be provided.
- Twig Art: Sunday, October 31st, at 2:00pm. – Meet at the Stone Door Ranger Station for a demonstration on using natural materials to make a variety of crafts, such as toy animals.
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.
Long Hunter State Park
Having a Hoot with Owls, Deer in the Woods, Very Valuable Vultures, Terrific Turkeys and Animals Hibernating are just a few of the upcoming topics The Nature Circle at Long Hunter State Park will be discussing in the coming weeks. The Nature Circle is an interactive group made up of nature-themed stories, puppets, songs and crafts for ages three to five. The group meets at the park visitor center every Monday at 10 a.m. and is co-sponsored by the Friends of Long Hunter State Park. Children are encouraged to bring an item, such as a favorite book, stuffed animal or photograph that relates to each week’s theme. For a complete schedule of events, please visit www.friendsoflonghunter.com/kidsplace.html or call 615-885-2422.
Long Hunter State Park also will offer a number of great programs in the coming weeks, including:
- Halloween Hunt 5-Mile Run: Saturday, October 30th, at 11:00am. – This event is part of the 32nd Annual Tennessee State Parks Running Tour. This race will include two laps around Couchville Lake. Awards will be presented in five age categories and there will also be a Halloween costume contest and grilled hotdogs! Early registrants will receive a t-shirt. For more info, call Tomas de Paulis at (615) 889-1306 or visit www.imathlete.com.
- Spooktacular Halloween Hike: Sunday, October 31st, at 1:00pm. – The Volunteer Trail / Day Loop area features some of Long Hunter’s most impressive natural features – majestic trees, rocky outcrops, a wide variety of plants and impressive views of Percy Priest Lake. Join State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath on this easy-to-moderate, four-mile hike as we explore this scenic area and take in the fall colors. Participants should meet the Volunteer Trail parking lot.
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.
Fall Creek Falls State Park
On Saturday, October 30st, Fall Creek Falls will host its annual Wild Foods Day – a series of field trips identifying edible wild plants and workshops on preparing wild meats and breads are just part of the activities! The real treat comes in enjoying the wild feast. For more information, please call 423-881-5708.
Fall Creek Falls will host a Rock Climbing Workshop Friday through Sunday, November 5th-7th, including basic instruction on knots, harnesses and techniques. Participants will then meet some of the park’s milder bluffs and boulders. For more information regarding the fee and registration, email
Join Fall Creek Falls for its annual Fall Backpacking Trip, Saturday through Sunday, November 13th-14th. This 13-mile trek through some of the more remote portions of the park is designed for both novice and experienced backpackers and includes a two-day guided hike with an overnight camp. There is a $10.00 fee and pre-registration is required. For more information please call the park at 423-881-5708.
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 park’s many amenities. For more information about the park, visit www.tnstateparks.com/FallCreekFalls.
Edgar Evins State Park
Join the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park on Saturday, November 6th, for the park’s annual Fall Color Cruise. The cruise will last approximately two hours and is a great opportunity to view the fall scenery – and even a few homes of country stars! Admission is $10.00 per person and reservations required. Contact the park office for reservations! For more information, please call 931-858-2446 or 800-250-8619.
Edgar Evins State Park is located on the shores of Center Hill Lake in the steep, hilly Eastern Highland Rim. The 6,000-acre park provides excellent recreational opportunities and accommodations on one of the most beautiful reservoirs in Tennessee. Wildlife is abundant, including three different owl species, numerous hawks and wintering bald eagles as well as the rare Cerulean Warbler – a summer resident of the park’s mixed hardwood forests, which include stands of Tulip Poplar, Oak, Hickory, Buckeye and Wild Cherry. The park was dedicated in 1975 and named for James Edgar Evins, a Dekalb County businessman and mayor of nearby Smithville. As a two-term state senator, Evins was instrumental in the development of Center Hill Dam and Reservoir. For more information about the History Hayride, please call 800-250-8619. Additional information about the park can be found at www.tnstateparks.com/EdgarEvins.
David Crockett State Park
Runners are encouraged to participate in the David Crockett State Park 10k, slated for Saturday, November 6th. Sponsored by the Crockett Runners, the event is part of the Tennessee State Parks Running Tour – a unique fall and winter series of foot races with distances varying from 5 to 13 miles and serves as the oldest state parks’ running series in the nation. There are a total of 20 races this season and the David Crockett 10k is the fifth race of the tour. For registration and more information contact Scott Benefield at 931-762-3341.
David Crockett was a pioneer, soldier, politician, and industrialist and was born near the town of Limestone in northeast Tennessee in 1786. In 1817, he moved to Lawrence County and served as a justice of the peace, a colonel of the militia and as state representative. Along the banks of Shoal Creek, he established a diversified industry consisting of a powdermill, a gristmill and a distillery. All three operations were washed away in a flood in September 1821. Financial difficulties from this loss caused Crockett to move to West Tennessee where he was elected to Congress. While in Washington, he fought for the right of the people to keep land they had settled on the new frontier of West Tennessee. Crockett died at the Alamo Mission in March of 1836, while aiding the Texans in their fight for independence from Mexico. Information about the park can also be found at www.tnstateparks.com/DavidCrockettSP.
Sgt. Alvin C. York State Park
Join Sgt. Alvin C. York State Park and the Sgt. York Patriotic Foundation on Thursday, November 11th, for a Veteran’s Day Celebration. This very special annual ceremony begins at 11:00am (CST) and pays tribute to all members of the armed forces, both past and present. Events include the presentation of colors, dignitary speeches and music. For more information about the event or the Sgt. York Patriotic Foundation, please visit www.sgtyork.org or call 931-879-3657. For information about the park, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/SgtYork or call 931-879-6456.
Located in Pall Mall, Sgt. Alvin C. York State Park honors the backwoods marksman from the mountains of Tennessee who became one of the most decorated soldiers of World War I. York’s fame rose from his legendary exploits on October 8th, 1918, in the Argonne Forest in France. Leading a small patrol, York was sent to eliminate the flanking machine gun fire halting the advance of his regiment. York found himself alone opposing a German machine gun unit – with rifle and pistol he engaged the enemy. The fight ended with more than 20 Germans dead. Another 132 enemy soldiers, including four officers and 35 machine guns, became discouraged and surrendered to York and six of his comrades. For that, he was decorated with a dozen medals, including the Congressional Medal of Honor and the French Croix de Guerre.
Cedars of Lebanon State Park
Join the Friends of Cedars of Lebanon on Friday, November 12th, for Veteran’s Day Out – an event that hosts and honors hospitalized veterans from Alvin C. York Medical Center for a day in the park. The event will be held in the Cedars Assembly. Lunch will be served by local organizations, churches and businesses that graciously sponsor these events. Music will be provided by local bluegrass musicians who also generously donate their time and talent. For more information call the Friends Group at 615-286-1390.
Cedars of Lebanon State Park and State Forest are located in the southwestern part of Wilson County within the central basin of Tennessee. Both were established during the 1930s as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s program to resettle people and replant the Cedar trees that had been heavily harvested. The area now contains one of the largest juniper forests in the country. For more information about the park, visit www.tnstateparks.com/Cedars.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
In commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War, Tennessee’s Sesquicentennial Commission announces the state’s Inaugural Sesquicentennial Signature Event. Taking place Saturday and Sunday, November 12th-13th, at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, the theme of this historic milestone is The Coming of the Civil War. Governor Phil Bredesen will kick off the event at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Jackson Hall beginning at 10:00am on November 12th.
The Tennessee Sesquicentennial Signature Event will consist of historical discussions, stories and re-enactments in addition to music by the internationally acclaimed Fisk Jubilee Singers and special appearance by country superstar Trace Adkins. In addition, the historical significance of local attractions such as the Tennessee State Capitol, Tennessee State Museum, Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Tennessee State Library and Archives and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center will be highlighted. State-sponsored activities will be held in downtown Nashville throughout the two-day event. Special recognition for Tennessee’s Civil War Trails communities and their efforts in sustaining the state’s history will also play an important role in the event.Registration for Tennessee’s Sesquicentennial Signature Event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit www.tnvacation.com/civil-war/events.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is located at the foot of the State Capitol. The park is bordered by James Robertson Parkway, Jefferson Street and Sixth and Seventh Avenues. For more information about the park, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/Bicentennial or call the park office at 615-741-5280.
Tennessee’s 53 state parks and 81 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.