Tennessee – As the seasons change, Tennessee State Parks are full of fall beauty, great programming and the perfect setting to enjoy the crisp, outdoor air! There are several opportunities in Middle Tennessee, including outstanding hikes, fall festivals and cultural events – just to name a few! Stay tuned next week for more fall foliage opportunities.
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 winter. From great hikes to bluegrass – there’s something designed for the entire family!
Here are just a few state park events in your area.
Cedars of Lebanon State Park
On Friday, October 14th, Cedars of Lebanon also will host a Veterans Day Out. Now in its seventh year, this event is sponsored by the Friends of Cedars of Lebanon and is an opportunity to honor military veterans from the Alvin C. York Medical Center and the Tennessee Veterans Home in Murfreesboro. In addition to fresh air and a change of scenery, participants are treated to lunch and entertainment. If you are interested in being a sponsor or volunteering for the event, please contact Ken Kackley 615.286.1390 or the Cedars of Lebanon park office at 615.443.2769.
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 or call 615.443.2769.
Long Hunter State Park
Long Hunter State Park and the Friends of Long Hunter have several upcoming events – something for all ages and abilities. For additional information about these opportunities, please call 615.885.2422. Here are some unique events in the coming days and weeks:
Friends of Long Hunter Monthly Meeting: Saturday, October 8th at 10:00am – All are welcome to attend the October meeting of the Friends of Long Hunter State Park to discuss park activities and plan for future events, including possible field trips, cookouts and night hikes. For more information, please visit www.friendsoflonghunter.com.
30th Annual NAIA Pow Wow and Fall Festival: Friday through Sunday, October 14th-16th – Long Hunter State Park will host the 30th Annual Pow Wow, featuring Native American artists, musicians, dancers, food and storytellers. Sponsored by the Native American Indian Association of Tennessee, this time-honored gathering draws thousands of people from across the country and offers a great opportunity to explore a variety of tribal customs and cultural experiences.
Activities will begin at 9:00am each day, running into the evening. Admission is $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for children ages 6 to 12 and senior citizens, and children aged 5 and under will be admitted free of charge. NAIA-TN is offering a Free School Day on Friday, October 14th, from 10:00am until 2:00pm for all students, teachers and school faculty members.
Preschool Story Time at The Nature Circle: Monday, October 17th at 10:00am – The Nature Circle is an interactive group made up of nature-themed stories, puppets, songs and crafts for ages 3-5. Children are encouraged to bring an item (examples: favorite book, stuffed animal or a photograph) that relates to each week’s theme. Join them each Monday morning and develop and nurture a love of nature. This week’s theme: Why Leaves Change Color.
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.
Standing Stone State Park
Car enthusiasts are encouraged to visit Standing Stone on Saturday, October 8th, for the park’s 14th Annual Car Show – featuring antique cars, trucks and hot rods. More than 300 vehicles will be shown and judged at this year’s event. Beginning at 8:00am, this will be a fun-filled day of great music and food. For more information about the Annual Car Show, please call 931.823.6347.
Standing Stone State Park covers nearly 11,000 acres on the Cumberland Plateau of north-central Tennessee. The quaint and rustic park is noted for its outstanding scenery, spring wildflowers, fossils and other natural diversity. The park is located in Overton County within a triangle formed by highways connecting Livingston, Gainesboro and Celina, TN.
The park takes its name from the Standing Stone, an eight-foot tall rock standing upright on a sandstone ledge, which was supposedly used as a boundary line between two separate Indian nations. When the rock fell, the Indians placed a portion of it upon an improvised monument to preserve it. The stone is still preserved in Monterey, TN. Additional information about the park can be found at www.tnstateparks.com/StandingStone.
Edgar Evins State Park
Reserve your spot now for Edgar Evins State Park’s 6th Annual History Hayride slated for Saturday, October 8th. Hosted by the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park, this event is an opportunity to learn about the history of the park and the area, while enjoying fresh air and spectacular lake and hillside scenic views. Reservations are required – so, reserve your spot now as this event sells out quickly! Admission is $10.00 per person, with all proceeds benefiting the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park whose efforts help improve and preserve the park. Light refreshments also will be served.
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.
South Cumberland State Park
South Cumberland State Park will host two unique Fall Color and Wildlife Hikes on Saturday, October 8th:
Morning Meadow Wildflower Hike – Beginning at 8:00am, participants will see the last of Meadow Trail’s wildflower season, as it winds down for the year. Meet Ranger Jason at the Visitors Center for this easy 1.5-mile stroll.
Sycamore Falls Hike – Meet Ranger Brent at the Grundy Forest parking lot at 2:00pm for a moderate 2-mile round trip on the Day Loop Trail. Come out for an afternoon of fall weather and colors. Bring your camera, water and a snack.
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.
Tims Ford State Park
Tims Ford State Park will be celebrate the history of the Elk River Valley on Saturday, October 8th, at its Heritage Day Celebration. Learn more about the families and communities that lived along the Elk River – which is now part of the Tims Ford Reservoir. This day-long event will include music by the Pickin’ n Grinnin’ crew, storytelling and exhibits. Hayrides rides will be held from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. For more information, please call 931.962.1183.
Tims Ford State Park, located on the Tims Ford Reservoir in the rolling hills of southern Middle Tennessee, is an outstanding recreational area and fishing paradise. Long before the construction of Tims Ford Dam on the headwaters of the Elk River, the area was used extensively by American Indians as a hunting and fishing territory.
Archaeological excavations uncovered numerous artifacts and occupational sites, indicating that man had occupied the area as much as 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. For more information about the park, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/TimsFord.
Hill Forest State Natural Area
Come enjoy an October Afternoon Hike through the Hill Forest State Natural Area on Friday, October 14th, at 2:00pm. This 2.5-mile hike is your opportunity to experience the natural area’s biggest and oldest forest trees – enjoying the fall color, while exploring one of our newest state natural areas.
The hike will take approximately three hours, so participants are encouraged to bring water, wear sturdy walking gear and dress for the weather. Reservations for the hike are required and can be made by calling the Warner Park Nature Center by October 12th at 615.352.6299 or by e-mailing . Meeting location information will be provided when reservations are made.
Hill Forest is a 225-acre natural area located in Davidson County approximately ten miles west of downtown Nashville. It is named for its previous owner, whose estate owned this forestland for nearly a century prior to its protection as a state natural area. It is a unique natural area in an urban setting. The understory of the forest is relatively open and pristine, supporting native shrubs and sub-canopy trees amidst the big trees. As an addition to the Warner Parks, it will continue to be a refuge for wildlife including an ecological island for neotropical migrant bird species.
The Hill Forest hike is part of a series of monthly, guided trips to Tennessee State Natural Areas offered by the department’s Resource Management Division and various community partners. Tennessee has 82 designated natural areas throughout the state, covering approximately 120,000 acres of ecologically significant lands. More information about Tennessee’s natural areas program, including a complete list of all natural areas, maps and scheduled field trips can be found at the Resource Management Division Web site at www.tn.gov/environment/na/natareas.
About Tennessee State Parks
Tennessee’s 53 state parks and 82 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.