Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory
Visiting Tennessee on Your Next Road Trip
From the Mighty Mississippi River and the Delta in the west to the towering east Tennessee mountains, the versatile, “Volunteer State” offers visitors phenomenal outdoor adventures.
In the northwestern corner of Tennessee, near Tiptonville, you’ll find Reelfoot Lake State Park. With topography created by a series of earthquakes during the early 1800s, today’s Reelfoot Lake is one of America’s foremost hunting and fishing preserves. Birdwatchers at Reelfoot see American bald or golden eagles as well as an abundance of shorebirds. There’s even a video display in the visitor’s center featuring live footage of nesting birds in the park’s captive eagle habitat. The 25,000-acre Reelfoot Lake is actually a flooded cypress forest, navigable by canoe or jon boat, yielding seasonal catches of crappie, bream, bluegill, bass or catfish. There are other opportunities to get in touch with the park’s nautical side, as park naturalists direct daily pontoon boat tours, as well as sunset and full moon cruises. Reelfoot also features a canoe trail, an auto tour highlighting the many points of interest and three hiking trails spanning forest, lake, and bayou.
In the middle of Tennessee, on the northern border near Dover, is Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, a 170,000-acre tract that straddles both Tennessee and Kentucky. At this preserve between Lakes Barkley and Kentucky, hikers, bikers and horseback riders pass through hillsides, meadows and lakefront getaways on 200 miles of developed trails, abandoned logging paths and scenic backwoods roads. An abundance of large and small lakes and ponds, boat ramps and pier make the area a top spot for bass, crappie, catfish and bluegill fishing. Visitors can observe resident wildlife at Woodlands Nature Station or see free-roaming elk and buffalo at a unique habitat restoration project on the Elk and Bison Prairie and Range.
Want to see the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains? Fall Creek Falls State Resort Park, located between Spencer and Pikeville, has it. The waterfall of the same name is 256 feet tall, compared with Niagara Falls’ 167-foot height, on the American side.
What Fall Creek Falls State Resort Park also has are other imposing cascades; forests of oak, hickory, poplar and hemlock; and scenic gorges decorated with rhododendron and mountain laurel. There are canoes and pedal boats to rent for an excursion across the lake. Otherwise, hikers, cyclists and mountain bikers do just fine on their own, enjoying views of the woods, waterfalls, rippling streams and grand gorges from a nice variety of day-use trails.
Eastern Tennessee, land of the Great Smokies and Cumberland Gap, offers tourists more than 80 miles of spectacular waterways at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area on the Cumberland River in Oneida. Whitewater adventures for canoeists, kayakers and rafters are the main attraction here, with experienced paddlers finding that the challenges of Big South Fork’s waters are on par with the biggest and best rapids in the eastern states. Besides the exhilaration of whitewater and superb river gorge and valley views, Big South Fork offers horseback riders more than 150 miles of designated trails. An equally extensive network of white-blazed paths was created for hikers.
Another eastern wonder is Frozen Head State Natural Area near Wartburg. Located in the Cumberland Mountains, Frozen Head is named for its highest summit, a peak that’s frequently frosted with ice or snow during winter months. An observation tower there offers a sweeping view of the Great Smokies, Cumberland Plateau and Tennessee Valley. Known as a fine wildflower locale, Frozen Head also has its fair share of tumbling waterfalls. The striking sandstone formations, 14 scenic mountain crests and stocked streams also shouldn’t be overlooked. There’s even a path suitable for equestrians and more than 50 miles of color-blazed trails for hikers.
Cherokee National Forest in Cleveland stretches across more than 600,000 acres in 10 Tennessee counties. Divided in two by Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee is tops for self-guided automobile tours winding past mountain rivers, gorges, bluffs, valleys, forests, canyons and amazing waterfalls. Your RV will thank you. Canoeing, kayaking, rafting and floating are popular pastimes in Cherokee’s five whitewater rivers. Those who prefer to see forest sights on foot can set out on 540 miles of hiking trails, including 150 miles of the legendary Appalachian Trail. There are also designated trails for horseback riding and mountain biking where passersby have a chance to see all kinds of wildlife, from salamanders, chipmunks and chickadees to black bears and wild boars.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg occupies 500,000 forested acres in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. America’s most visited national park hosts nine million guests per year, meaning the peak summer months probably aren’t the best time to visit. This Appalachian sanctuary delivers a wild and wonderful landscape of waterfalls, forests, mountain peaks, quiet coves, trout streams and vibrant wildflowers. Great Smoky is crisscrossed with nature trails where hikers and bikers catch glimpses of bobcats, snapping turtles, woodchucks and river otters. Swimming, tubing, fishing and nature photography are other favorite activities at this amazing park.
Article Courtesy of Woodall's Campground Directory where you can find Tennessee campgrounds and Tennessee RV camping resorts at the turn of a page. Browse