What to do in Big Ridge State Park

Big Ridge State Park was one of five demonstration parks developed by the Tennessee Valley Authority in cooperation with the National Park Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps as an example of public recreation development along TVA lakeshores. The heavily forested, 3,687-acre park lies on the southern shore of TVA's Norris Lake in Union County, Tennessee.

There are seven trails at Big Ridge State Park, totaling approximately 15 miles that wind through the park. The trails provide hikers with an opportunity to view wildlife, native flora, cemeteries, old homesite locations and much more.

Additional facilities include a visitor's center with nature exhibits, cabins, and a group camp. Other points of interest in the area are the Museum of Appalachia, the Chuck Swan Wildlife Management Area, the Norris Dam State Park and the Roy Acuff Museum.

Other notable features of the park include: the Norton Gristmill built in 1825, remnants of Sharp's Station Fort construction in the late 1700's, and Indian Rock where a plaque commemorates the death of Peter Graves, a settler of Sharp's Station who was attacked by Indians at this spot. Also, the park has several notable structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corp.

Big Ridge has 50 campsites on or near Norris Lake to accommodate RV's, trailers, and tent campers. RV campsites have a soft gravel pad will accommodate a unit up to 65 feet. Each site has water and 30-amp electrical hookups, picnic table and grill. A dumping station is provided, as well as two bathhouses with restrooms and hot shower facilities. Bathhouses are closed during the off season from November 1 to March 31.

Accommodating up to 120 people, the group camp has 18 screened-in bunkhouses, sleeping six to eight each. The group camp is open from April 1 through October 31 and reservations are required. The dining hall contains a commercial kitchen facility. The group camp includes two bathhouses with hot shower facilities. No linens are provided. No RVs or tents are allowed at the group camp. Overnight backcountry camping is allowed at three designated campsites. Backcountry camping is free, but a permit is required. Pets on a leash are allowed. Pack animals are prohibited.

The park also offers opportunities for picnicking, hiking, as well as a placid lake that offers fishing, boating, and a beach for swimming. Play areas are also available.

The park is located about 25 miles north of Knoxville, between the cities of Andersonville and Maynardville. From I-75 exit 122, take Hwy. 61 east for approximately 12 miles. The park entrance is on the left.

Tennessee has a temperate climate with short, mild winters. The average annual snowfall for the state is 12 inches. Spring comes in early March bringing flowering trees and shrubs, and warmer weather. Spring temperatures average between 45 and 70 degrees. Summer's full force arrives in the region by mid May, bringing warm weather and higher humidity. The mountains of eastern Tennessee are a great place to escape the hot summer temperatures as the higher elevation cools the air slightly. Cool fall temperatures bring crisp air and brilliant fall colors. Mid to late October is a good time to visit the region to experience the fall foliage.

1015 Big Ridge Road
Maynardville, TN 27807-1727

Phone: 865-992-5523

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