What to do in Rock Island State Park

The scenic beauty of this wooded park is dominated b the Great Falls of the Caney Fork River- an imposing limestone gorge (called a gulf in southern culture.) Located at the confluence of the Collins and Caney Fork Rivers, this 883-acre park has a natural sand beach on Center Hill reservoir.

Historic features of the park include a 19th century textile mill and one of Tennessee's early hydroelectric plants. Tours of nearby Big Bone Cave are available by advanced appointment.

Other points of interest are the Cumberland Caverns, Virgin Falls and Burgess Falls.

Activities include camping, hiking, boating, fishing, badminton, basketball, horseshoes, ping-pong, playground, softball, tennis courts, volleyball and board games. This park provides a scenic overlook, waterfalls and deep pool fishing, rock-hopping and exploring.

From Nashville: Take I-40 E to Exit 239, Lebanon/Watertown, and take a right on Hwy. 70 toward Watertown. Proceed for 33 miles until you reach the town of Smithville. Turn right on Hwy. 56 and proceed for 10 miles and take a left on Hwy. 287. Drive 10 miles on Hwy. 287 and the park entrance will be on the left.

From South Nashville or Chattanooga: Take I-24 South from Nashville or I-24 North from Chattanooga and exit at Hwy. 55 in Manchester, the McMinnville/Tullahoma exit. Proceed North on Hwy. 55 toward McMinnville. In McMinnville, Hwy. 55 will turn into the 70S bypass. Continue on the bypass through McMinnville and go 12 miles North of McMinnville and take a left on hwy. 136. Go about 1 mile and take a left on 287 in entrance which will be on the right.

From Knoxville: Take I-40 West to Cookeville and exit at Hwy. 111 in Cookeville. Proceed West on Hwy. 111 through Sparta. Just outside of Sparta take Hwy. 70S. Go approximately 12 miles on 70S and turn right on Hwy. 136. Go about 1 mile and take a left on 287 in Rock Island and proceed for about three miles to the park entrance which will be on the right.

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.

82 Beach Road
Rock Island, TN 38581-4200

Phone: 931-686-2471

  • Rock Island State Park Travel Q&A