Top Ten Campsites Near Nashville and Memphis

Most opportunities for Tennesseans to sleep in the outdoors are in the middle and western part of the state. In the west, rivers dominate and it is along these watercourses that many getaways lie. Land Between the Lakes is the result of damming the Tennessee River and covers over 125,000 acres of rolling country where fields and woods thrive in historic sites that were fought over in the Civil War. The 69-mile North-South Trail has areas open to hikers and bikers. Meeman-Shelby State Park lies on the banks of the Big Muddy, the Mississippi River. Here, towering old growth forests will make you forget that Memphis is just a short drive away. Big Hill Pond State Park lies on the edge of the Tuscumbia River and has a little-used quality campground and a backcountry path system that has been designated a National Recreation Trail.

The Western Highland Rim of Middle Tennessee makes for more vertically varied terrain. It gently drops away from the Cumberland Plateau, which is a rugged land cut by deep gorges, where some stone has resisted erosion and stands today offering far-reaching outlooks. Other stone has given way to time and the elements forming natural bridges, arches, and rock houses.

Hidden Passage at Pickett State Forest and Park is one natural rock phenomena. A trail, just part of the nearly 60 miles of paths here, bisects the rift created on nature's time. Savage Gulf is a rock creation where waterfalls are as numerous as sinks, which are places where rivers and creeks disappear into the ground. Big South Fork National River and Recreation covers in excess of 100,000 acres. The whitewater of the Big South Fork attracts paddlers of all skill levels and features many rock creations in addition to old pioneer homesteads. Sipsey Wilderness lies in Alabama but is a wild place just the same. Known mostly for its hiking, the wilderness also has the Sipsey River, which has achieved Wild and Scenic River status. So, it doesn't matter which division of the state of Tennessee, or even Alabama, it is plain to see that with a little effort and planning you can enjoy a night under the stars in these parts.


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