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Parks & Natural Areas

Tennessee is a rich and varied place with mile-high mountains in the east, the grand Mississippi River in the west and 19,000 miles of sparkling rivers in between. Parks, forests, birding, hunting, camping and water, water everywhere--Tennessee has a mind-boggling array of natural resources.

Investigate the beauty and mystery of Reelfoot, a cypress-filled natural lake in Tennessee's northwest corner, created by a series of earthquakes, where dozens of species of fish and shore and wading birds are harbored, including golden and bald eagles. Grab your binoculars and explore the diversity of habitats, stretching 65 miles alongside the Tennessee River, on Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge which provide ample feeding, nesting and resting areas for 301 bird species. Get spritzed by the highest waterfall in the eastern United States, Fall Creek Falls, laced with cascades, gorges, streams, and lush stands of virgin hardwood timber. Stride a celebrated riverfront greenway, Chattanooga's Riverpark, and cross America's longest pedestrian bridge, the Walnut Street Bridge, spanning the Tennessee River as it flows south-southwest. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the largest national park in the east and America's most visited. A tour of the Smokies, by any means of locomotion, offers panoramic views, tumbling mountain streams, weathered historic buildings and uninterrupted forest stretching to the horizon.

Green Travel Vendor

Fort Defiance Interpretive Center
"Civil War fort. During the capture of Clarksville, the fort was burned and abandoned by Confederate forces. Earthenworks are all that ...more

City:  Clarksville, TN
Phone:  931-472-3351

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Fort Dickerson Park
"<p>Fort Dickerson was named for its first commander, U.S. Army Captain Jonathan C. Dickerson of the 112th Illinois Volunteer Mounted Infantry. A 30-year-old carpenter, he played a significant role in Knoxville during the siege of the city in 1863. The fort is one of 16 earthen forts and battery positions that protected the City of Knoxville during the Civil War. ...more

City:  Knoxville, TN
Phone:  865-525-7461

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Fort Donelson National Battlefield
"The site of the first decisive Union victory of the Civil War. A visitor center explains the importance of this pivotal battle. Open ...more

City:  Dover, TN
Phone:  931-232-5706

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Fort Donelson National Cemetery
"Established in 1867 for re-interment of Union soldiers who were originally buried where they fell after the battle of Fort Donelson in ...more

City:  Dover, TN
Phone:  931-232-5348

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Fort Granger
"13-ac. historical battlefield with boardwalk. Built in 1862 by Union troops during the Battle of Franklin. Various locations provide spectacular views of ...more

City:  Franklin, TN
Phone:  615-794-2103

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Fort Loudoun State Park
"Fort Loudoun State Park is the location of one of the earliest British fortifications on the western frontier, built in 1756. Nearby were the principal towns of the Cherokee Nation including Tenase, namesake of our state, and Tuskegee, birthplace of the genius Sequoyah, commemorated by the Cherokee Nation's Museum. Today the fort and the 1794 Tellico Blockhouse overlook TVA's Tellico ...more

City:  Vonore, TN
Phone:  423-884-6217

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Fort Marr Blockhouse
"A significant part of the Cherokee history, constructed around 1814, is the last visible remains of the camps where the Cherokee were confined prior to removal. Relocated in 1965 beside U.S. Hwy. 411 in Benton. Originally located 15 mi. south of the site where it now ...more

City:  Delano, TN
Phone:  423-263-0050

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Fort Nashborough
"On January 1, 1780, Nashville was founded when James Robertson led his group of pioneers across the frozen Cumberland River to a place called the Cedar Bluffs. It was here that these men built a fort called Nashborough, which would be shelter for the first families until Indian attacks ended in ...more

City:  Nashville, TN
Phone:  615-862-8400

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Fort Negley
"Fort Negley was built in 1862 to defend Nashville against Confederate Army attacks. Black laborers assisted the Union Army in building Fort Negley. The unique star designed Union fort from the Civil War, is located between Greer Stadium and the Cumberland Science Museum near downtown ...more

City:  Nashville, TN
Phone:  615-862-8470

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Fort Patrick Henry Dam & Lake
"Built by TVA primarily for hydropower, this 10-mile, 872- acre dam also regulates waterflow downstream for local industry. It was completed in 1953 and named for a nearby Revolutionary War fort constructed to defend settlers from Cherokee attacks. Today, the reservoir is a popular site for fishing, known for rainbow trout, bluegill, bass and crappie. Warrior's Path State Park is located on ...more

City:  Gray, TN
Phone:  (800) 882-5263

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Fort Southwest Point
"Fort Southwest Point, built in 1797, was a working fort with as many as 625 soldiers until being closed in 1811. After excavations by the Department of Conservation, the University of Tennessee and the City of Kingston, the fort is being reconstructed on its original foundation and includes a barracks, blockhouse and 250 feet of palisade walls. Living history re-enactors ...more

City:  Kingston, TN
Phone:  865-376-3641

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Fortress Rosecrans
"The Union Army constructed Fortress Rosecrans, a massive earthen fort, to serve as a supply depot following their victory at Stones ...more

City:  Murfreesboro, TN
Phone:  615-893-9501

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Frozen Head State Park and Natural Area
"Frozen Head is one of the highest peaks in Tennessee west of the Great Smoky Mountains. The park’s namesake comes from the mountain peaks that are often capped with snow and ice while the lower valleys remain unadorned. The area contains significant mature forest and rare plants, thus making it one of the least disturbed areas remaining within the Cumberland ...more

City:  Wartburg, TN
Phone:  (423) 346-3318

Green Travel Vendor

General Strahl's Cannon
"Made in 1820 and originally a main deck gun on the USS Independence during the Mexican War. Used by Confederates in land battles in Civil War. Now rests in old City Cemetery beside the grave of General Otho French Strahl, local Civil War ...more

City:  Dyersburg, TN
Phone:  731-285-3433

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Gibson County
"Davy Crockett--hunter, storyteller, and politician--stands out among the notable personalities of Gibson County. Although many Tennessee counties claim Crockett as a citizen, he was living in Gibson County when he announced his candidacy for his term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Peter Taylor, the author of several novels and short stories, is a native of Trenton. Historians Mary U. ...more

City:  Trenton, TN

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Andrew Johnson National Historic Site
Site marks the home of the 17th president, who succeeded Lincoln and oversaw Reconstruction. Contains a ...more

City:  Greeneville, TN
Phone:  423-638-3551

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Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers access to the Tennessee portion of the Appalachian Trail, or ...more

City:  Gatlinburg, TN
Phone:  (865) 436-1200

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Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
The Big South Fork of the Cumberland River passes through 90 miles of scenic gorges and valleys containin ...more

City:  Oneida, TN
Phone:  423-286-7275

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Cedars of Lebanon State Park
Cedars of Lebanon State Park is named for the dense cedar forest that existed in the biblical lands of Le ...more

City:  Lebanon, TN
Phone:  800-713-5180

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Cherokee National Forest
Tennessee's Cherokee National Forest stretches from Chattanooga to Bristol. The 640,000-acre Cherokee ...more

City:  Cleveland, TN
Phone:  (423) 476-9700

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Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge
Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge lies in the Lower Mississippi River floodplain along the Chickasaw Blu ...more

City:  Ripley, TN
Phone:  (731) 635-7621

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Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge
Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge is located four miles east of Dover, in Stewart County, Tennessee, ...more

City:  Dover, TN
Phone:  931-232-7477

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Fort Donelson National Battlefield
The site of the first decisive Union victory of the Civil War. A visitor center explains the importance o ...more

City:  Dover, TN
Phone:  931-232-5706

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Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge
This refuge along the Hatchie River puts wildlife first. A drive around O'Neal Lake features wetland hab ...more

City:  Stanton, TN
Phone:  731-772-0501

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Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge
Wildlife viewing and nature walks available. Hiwassee Refuge is closed from Nov. 1-Feb. 28, except at des ...more

City:  Birchwood, TN
Phone:  800-262-6704

Green Travel Vendor

Kyker Bottoms Refuge
Kyker Bottoms Refuge is a 350-acre area in southern Blount County owned and managed by the Tennessee Wild ...more

City:  Maryville, TN
Phone:  865-856-8691

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Lake Isom National Wildlife Refuge
Lake Isom National Wildlife Refuge was established as an inviolate sanctuary for wintering waterfowl in 1 ...more

City:  Union City, TN
Phone:  731-538-2481

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Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area
Nestled between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. Native wildlife abounds as well as a maintained herd of e ...more

City:  Golden Pond, TN
Phone:  800-525-7077

Green Travel Vendor

Laurel-Snow Pocket Wilderness and Buzzard Point
Natural wilderness area with waterfalls, forests, unique rock formations, deep gorges and trails for hiki ...more

City:  Dayton, TN
Phone:  423-566-2229

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Lower Hatchie Wildlife Refuge
Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) sits along the lower 17 miles of the Hatchie River in wester ...more

City:  Henning, TN
Phone:  731-738-2296

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Lucius Burch Natural Area
The natural area is a remnant of historic river meanders, bald cypress-water tupelo swamps, bottomland ha ...more

City:  Ellendale, TN
Phone:  901-382-0235

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Manus Road Cedar Glade
Manus Road is a 15-acre natural area in Rutherford County about 10 miles east of Murfreesboro. It support ...more

City:  Rutherford County, TN

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May Prairie
May Prairie boasts one of Tennessee's most diverse plant communities, with more than 300 species, 25 of ...more

City:  Manchester, TN

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Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
Bordering on the mighty Mississippi River, two-thirds of this 13,467-acre park are bottomland hardwood fo ...more

City:  Millington, TN
Phone:  800-471-5293

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Natchez Trace Parkway
The 444-mile Parkway commemorates the "Old" Natchez Trace, beginning as an animal path and progressing ...more

City:  Pasquo, TN
Phone:  800-305-7417

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Obed Wild & Scenic River
Recreation includes whitewater kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, fishing and picnicking. A sceni ...more

City:  Wartburg, TN
Phone:  423-346-6294

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Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail follows the Revolutionary War route of Patriot militia m ...more

Phone:  864-936-3477

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Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge
Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1941 to manage the northern third of Reelfoot Lake a ...more

City:  Union City, TN
Phone:  731-538-2481

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Savage Gulf State Natural Area
Savage Gulf, a 15,590-acre natural area, is carved into the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau in Gru ...more

City:  Palmer, TN
Phone:  931-779-3532

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Sequatchie Cave State Natural Area
Sequatchie Cave is a 10-acre, biologically significant, natural area where Owen Spring Branch flows from ...more

City:  Jasper, TN
Phone:  423-942-2552

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Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge
Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife sanctuary with recreational use by the general public. The 31 ...more

City:  Knoxville, TN
Phone:  865-525-9400

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Shiloh National Military Park
Established in 1894 to preserve the scene of the first major battle in the Western theater of the Civil W ...more

City:  Shiloh, TN
Phone:  731-689-5696

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Short Springs Natural Area
Beautiful, peaceful nature preserve with wildlife and walking trails located on the edge of the city. ...more

City:  Tullahoma, TN
Phone:  931-455-5497

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Stillhouse Hollow Falls State Natural Area
Stillhouse Hollow Falls is a 90-acre state natural area named for its most significant feature, 75-feet S ...more

City:  Summertown, TN

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Stinging Fork Pocket Wilderness
Natural wilderness area with forests, unique rock formations, deep gorges and trails for hiking. ...more

City:  Spring City, TN
Phone:  423-566-2229

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Stones River National Battlefield
The Battle of Stones River was one of the bloodiest and most significant battles of the Civil War. ...more

City:  Murfreesboro, TN
Phone:  615-893-9501

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Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge
Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge has more than 50,000 acres on Kentucky Lake in Northwest Tennessee and ...more

City:  Paris, TN
Phone:  731-642-2091

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Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge
Nature walks, lakeside areas, open horseback riding, hunting, boat ramps, migratory bird sanctuary, eagle ...more

City:  Camden, TN
Phone:  800-225-7469

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The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area
Partners with organizations and individuals across the state to tell the whole story of America's greate ...more

City:  Murfreesboro, TN
Phone:  615-898-2947

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Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the removal of the Cherokee and the paths that 17 ...more

City:  Multi-city, TN
Phone:  (505) 988-6888

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Twin Arches State Natural Area
Twin Arches state natural area is approximately 1,500 acres located in parts of Fentress, Scott, and Pick ...more

City:  Oneida, TN
Phone:  865-569-9778

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Virgin Falls Pocket Wilderness Area
Trail features a 317-acre natural area, 110-foot falls, two lesser falls and cave, eight mile round trip, ...more

City:  Sparta, TN
Phone:  931-836-3552

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Walker Branch Natural Area
Walker Branch is a 225-acre natural area located just miles south of Savannah in Hardin County. The prope ...more

City:  Pittsburg Landing, TN

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Walls of Jericho
The Walls of Jericho is a 750-acre natural area that is within the 8,943-acre Bear Hollow Mountain Wildli ...more

City:  Pitcher Ridge, TN
Phone:  (615) 532-0431

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Walterhill Floodplain
Walterhill Floodplain State Natural Area is a 34-acre natural area located in Rutherford County. It is un ...more

City:  Walterhill, TN
Phone:  615-898-2523

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Washmorgan Hollow
Washmorgan Hollow, a sheltered ravine on the Eastern Highland Rim in Jackson County, is an excellent habi ...more

City:  Gainesboro, TN
Phone:  (615) 383-9909

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Watauga River
Watauga River Bluffs is a 50-acre natural area located in Carter County along the Watauga River. Its most ...more

City:  Johnson City, TN
Phone:  (800) 238-2264

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William B. Clark Conservation Area
William B. Clark Conservation Area is a 460-acre natural area along the Wolf River in Fayette County loca ...more

City:  Rossville, TN
Phone:  731-512-1369

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William R. Davenport Refuge
William Davenport Refuge is 120-acre natural area located in Polk County. It was named after the previous ...more

City:  Ducktown, TN
Phone:  931-484-9571

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Sunk Lake
Sunk Lake supports excellent examples of bald cypress swamp, bottomland hardwood forest, and emergent marsh aquatic habitat. The diversity of wetland and upland communities offer a wide range of habitat for waterfowl and other birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and rare plant species ...more

City:  Lauderdale, TN

Green Travel Vendor

French Broad River & Blueway
"One of only two rivers that flows north, it’s also the world’s third-oldest river, behind the Nile and New Rivers. The French Broad flows for 210 miles through Asheville, North Carolina, into Tennessee, then into the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. In Cocke County, Tennessee, the French Broad River receives the waters of both the Pigeon River and the Nolichucky ...more

Phone:  (828) 252-8474

Green Travel Vendor

Frozen Head State Park and Natural Area
"Frozen Head is one of the highest peaks in Tennessee west of the Great Smoky Mountains. The park’s namesake comes from the mountain peaks that are often capped with snow and ice while the lower valleys remain unadorned. The area contains significant mature forest and rare plants, thus making it one of the least disturbed areas remaining within the Cumberland ...more

City:  Wartburg, TN
Phone:  (423) 346-3318

Green Travel Vendor

Gentry's Creek Falls
"The falls are not for the faint-of-heart, but a real challenge to the seasoned hiker. Gentry's Falls was named after Joseph Gentry. Joseph sold his iron works in Roan Creek around 1796 to Nathaniel Taylor. He then moved to Laurel Bloomery near Rogers Creek. Joseph pioneered 800 acres of land. The area had a creek flowing through it. This creek ...more

City:  Laurel Bloomery, TN
Phone:  423-727-5800

Green Travel Vendor

Grassy Island Auto Tour
"Just a short drive from the Reelfoot Lake State Park museum and welcome center, take this 3-mile trip on Walnut Log Road along the upper Blue Basin of Reelfoot Lake. The tour ends with a gorgeous overlook of the lake seen from an observation tower. From Walnut Log Road, you can access a short loop boardwalk and trail into the ...more

City:  Union City, TN
Phone:  731-538-2481

Green Travel Vendor

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
"Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker's paradise with over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short leg-stretchers to strenuous treks that may require backcountry camping. But hiking is not the only reason for visiting the Smokies. Car camping, fishing, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and auto touring are popular activities. From the big animals like bears, deer, and elk, ...more

City:  Gatlinburg, TN
Phone:  865-436-1200

Green Travel Vendor

Harpeth River Blueway
"As a joint endeavor between the Harpeth River Watershed Association (HRWA) and the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association (TSRA), the vision of the Project is to promote recreational opportunities, safety and the preservation of natural and cultural features along the Harpeth River through the provision of canoe/kayak access sites and accompanying signage. The Harpeth River, 125 miles long with over 1000 miles ...more

City:  Franklin, TN
Phone:  (615) 790-9767

Green Travel Vendor

Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge
"This refuge along the Hatchie River puts wildlife first. A drive around O'Neal Lake features wetland habitats and native ...more

City:  Stanton, TN
Phone:  731-772-0501

Green Travel Vendor

Highland Rim
"To the west of the Appalachian Plateau lies the Highland Rim, an elevated plain with steep slopes, surrounding the Central Basin, or Nashville Basin. The Nashville Basin is characterized by rich, fertile farm country. With the exception of a few broad stream bottoms, the land is characterized by ridges and valleys with a few fairly low hills. The entire region is ...more

City:  Springfield, TN

Green Travel Vendor

Hillcrest Safari Tours
"Antebellum home, exotic animal tours, camels, zebras, antelopes, buffalo and much more. Tours with campfire ...more

City:  Alamo, TN
Phone:  901-734-6005

Green Travel Vendor

Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge
"Wildlife viewing and nature walks available. Hiwassee Refuge is closed from Nov. 1-Feb. 28, except at designated viewing areas. Birchwood, Tennessee, in Meigs County is the home of the Hiwassee Refuge, a favorite stop each fall and late winter for over 50,000 migrating sandhill cranes. These birds make the Hiwassee Refuge their stop from nesting grounds in the north to ...more

City:  Birchwood, TN
Phone:  800-262-6704

Green Travel Vendor

Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park
"The Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park is a 23-mile stretch of river, the first such to be designated by the State Scenic River Program. This stretch of river offers canoeing, rafting, fishing, hiking and nature photography. A scenic portion of the John Muir trail winds through the river gorge. Numerous public access sites provide boat-launching ramps. At the Gee Creek ...more

City:  Delano, TN
Phone:  423-263-0050

Green Travel Vendor

Hurricane Marina, LLC
"Discover Center Hill Lake's premier destination, Hurricane Marina. We have turned Center Hill Lake's oldest marina into a state-of-the-art facility just 3 miles south of interstate 40 in one of the lakes only natural harbors. From our 24-hour fuel stations that accept all major credit cards to the new Blue Water Grille restaurant, every inch of our marina was designed with ...more

City:  Silver Point, TN
Phone:  (931) 858-2221

Green Travel Vendor

Ijams Nature Center
"The nature center includes woodlands, hiking and biking trails, a boardwalk on the Tennessee River, and the Meads Quarry and Ross Marble Quarry sites. Ijams offers free admission to its ...more

City:  Knoxville, TN
Phone:  865-577-4717

Green Travel Vendor

Jackson Falls
"Jackson Falls, named after Andrew Jackson, is a historic rest stop on Natchez Trace near Shady Grove featuring large springs and ...more

City:  Shady Grove, TN
Phone:  931-729-5774

Green Travel Vendor

Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park
"Conceived as a long-distance hiking trail, the 300-mile Cumberland Trail, the only linear park in the state, from the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park on the Tennessee-Virginia-Kentucky border to the Signal Point near Chattanooga. The trail now is a resource for many types of recreational activities. Hikers, backpackers and explorers are still the heart of the trail groups, rock climbers, ...more

City:  Caryville, TN
Phone:  (423) 566-2229

Upcoming events

Date: Oct 29, 2014 - Oct 31, 2014
Pumpkin Lights and Carving Contest
Location: Cumberland Gap, TN

Date: Oct 29, 2014 - Oct 31, 2014
Pumpkin Lights and Carving Contest
Location: Cumberland Gap, TN

Date: Sep 26, 2014 - Nov 1, 2014
Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern
Location: Chattanooga, TN

See more October events »

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