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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

Iron Furnace & Civil War Fortifications
"Part of the National Park Service’s property in Cumberland Gap, this remaining furnace documents the local industry at the time of the Civil War. Due to the Gap’s strategic location, both sides built extant fortifications during the ...more

City:  Cumberland Gap, TN
Phone:  606-248-2817

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Iron Furnaces
"Remnants of Dickson County’s once flourishing iron industry can be viewed at this state park.  African-American slaves worked the furnaces, which were directed toward the Confederate military effort early in the war. ...more

City:  Burns, TN
Phone:  800-250-8613

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J. Travis Price Park / Springfield Greenway Trailhead
"Visit this well-kept city park’s picnic shelters and historic log cabin, then hop on the Springfield Greenway. The 3- mile, paved path is an opportunity to slow down and take in the natural beauty of the ...more

City:  Springfield, TN
Phone:  615-382-1655

Green Travel Vendor

James K. Polk Ancestral Home
"Built in 1816, the only surviving home of the eleventh U.S. President (other than the White House) now displays original belongings of President and Mrs. Polk. It was here that James K. Polk began his legal and political career, living in this house until he was inaugurated 11th president of the United States in 1845. He was the first “dark horse” ...more

City:  Columbia, TN
Phone:  931-388-2354

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Jonesborough-Washington County and Chester Inn Museums
"The museum tells the history of Tennessee's oldest town and county, from the movement towards statehood to the 20th ...more

City:  Jonesborough, TN
Phone:  866-401-4223

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

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Knoxville Civil War Driving Tour
"The driving tour highlights the divided loyalties among East Tennesseans. It includes stops at historical museums and homes, battle sites and ...more

City:  Knoxville, TN
Phone:  800-727-8045

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Knoxville Driving Tour, the Siege of Knoxville & Battle of Fort Sanders
"Tour features sites relating to the Nov. 1863, attempt by Confederate General James Longstreet to capture Knoxville and the army of Union General Ambrose E. Burnside.  Some of the sites include: Longstreet’s headquarters, Fort Dickerson, cemeteries, hospitals, site of mortal wounding of Union General William P. Sanders, and the site of the unsuccessful Confederate attack on Fort Sanders.  Brochures by ...more

City:  Knoxville, TN
Phone:  (800) 727-8045

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Knoxville National Cemetery
"<p>Union dead from the siege are buried in the Knoxville National ...more

City:  Knoxville, TN
Phone:  800-727-8045

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Lauderdale County Museum
"The Lauderdale County Museum is housed in the historic Sugar Hill Mansion which was built in 1842. The museum showcases items highlighting the history of Lauderdale County. The building also houses the Lauderdale County Chamber of ...more

City:  Ripley, TN
Phone:  731-635-9541

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Lawrenceburg Cemetery
"The first city cemetery where George Henry Nixon, who was most notably a Confederate colonel commanding two regiments as well as Chancellor, is buried. Other notables there, including Capt. Thomas D. Deavenport, a sometime member of the General Assembly, are buried ...more

City:  Lawrenceburg, TN
Phone:  931-762-6282

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Lebanon Museum & History Center
"Take a walk through Lebanon's history. See displays from prehistoric times through modern day. The Museum is free to the public. It is located in the lower level of the City ...more

City:  Lebanon, TN
Phone:  615-443-2839

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LeConte Lodge
"Located in the middle of the half-million acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park, LeConte Lodge is the only place where a visitor can sleep overnight on a mountaintop in a snug, permanent structure with hot and hearty meals on tap. The Lodge has a capacity of sixty guests per night. Seven rough-hewn cabins or 3 group sleeping lodges are also ...more

City:  Sevierville, TN
Phone:  865-429-5704

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Liberty: The Saga of Sycamore Shoals
"Liberty; The Saga of Sycamore Shoals - The Official Outdoor Drama of the State of Tennessee. This is a two-act outdoor drama at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area depicting the settlement of Northeast Tennessee in the 18th century. Here, historic events of national significance took place during this era. These amazing stories are told during Liberty! Please join us as ...more

City:  Elizabethton, TN
Phone:  (423) 543-5808

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Living History Museum
"The Living History Museum has a complete farm setting showing how the tobacco farmer lived in the 1930s. Shown by ...more

City:  Hartsville, TN
Phone:  615-374-9243

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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

Green Travel Vendor

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

Green Travel Vendor

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

Green Travel Vendor

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

Green Travel Vendor

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

Green Travel Vendor

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

Green Travel Vendor

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

Green Travel Vendor

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

Green Travel Vendor

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

Green Travel Vendor

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

Pin Oak Lodge at Natchez Trace State Park
"With the many acres of scenic woodlands, the park includes four lakes, a swimming beach, a 47 room resort inn and restaurant complex, cabins, group lodge, camping areas, picnicking sites, playgrounds, a ball field, a regulation pistol firing range, picturesque hiking trails, a wrangler camp, 250 miles of horse riding trails, a park store and archery range. Located at I-40, ...more

City:  Wildersville, TN
Phone:  800-250-8616

Green Travel Vendor

Piney Falls State Natural Area
"Especially significant for its old growth forest, Piney Falls covers a 440-acre natural area located in Rhea County. This pristine forestland features creeks, deep gorges and waterfalls, and is recognized by the United States Department of Interior as a National Natural Landmark. Hiking trails and parking are provided; access is for foot traffic only. From the parking area, the ...more

City:  Grandview, TN
Phone:  615-532-0431

Green Travel Vendor

Radnor Lake State Park
"Radnor Lake State Park provides scenic, biological, geological and recreational opportunities not found in other metropolitan areas of Nashville's size. L&N Railroad Company impounded Radnor Lake in 1914 to provide water for its steam engines, and intended to use the area as a hunting preserve for company executives. Migrating birds soon found the lake and began wintering there. In 1923, ...more

City:  Nashville, TN
Phone:  615-373-3467

Green Travel Vendor

Rainforest Adventures
"Tropical Discovery Zoo. This all-indoor attraction features many of the animals featured on shows such as The Animal Planet, and the Discovery ...more

City:  Sevierville, TN
Phone:  865-428-4091

Green Travel Vendor

Reelfoot Lake
"When you look across Reelfoot Lake, imagine that this entire countryside was once a dense cypress woodland, pierced only by Native American trails and crudely constructed roads. The history of Reelfoot Lake is a dramatic one. In the winter of 1811-1812, the 150-mile long New Madrid fault line produced a series of four earthquakes so powerful that the Mississippi River ...more

City:  Tiptonville, TN
Phone:  (731) 253-2007

Green Travel Vendor

Reelfoot Lake State Park
"The lake's scenery continues to draw visitors for pontoon and canoe trips into the remote areas to see wildlife, including bald eagles and other water fowl. Reelfoot was the site of the last active bald eagle nest in Tennessee in 1961. Presently, there are approximately 25 active bald eagle nests in the Reelfoot ...more

City:  Tiptonville, TN
Phone:  731-253-8003

Green Travel Vendor

Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge
"Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1941 to manage the northern third of Reelfoot Lake as a refuge for migratory birds. Additional lands acquired in Southwestern Kentucky expanded the refuge to it s current 10,428 acres. The proximity of Reelfoot Lake and the refuge to the Mississippi river has always made the area a major stopover and wintering ground ...more

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

Green Travel Vendor

Reelfoot Scenic Boat Cruises
"A tradition at Reelfoot Lake--since 1961--cruise boats piloted by experienced naturalists provide the best way to view and experience Reelfoot's most interesting areas. Your cruise tours the islands, flooded timber and lily pads as state park naturalists offer insight and information about all aspects of the lake. Cruises provide a great opportunity to view birds, including Great Blue Herons and ...more

City:  Tiptonville, TN
Phone:  731-253-9652

Green Travel Vendor

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
"Marvel at 12 foot sharks, the giant sea tutrtle, thousands of exotic sea creatures and playful penguins swimming as you enjoy the State-of-the -Art clear underwater tunnels throughout. Explore the lush world of the Tropical Rainforest, the unique world of Ocean Realm, Nature's Kaleidoscope in Coral Reef, and the best shark exhibit in the most spectacular underwater tunnel in Shark ...more

City:  Gatlinburg, TN
Phone:  888-240-1358

Green Travel Vendor

River Gorge Explorer
"Welcome aboard the Tennessee Aquarium River Gorge Explorer! This 70 passenger high-speed catamaran is the first of its kind in the Southeast. Aquarium visitors can extend their "mountains to the sea" learning adventure by cruising into the Tennessee River Gorge aboard this sleek vessel. An Aquarium naturalist will lead you into this protected habitat, pointing out wildlife and historic points ...more

City:  Chattanooga, TN
Phone:  (800) 262-0695

Green Travel Vendor

River Place on the Clinch
"Lodging/recreation: Eco-tourism facility includes a market, cafe, cabins, canoe, and raft rentals and camping and a is convenient to the Kyles Ford Wildlife Management Area and the Clinch River Conservation Center. Location: East Tennessee in Kyles Ford. Our location is in the hub of the Kyles Ford Preserve and TWRA's Wildlife Management Area. Located along the Upper Clinch ...more

City:  Kyles Ford, TN
Phone:  (877) 483-7211

Green Travel Vendor

Riverbend Campground
"Located on the scenic Little Pigeon River, within city limits of Pigeon Forge. Nearby to local attractions, restaurants and ...more

City:  Pigeon Forge, TN
Phone:  865-453-1224

Green Travel Vendor

Roan Mountain State Park
"Daniel Boone was among the longhunters who traveled the Appalachian Mountains to hunt and trade. Legend says that he had to leave behind his ailing red horse on the peak of the mountain. When he returned the following spring, he found the horse alive and healthy. It is said that he named the spot Roan Mountain, in honor of his ...more

City:  Roan Mountain, TN
Phone:  423-772-0190

Green Travel Vendor

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
"A one-way road tour which parallels Roaring Fork Creek, a sight to behold. Be sure to roll down your windows so you can hear the water at full force. A waterfall on the Trail is known as "Place of a Thousand Drops." Cascades, rapids, and falls adorn the roadside. At the end of Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, you will ...more

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

Green Travel Vendor

Rock Island State Park
"While natural attractions draw visitors from across the country to Rock Island, the area also has a rich history dating to prehistoric time. World-record fish caught in the "Blue Hole" keep fishermen coming year after year, and its true depth remains a mystery, with sunken rock pillars indicating the possibility of a collapsed underwater cave. Four-time world freestyle kayaking champion Eric ...more

City:  Rock Island, TN
Phone:  800-713-6065

Upcoming events

Date: Oct 25, 2014
38th Annual Harvest Days
Location: Murfreesboro, TN

Date: Oct 25, 2014
Halloween Event
Location: Rock Island, TN

Date: Oct 25, 2014
Halloween Event
Location: Rock Island, TN

See more October events »

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