Tennessee is a state known for its miraculous natural beauty and beautiful national parks, for its forested mountains and deep-set caves. Ol’ Rocky Top sits in the heart of the south but on top of some of the most stunning land in North America. Still, it’s shocking how often how often dreamy natural pockets are lost and forgotten. We’ve featured 10 of our favorite lesser-known state parks, and we’re sure you’ll find a new favorite hiking spot.
10. Big Cypress Tree State Park
Big Cypress Tree State Park is located in Weakley County, and was named after one of the oldest cypress trees east of the Mississippi. After 1,350 years, in 1976, the penultimate cypress was hit by lightning, but even its death couldn't suppress the local appreciation of the area. Perfect for hiking and picnicking, this Greenfield, Tennessee park is one of the most under-appreciated in the state.
9. Pinson Mounds Archaeological Park
Visit Pinson, Tennessee to experience a prehistoric Native American complex that will catapult you back in time. Pinson Mounds is a national historic landmark, and the Madison County state park is a must-visit for history nerds.
8. Long Hunter State Park
Located along the edge of Percy Priest lake, Long Hunter State Park is one of the best spots to hike, fish and boat in the greater Nashville area. The state park straddles Davidson and Rutherford counties, making it easy to visit and hard to leave.
7. Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area
Sycamore Shoals can be found in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and offers an unedited look at the state's natural underbelly. The 70-acre space welcomes humans and canines alike, with fabulous year-round hiking trails.
6. Dunbar Cave State Park
Located in Clarksville, Tennessee, this gorgeous state park is one of the Nashville-area's greatest kept secrets. Home to one of the largest cave complexes in the world, the 110-acre park is open year-round and welcomes animals on a leash.
5. Cove Lake State Park
This Campbell County gem has 673 acres of land that surround Cove Lake, a waterway completed in 1936 after the implementation of the Caryville Dam. Check out Richard's BBQ restaurant right on the water, and enjoy hiking and camping through the park.
4. Big Hill Pond State Park
There are over 5,000 acres of land comprised of Big Hill Pond State Park stretch across McNairy County. Located in Pocahontas, Tennessee, the forested area boasts streaks of waterways and great hiking areas for one and all.
3. Seven Islands State Birding Park
Knox County has one of the prettiest spots in the state for birding enthusiasts. The entire park was designed around birdwatching, and sits alongside the French Broad River.
2. Panther Creek State Park
Panther Creek State Park is massive, with over seventeen hiking trails and seven miles of riding trails stretching across its water-infused acreage. Located in Morristown, Tennessee, you can hike and fish year-round.
1. David Crockett State Park
David Crockett State Park makes its home in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, located right on the shores of Shoal Creek. The park honors the famed Davey Crockett, born and raised in Tennessee. There are local restaurants that offer up delicious eats and hiking trails perfect for all ages.