Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

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240 mi 386 km

Runs

188 mi 302 km

Trails

98

Photos

Easy Trails
51 Trails
Intermediate Trails
23 Trails
Hard Trails
1 Trails

Boasting miles of scenic sandstone bluffs and river gorges, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area protects the natural beauty of the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries. Covering 125,000 rugged acres of the Cumberland Plateau and spanning the states of Kentucky and Tennesee, the park is rich with history and nature, and the land has been developed to provide visitors with a multitude of recreational opportunities. Enjoy the views of pristine streams and impressive chimneys, arches, and cliffs that have been carved from the sandstone of the plateau.

To learn more about Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, visit www.nps.gov.

Information

Visitor Centers:
Visitor center hours vary by season. Note that the park spans two time zones. To see current operating hours, visit the park's website.
  • Headquarters Building: Open 8 am to 4:30 pm ET, Monday through Friday.
  • Bandy Creek Visitor Center: Open 8 am to 6 pm ET, Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. Open 9 am to 5 pm ET during the winter. Closed on Christmas.
  • Crossville Visitor Center: Open 9 am to 5 pm CT, weekends.
  • Rugby Visitor Contact Station: Open 9 am to 5 pm ET, weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend.
  • Helenwood Visitor Center: Open 9 am to 5 pm ET, weekends.
  • Blue Heron Interpretive Center: Open daily from 9:30 to 3:30 ET, April 1 through October 1.
  • Stearns Visitor Contact Station: Open 9 am to 5 pm ET, weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend.

Fees & Passes
There is no entrance fee to Big South Fork NRRA. However, there are several types of user fees. To learn more about these additional fees, visit the park's website.

Visiting Tips

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Some facilities are closed or have reduced hours during the winter.

Camping and Lodging

Camping:
Big South Fork contains five developed campgrounds, including two equestrian camps. The various campgrounds offer a range of amenities and more information can be found here.

  • Bandy Creek Campground (TN): $22 per night for hook up sites, 96 sites. $19 per night for non-hook up sites, 49 sites. $100 per night for group sites, 2 sites. Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
  • Blue Heron Campground (KY): $17 per night per site, 45 sites. Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
  • Bear Creek Horse Camp (KY): $28 per night per site, 23 sites. Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
  • Alum Ford Campground (KY): $5 per night per site, 6 sites. Sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Station Camp Horse Camp (TN): $22-$26 per night per site, 24 sites. Reservations can be made online or by calling (931) 319-6893.

Lodging:
Charit Creek Lodge is located in the Station Camp Creek drainage and offers a full range of amenities including cabin and dormitory rentals, meals, restrooms and showers. Access to the lodge is by foot, bike, or horse only. For more information or to make reservations, visit Charit Creek Lodge's website or call (865) 696-5611.

Maps and Guidebooks

To download a variety of free brochures to help plan your visit, click here.

Food and Drink

There are no restaurants located within the park, but there are a variety of dining options located in the nearby towns. For more information on dining options in the Big South Fork region, click here.

After the Run: Local Favorites

SONIC Drive In Cherry Limeades from here are the best!
19536 Alberta St, Oneida TN — (423) 569-9338
Dairy Bar Always good food!:)
198 Main St, Whitley City KY — (606) 376-2124
Guthrie's River House Guthrie's has the best appetizer in town!...Warm Spinach Dip!
Speedy Tacos You gotta try the Torta Cubana. IT'S LEGIT!!!
Partners Pizza The pizza of course!!!!
Rickard Ridge BBQ Excellent BBQ, highly recommended!
131 Goose Ln, Caryville TN — (423) 907-8202
Waffle House Great service!

Other Activities

The recreational opportunities in Big South Fork are seemingly endless, and visitors can choose from a long list of ways to explore the park and the surrounding areas. From hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and kyaking, there are many ways to explore all that the park has to offer. Be sure to check out the amazing mountain biking and rock climbing in the area. If you are looking for further recreational opportunities nearby, the Obed Wild and Scenic River, Dale Hollow Lake, Historic Rugby, and a variety of local state parks offer visitors additional opportunities to explore this great area. Visit Big South Fork's website for more information.
Festival Camping Basics: May 31 - Knoxville REI
Headed to Bonnaroo and looking to have the best camp set-up for the weekend? This class is for festival goers or those interested in setting up the ultimate Car Camping site! Details
Women's Rock Climbing Workshop: Jun 2 - Cumberland Mountain State Park Recreation Lodge
Join TN State Parks to learn outdoor climbing basics in a hands-on, outdoor environment! This multi-day women's event features climbing, camping, and lots of opportunity to learn. Details
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Featured Runs
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Featured Runs in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area - 14

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Trails in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area - 62

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4.1 mi 6.6 km
#1 Honey Creek Loop
Huntsville, TN
4.1 mi 6.6 km Huntsville, TN
All Clear
Update
Mostly Dry
37 days ago
Oneida, TN
3.9 mi 6.2 km Oneida, TN
All Clear
Update
50 days ago
2.2 mi 3.5 km
#3 Topside Loop Trail
Whitley City, KY
2.2 mi 3.5 km Whitley City, KY
All Clear
Update
Dry: There was one down tree heading down to the falls after crossing the Yahoo creek.
74 days ago
Huntsville, TN
2.0 mi 3.3 km Huntsville, TN
Unknown
Update
Huntsville, TN
1.0 mi 1.5 km Huntsville, TN
Unknown
Update
Whitley City, KY
0.4 mi 0.7 km Whitley City, KY
All Clear
Update
Dry: There was one down tree heading down to the falls after crossing the Yahoo creek.
74 days ago
2.2 mi 3.5 km
#7 JMT: Honey Creek
Huntsville, TN
2.2 mi 3.5 km Huntsville, TN
Unknown
Update
Oneida, TN
2.9 mi 4.7 km Oneida, TN
Unknown
Update
6.6 mi 10.6 km
#9 Grand Gap Loop Trail
Oneida, TN
6.6 mi 10.6 km Oneida, TN
Unknown
Update
Huntsville, TN
4.1 mi 6.7 km Huntsville, TN
Unknown
Update
Oneida, TN
4.4 mi 7.1 km Oneida, TN
Unknown
Update
0.9 mi 1.5 km
#12 Twin Arches Trail
Oneida, TN
0.9 mi 1.5 km Oneida, TN
Unknown
Update
Stearns, KY
6.4 mi 10.3 km Stearns, KY
Unknown
Update
Jamestown, TN
3.4 mi 5.5 km Jamestown, TN
Unknown
Update
Oneida, TN
14.4 mi 23.1 km Oneida, TN
Unknown
Update
Huntsville, TN
2.2 mi 3.6 km Huntsville, TN
Unknown
Update
Oneida, TN
2.0 mi 3.2 km Oneida, TN
All Clear
Update
Muddy
17 days ago
Pine Knot, KY
0.5 mi 0.7 km Pine Knot, KY
Unknown
Update
Oneida, TN
0.8 mi 1.3 km Oneida, TN
Unknown
Update
2.0 mi 3.2 km
#20 Fall Branch Trail
Oneida, TN
2.0 mi 3.2 km Oneida, TN
Minor Issues
Update
Fallen Trees
63 days ago

Photos of Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area - 98

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