Visitors to Tennesse this summer will find plenty of fun among the state's 53 state parks and in this article I'll cover 10 of them.
1. Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is located at 600 James Robertson Parkway in Nashville, downtown on the northern side of the Tennessee State Capitol. Visitors to the site will find a 19-acre park designed to give a taste of the state's history and natural wonders as well as a lasting reminder of the state's bicentennial celebration. While there you can get a view of the entire mall from an overlook and learn about the state's 95 counties and what Tennessee has to offer. There is a "Wall of Counties" featuring time capsules from each of the counties as well as a "Walk of Tennessee's History" and a visitors center.
2. Outdoor lovers will enjoy the Big Cypress Tree State Natural Area in Greenfield, Tennessee of U.S. 45E where visitors will find the 330-acre park featuring a picnic shelter.
3. Near Pocahontas, TN, tourists can visit Big Hill Pond State Park on State 27 at the junction of the Tuscumbia and Hatchie State Scenic River. Big Hill Pond covers 4,218 acres with campsites, backpacking trails, picnic sites, horse trails and a visitor's center. If you love fishing you can try the McNatt Fishing Lake and talk an enjoyable walk along the boardwalk trail leading into the scenic wetlands. The site of the Civil War Battle of Davis Bridge is nearby.
4. Big Ridge State Park at Maynardville was developed in the 1930s by TVA and the Civilian Conservation Corps and includes 3,687 acres overlooking Norris Reservoir. Visitors to this park will find a visitor's center, cabins, group and individual campsites, a beach, fishing, boating and plenty of hiking trails.
5. Off State 25 near Gallatin, Bledsoe Creek State Park is a beautiful and relaxing get-away that has campsites with tables, grills, electrical hook-ups, restrooms with showers, a lake for fishing, boating and water activities as well as six miles of hiking trails.
6. Named after the famous educator, the Booker T. Washington State Park near Chattanooga covers 353 acres along the shores of the Chickamauga Reservoir and draws boating and fishing enthusiasts year around where they will find a swimming pool, picnic areas, group lodge, a boat ramp and nature trails.
7. Burgess Falls State Natural Area near Sparta is a relatively small park with 154 acres but the falls is a big attraction for nature lovers as they walk the stream-side trails. Picnic facilities are available.
8. Cedars of Lebanon near Lebanon is a popular park that contains junipers once used in the manufacture of pencils and cross-ties. The site was replanted in the 1930s by workers with the Work Progress Administration and now is home ot over 20 endemic native wildflowers.
9. The Chickasaw Nation once owned the vast area of the Chickasaw State Park near Henderson, TN. This is a popular site for horseback riders who can travel the many miles of fire roads and trails meandering among the scenic timberlands. There are 13 cabins along Lake Placid.
To round out the tour of 10 of Tennessee State Parks, we can visit the Cordell Hull Birthplace State Historic Park near Byrdstown. Hull was U.S. Secretary of State from 1933-1944. He was instrumental in helping form the United Nations under the Franklin D. Roosevelt adminstration. Hull's birthplace is on 40 acres that includes a replica of his home and an exhibit of documents and artifacts along with Hull's Nobel Peace Prize medal.