Tennessee State Parks

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Policies

Accessibility

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Tennessee State Parks have worked diligently to provide reasonable accommodations to its patrons with disabilities to provide opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in the outdoor programs and activities.

All ADA Information can be found here.

Alcoholic Beverages

Except in facilities that are licensed to sell alcoholic beverages, consumption of alcoholic beverages within state park areas that are open to the general public is forbidden.

Except in facilities that are licensed to sell alcoholic beverages, the public display of any container of alcoholic beverages is prohibited within state park areas that are open to the general public.

Alcoholic beverages may be purchased and consumed at all golf course snack bars. In addition, you may purchase and consume alcoholic beverages at several select State Park restaurants. In some instances where inn rooms, cabins, or conference rooms have been rented, alcoholic beverages may be allowed for private adult consumption. The State of Tennessee legal age for possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages is 21 years of age.

Boating

For complete boating rules and regulations, please visit http://www.tn.gov/sos/rules/0400/0400-02/0400-02-03.pdf

The Ocoee River Recreation Area has whitewater rafting. Check the park office at Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park at 423-263-0050 for outfitter information.

There is no requirement for a license to drive a boat like there is for a license to drive a car but certain regulations do apply. For more information, visit the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website at http://www.tn.gov/twra/.

For more information on how and where to register your boat, visit the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website at http://www.tn.gov/twra/.

Camping

Camping and the use of trailers or other camper units is permitted only at designated location: provided, however, that the Superintendent may issue written permits to persons desiring to camp in backcountry, or other isolated sections of a park area, or may designate portions of the park area in which such permits will not be required by marking on a map which shall be available for public inspection in the Park Offices.

Within designated locations, the pitching of tents or parking of trailers or other camper units is permitted only at the sites designated.

The Director and/or Superintendent may establish limitations on the length of time persons may camp within a park area, either in a single period or in combined separate periods. Such limitations shall be posted at campgrounds, ranger stations, or other appropriate locations.

The installation of permanent camping facilities is prohibited.

The digging or leveling of the ground at any campsite is prohibited.

Camping equipment must be completely removed and camping sites cleaned by campers before departure.

Quiet shall be maintained in all campgrounds between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

The gathering of wood for use as fuel in campgrounds or picnic areas shall be limited to dead material on the ground, except where such gathering is prohibited by the Superintendent by the posting of appropriate signs.

Cave Closures on Tennessee State Lands

Caves located on state lands in Tennessee will be closed until further notice in an effort to slow the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) among the state’s bat population.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is among the state agencies which agreed to close all caves on public property beginning July 1, 2009. The Nature Conservancy agreed to follow the state’s lead to close all caves located on Nature Conservancy property. The voluntary action closes public access to all caves, sinkholes, tunnels and abandoned mines on land owned by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry. The closures follow similar steps taken elsewhere in response to a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service advisory asking for a moratorium on cave visitations in WNS-affected states and adjoining states. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, U.S. Forest Service and Tennessee Valley Authority have also closed caves to public access on their lands.

White Nose Syndrome, or WNS, is named for a white fungus that appears on the faces, ears, wings and feet of hibernating bats. Scientists are trying to determine the cause of WNS and its effects. Once a colony is affected, the fungus spreads rapidly and may kill 90 or more percent of the bats at the hibernation site in just two years. Scientists believe WNS is primarily spread bat-to-bat as they cluster in caves and mines, but that it may also be unknowingly transferred from one cave or mine to another on the footwear, clothing and gear of humans visiting caves. Infected caves and mines may not show obvious signs of its presence.
Tennessee’s first WNS positive cave was recorded in February 2010, from Sullivan County. Additional occurrences have been recorded during spring 2010 from caves in Carter, Fentress, Van Buren and Montgomery counties. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park has also documented WNS from a Blount County cave within the National Park.

Dogs, cats and other pets

Dogs, cats and other pets are permitted, if they are on a leash, crated or caged, or otherwise under physical restrictive control at all times. Pets are prohibited in park inns or cabins (except where rooms and/or cabins have been designated for pets, see specific information below), lodges, public eating places, food stores, and on designated swimming beaches and pools at all times.

The superintendent may also designate, by the posting of appropriate signs on trails and other portions of the park, areas where pets are not permitted. This prohibition does not apply to service animals.

All state park campgrounds allow cats and dogs. Pets must be on a leash and must not be left unattended. Proof of rabies shots and a physical description of the animals may be required upon request. Certain areas such as picnic areas, beaches, swim areas and foodservice areas may be restricted to pets. Please remember that these are natural areas and domestic and wild animals sometimes have confrontations. Please take a look at our Pet Policy http://www.tnstateparks.com/policies.shtml#pets.

Cats and dogs are permitted to stay in specific designated inn rooms and cabins. Each park will have assigned rooms or cabins set aside as pet rooms. Park management reserves the right to prohibit any pet on the premises that may pose a risk to guests or staff. Certain areas such as picnic areas, beaches, swim areas and foodservice areas may be restricted to pets.

Guests must sign a Pet Policy Liability form upon check-in that will explain the park’s policy in detail. There is a $15 per pet charge per night. Additional charges may apply for any damage that may occur to carpet or furnishings. Please take a look at our Pet Policy http://www.tnstateparks.com/policies.shtml#pets.

Inn and Cabins

In an effort to make your stay more enjoyable, Tennessee’s State Parks offer a limited number of inn rooms and one cabin at each park for guests who travel with their pets. We highly recommend you reserve these designated rooms several weeks in advance. Guests making cash payments for their stay will be required to make a minimal deposit. Please call the park in advance for more information.

Here are a few things you should know before arriving at the park.

  • There is a $15 per pet charge per night.
  • Park Management reserves the right to prohibit any pet on the premises that may pose a risk to our guests or staff.
  • Rooms will not be cleaned if a pet is present (guests may obtain linen service).
  • Pets may not be left unattended in rooms or cabins.
  • Extra fees may apply for noisy dogs and cats that disturb other guests resulting in complaints or refunds.
  • Extra fees may apply for cleaning or damage to room or fixtures.
  • Pets are allowed only in designated areas.
  • Pets are not permitted inside restaurant, lobby, or other public areas.
  • Guests must cleanup after their pet (courtesy litter bags are provided).
  • Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
  • Pets must be current with all vaccinations.

Camping and Trails

Please contact the individual park for specific restrictions regarding pets in campgrounds and on various trails. Tennessee State Parks do not have any ATV/OHV trails. ATV/OHV users wanting to ride on any of the State’s forests managed by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry should first contact the state forest for more information regarding use. Link to Tennessee State Forests: http://www.tn.gov/agriculture/forestry/stateforests.html

Firearms, traps and other weapons

Exceptions to weapons prohibition provided below.

In park, natural, and historical areas the use of traps, seines, handthrown spears, nets (except landing nets), firearms (including air and gas powered pistols and rifles), blow guns, bows and arrows or crossbows, and any other implements designed to discharge missiles in the air or under the water which are capable of destroying animal life is prohibited. The possession of such objects or implements is prohibited unless they are unloaded and adequately cased, or broken down or otherwise packed in such a way as to prevent their use while in the park areas.

  • Exception 1: Shooters may use recreational target shooting ranges available for skeet, trap and bow and arrow target shooting within a park area as long as these weapons are properly cased when not on the range.
  • Exception 2: Authorized Federal, State, County and City law enforcement officers may carry firearms in the performance of their official duties.
  • Exception 3: Persons using park area facilities while participating in authorized open or managed hunts within the park areas or beyond, may use and possess firearms under the specific rules and regulations pertaining to the authorized hunt and only in the authorized hunting zones or compartments.
  • Exception 4: Persons how possess a Handgun Carry permit and is in compliance with TCA: 39-17-1351.

Fires

The kindling of any fire is permitted only:

  • In designated camping and picnic grounds when the fire is confined in a fireplace provided for the use of visitors, or grills, or in locations marked by the Superintendent; or
  • In other locations, including backcountry, wilderness and remote sections of the park areas when a written permit has been secured from the Superintendent; or
  • In stoves or lanterns using gasoline, propane, butane gas or similar fuels.
  • Fires must be kindled in such manner that no tree, shrub, grass, or other inflammable or combustible matter will be set on fire or caused to be set on fire.
  • When no longer needed the fire shall be completely extinguished. Leaving a fire unattended is prohibited.
  • Throwing or dropping a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe heel, match or other burning material is prohibited.
  • The kindling of fires on park area lands and privately owned lands under the legislative jurisdiction of the State of Tennessee may be prohibited or limited by the Superintendent by posted signs when the fire hazard makes such action necessary.
  • The Superintendent, during such periods of time as he may prescribe, may prohibit smoking on any lands, including roads and trails, by the posting of appropriate signs.

Fishing

  • Unless further restricted herein or by special regulation, fishing within park areas shall be in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
  • Fishing in all park lakes may require a fishing permit for which there may be a nominal charge.
  • Digging for bait is prohibited within all park areas.
  • The transplanting or introducing of any live fish or fish eggs into the waters of any park area is prohibited.
  • Fishing is prohibited from within 200 feet of any public raft or float designed for water sports or within the limits of designated mooring areas or swimming areas. Fishing from within 200 feet of public boat docks with designated harbors may be prohibited by the Superintendent by the posting of appropriate signs.
  • Fishing from motor vehicle bridges is prohibited.
  • State fishing licenses and park permits must be exhibited upon demand to any person authorized to enforce the provisions of these regulations.

A valid Tennessee fishing license is required for anyone ages 13 - 78 years. For more information on how and where to purchase a Tennessee fishing license, visit the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website at http://www.tn.gov/twra/.

Preservation of Public Property, Natural Features, Curiosities & Resources

  • The intentional or wanton destruction, defacement, or removal of any natural or cultural feature or non-renewable natural resource is prohibited without a permit granted pursuant to rule 0400-2-2-.26 SCIENTIFIC SPECIMENS.
  • The intentional or wanton destruction, injury, defacement, removal or disturbance in any manner of any public buildings, signs, equipment, monument, marker or other structure or of any relic, artifact, ruin or historic or pre-historic feature or of any other similar public property is prohibited. The intentional or wanton possession of park equipment is prohibited without the authorization of the Superintendent or his designate.
  • Gathering or collecting for personal use reasonable quantities of natural products of a renewable nature including but not limited to fruits, berries, and driftwood is permitted; however, the gathering or collecting of such products for the purpose of commercial sale or other commercial use is prohibited.
  • The gathering or collecting of small quantities of pebbles or small rocks by hand for personal use is permitted; however, the collection of such objects for the purpose of commercial sale or other commercial use is prohibited.
  • The destroying, digging, cutting, removing, or possession of any tree, shrub, or other plant is prohibited without a permit granted by the Director of Parks and Recreation.
  • The use of any mineral or metal detecting device capable of detecting the underground or underwater location of geological, archaeological or historical objects or materials is prohibited. Provided, however, that this section shall not apply to: fathometers, radar equipment and electronic equipment used primarily for the navigation and safe operation of boats and aircraft; to persons possessing a permit from the State Archaeologist to conduct legitimate archaeological research when such permit is signed by the Director of Parks and Recreation; and to an individual engaged in a limited search for a lost item under supervision of the park Superintendent.

Rates

Camping rates in Tennessee State Parks are standardized according to the facilities available. The standardized rates range from $8.00 (4 people) per night for our primitive sites up to $25.00 (4 people) for our premium sites. Typical campsites with water & electric are $20.00 per night for 4 people with additional people $1.00 each. Rates subject to change without notice and do not include taxes
There are nine (9) golf courses managed by the Tennessee Golf Trail of which three (3) courses are Jack Nicklaus designed Bear Trace signature courses. The rates may differ from course to course, from winter to summer and from weekday to weekend. Check out our published rates at this web address: www.tngolftrail.net.
There are six (6) parks with resort inns and cabins and fifteen (15) parks with cabins only. The rates vary by park, type of room or cabin and time of year. Check out our published rates at this web address: http://www.tnstateparks.com/pdf/inncabn.pdf

Sixteen (16) parks have conference and meeting rooms that can handle group conferences, meetings, and weddings from 10 people to 1000 people. Check out our published rates at this web address: http://www.tnstateparks.com/pdf/meeting_rates.pdf.

Camping accommodations, inns and cabins, conference rooms and golf fees can be secured with cash, personal checks, and with major credit cards including Master Card, Visa, American Express and Discover.

Several park inns offer Getaway Packages in which meals, lodging, golf, and other amenities are bundled together and offered at discount prices. Check the promotions link off the home page: http://www.tnstateparks.com/promotions/

Reservations

All TN State Parks take reservations for camping.  You may select the park and make your TN State Park Campground Reservations online, or you may call the individual park to make your reservation.

There are two (2) ways to make reservations.


1. Reservations can be made by contacting the park directly. There are six (6) parks with an inn and cabins and fifteen (14) more parks with just cabins. Check out our website at www.tnstateparks.com for phone numbers and addresses.
2. Online reservations can be made at www.tennesseeanytime.org/parks/.
Inns and Cabins: If you use your credit card, then your credit card will be debited for one night’s room and tax. If you want to send a check, you have 10 working days for your check to arrive; otherwise the reservation will be cancelled.

Camping: For camping, the entire cost of the stay plus taxes and reservation fee must be paid at the time of the reservation.
Group reservations: Group reservations of 4 cabins or 10 rooms can be made 5 years in advance at any of the 6 resort parks. Individual reservations for inn rooms and cabins can be made up to 2 years at any of the parks that have those facilities. Reservations for campsites and picnic shelters can be made up to 1 year prior to check-in.  Groups wanting to reserve 4 cabins or more or 10 inn rooms or more can call 532-7707 to check availability.

Guaranteed check-in time for cabins is 4:00 p.m.; checkout time is 10 a.m. guaranteed check-in time for inn rooms is 4:00 p.m.; checkout time is 11 a.m.
Picnic Shelters: Parks offer picnic shelters on a first come first serve basis. However a picnic shelter may be reserved. This kind of arrangement must be made in advance of the event with the Park Manager at the park of your choice. To contact the Park Manager or the park office, visit the website at: http://www.tnstateparks.com/findapark/

Weddings

Six parks have inns that can provide overnight accommodations along with restaurants, catering operations and conference centers that are equipped to handle weddings, both indoors and outdoors. 

Fall Creek Falls (800-250-8610)
Henry Horton (800-250-8612)
Montgomery Bell (800-250-8613)
Natchez Trace (800-250-8616)
Paris Landing (800-250-8614)
Pickwick Landing (800-250-8615)

For details, contact the Group Reservationist at any of those resort parks or contact our Group Sales Manager at 615-532-7707.
Several parks do not have an inn or a restaurant, but do have meeting rooms. These meeting rooms can handle small indoor weddings. Check date availability at the park office. In parks without meeting room facilities, special events are permitted upon approval of the Park Manager. Please check with the park of your choice for special details and arrangements. To contact the Park Manager or the park office, visit their website at: http://www.tnstateparks.com/findapark/

Saddle and Pack Animals

  • Horses and other saddle or pack animals are permitted only on those trails or routes established for their use, except in those areas where cross-country travel is permitted by the Superintendent.
  • The use of horses or other saddle or pack animals upon the main traveled or maintained portion of roadways is prohibited except where such travel is necessary for ingress to and egress from trails or privately owned property, or is incidental to authorized travel.
  • In the interest of the public safety and welfare the Superintendent, by special regulation, may require that saddle horse parties and pack trains shall be in the charge of a guide who has been licensed under State of local laws or who meets qualifications which may be established by the Superintendent, or both, if the Superintendent deems it necessary.
  • Riding or hitching horses, or other saddle or pack animals in campgrounds, picnic areas, or within the immediate vicinity of trail shelters, eating or sleeping establishments or other areas of public gatherings, except where trails and facilities are designated or provided for such use, is prohibited.
  • Riders shall slow their horses to a walk or slow trot when passing persons on foot or on bicycles.

Tennessee State Parks offers equestrian support facilities or trails at Natchez Trace and Chickasaw in West Tennessee; Cedars of Lebanon and Fall Creek Falls in Middle Tennessee and Pickett and Warriors Path in East Tennessee. All equestrian facilities in state parks are either guided rental horses or support facilities for guests accessing the trails on lands managed by the Tennessee Division of Forestry. Check out our website at http://www.tnstateparks.com/findapark/horseback.shtml

Smoking

The Tennessee Non-smokers Protection Act went into effect October 1, 2007. All state park inn rooms, cabins, restaurants, visitor centers, meeting rooms, restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways and other common-use areas are now smoke-free.
Thank you for helping us make the transition to a smoke-free environment.

Swimming and Bathing

  • Swimming and bathing are prohibited except in designated beach areas, waters and pools.
  • The Park Superintendent, with the approval of the Director of Parks and Recreation, may post and enforce appropriate rules and regulations governing swimming areas. Violators of posted rules governing the use of pools and beaches will be subject to removal from the premises if the violation is flagrant or repeated or if in the judgment of the Park Superintendent the continued presence of the violator would create a hazardous condition in the area.
  • The Park Superintendent or his designated staff in a pool or beach area are charged with providing a safe condition in these areas and as such may, from time to time, regulate public use of these facilities for the protection of public health and safety. Nothing in these rules shall be construed as limiting the authority of a lifeguard or other personnel in regulating public behavior at beaches and other swimming areas, to only posted rules.
  • Scuba diving is prohibited within the limits of designated swimming, boat mooring, and boat docking areas.
  • Scuba diving will be permitted in those state park lakes which are within the borders of a park but only upon receiving a permit to do so from the Superintendent or his authorized representative. This permit will be granted upon demonstration by the applicant that he/she has received scuba certification which is granted to those successfully completing courses meeting the Revised Instructional Standards: Minimum Course Content for Entry-Level Scuba Certification , January 16, 1986, including any subsequent revision to these standards. These standards are subscribed to by: National Association of Scuba Diving Schools, National Association of Underwriter Instructors, NAVI, PADI, Scuba Schools International and the YMCA. Provided, however, the Park Superintendent may refuse to grant a permit whenever in his judgment safety conditions or park operation concerns dictate.

Volunteering

Volunteer Campground Hosts - Individuals interested in becoming a Volunteer Campground Host should contact the Park Manager for the park they are interested in. For any given park, notices shall be posted in the camper’s check-in and sent to local camping clubs. For more information about specific parks involved in the program, go to http://www.tnstateparks.com/volunteer.shtml. Campground host applications are available from the parks participating in this program or by contacting the Volunteer Coordinator at tnstateparks.volunteer@tn.gov or
615-532-5249. To contact the Park Manager or the park office, visit their website at: http://www.tnstateparks.com/findapark
Volunteer Golf Course Host - Individuals interested in becoming a Volunteer Golf Course Host should contact the Park Manager or the Golf Course Manager at the golf course they are interested in. Notices shall be posted at the golf pro shop and in other prominent park locations. There are six (6) parks that accept Volunteer Golf Course Hosts.

Those 6 parks are:

  • Henry Horton
  • Fall Creek Falls
  • Montgomery Bell  Paris Landing
  • Pickwick Landing
  • Warrior’s Path

To contact the Park Manager, the Golf Course Manager or the park office, visit their website at: http://www.tnstateparks.com/findapark
Park Volunteers - You, your family or service organization can participate by donating time, money or supplies to your nearby park. If you are interested in helping out, contact the Park Manager at any state park or call the State Park’s Volunteer Coordinator at (615) 532-5249 to find out how you or your organization can help.

Wildlife; Hunting

  • The hunting, killing, wounding, frightening or capture at any time of any wildlife is prohibited, except dangerous animals when it is necessary to prevent them from destroying human lives or inflicting personal injury.
  • Exception: On park areas during those times when hunts are being conducted in accordance with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s laws and regulations.
  • Except as otherwise provided herein, the feeding, touching, teasing, molesting or intentional disturbance of any wildlife or the activities or phenomena of wildlife is prohibited.

Guns and bow hunting are allowed at some parks in conjunction with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). In cooperation with the TWRA, seasons and quotas are set. Some parks have Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) where regular game hunting is permitted. Check with the individual park for details. To contact the Park Manager or the park office, visit their website at: http://www.tnstateparks.com