5 things to do near Tims Ford State Park

June 15, 2016  |  Permalink

Tims Ford State Park sits on the banks of one of the top bass fishing and recreational lakes in the Southeast, Tims Ford Lake. The park is less than two hours from Nashville, Chattanooga and Huntsville, Alabama, making it the perfect destination for escaping the summer heat in Middle Tennessee.

Here are 5 things you won’t want to miss on your next visit to Tims Ford State Park:




The park has 20 beautiful cabins on the wooded slopes of Tims Ford Lake. The cabins are completely equipped, including appliances, cooking and serving utensils and linens. The park also has two campgrounds for tent or RV campers. For a backcountry experience, tent campers can apply for a permit to camp on any of the six islands on the lake.




1. Cooling off on the water

Whether you’re looking for some high adrenaline, motorized fun or you prefer the laid back ease of a canoe float, Tims Ford State Park has you covered. The park manages eight public boat ramps and leases two marinas. You can bring your own watercraft or lease boats, equipment and supplies from the park and marinas. The lake is also home to the Tims Ford Blueway - a series of multi-route water trails spread across the lake perfect for canoe, kayak and standup-paddleboard adventures.


2. Casting a line

One of the best features at Tims Ford State Park is the bass fishing. While smallmouth bass dominate the waters, there is a decent population of largemouth and spotted bass as well. The 10,000-acre lake is stocked annually with striped and hybrid-striped bass. The striped bass commonly exceed 15 lbs. and the hybrids about 7 lbs. If you’re looking to cast a line and reel in a haul, Tims Ford State Park is your place. 


3. Teeing off on the Bear Trace

Tims Ford is home to one of three Jack Nicklaus-designed courses in Tennessee known as the Bear Trace. The Bear Trace at Tims Ford has received widespread acclaim almost from the day of its opening. The course sits on a peninsula surrounded by the lake. This visually compelling golf course opens with a blend of links-style creations that gently roll across former pastures and gradually transition to wooded sites surrounded by giant oak trees. The back nine presents a stronger test of each golfer’s mettle and ends with a 453-yard par four on the 18th hole. The course is an excellent balance of challenge and playability, with views of the lake from most holes on the course.

CLICK HERE to view tee times. 


Photo of Old Stone Fort from Tre Andre

4. Learning about Native American History at Old Stone Fort State Archeological Park

Location: 36 minutes Northeast of Tims Ford State Park

Old Stone Fort, located in nearby Manchester, Tennessee, is a great site from a cultural and outdoor perspective. The original fort was built 1,500 to 2,000 years ago, with Native Americans continuing to use it for about 500 years before abandoning it. When the European settlers arrived, they inaccurately described the area as a fort. They did not realize it was a ritual ground for the Native Americans. The Summer Solstice is a great time to visit the park, especially for history enthusiasts. The June 20th presentation at the park will discuss what we have learned about the builders of the Old Stone Fort and the importance of “Archeoastronomy” at Native American sites in Tennessee. The day will also kick off with a 6AM sunrise hike that will allow visitors to experience the visual effect the Native Americans intended when they built the old stone fort. (Photo credit Tre Andre)


5. Hiking and waterfall chasing at South Cumberland State Park

Location: 50 minutes East of Tims Ford State Park

If you enjoy waterfalls and overlooks, you need to visit South Cumberland State Park in Monteagle, Tennessee. The park sprawls across several different counties and sites, with each area boasting a particular attraction. The park is home to several notable features, including 13 different waterfalls.  It is also home to the Fiery Gizzard Trail, a 12.5-mile one-way trail that Backpacker magazine rated one of the Top 25 in the country.



Don’t let the summer heat keep you from experiencing the outdoors. Come cool off with us at Tims Ford State Park.


About the author

Josh Gibson