Located on the western edge of Tennessee, approximately 40 miles north of Memphis, Fort Pillow State Historic Park is rich in historic and archaeological significance. Steep bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River made this area a strategic location during the Civil War. The fort was originally built by Confederate troops in 1861 and named after General Gideon J. Pillow of Maury County. It was abandoned in 1862 due to the Union Navy’s advancement along the Mississippi River. The area became a state park in 1971.
The 1,642 acre Fort Pillow is known for its well-preserved breastworks and reconstructed inner fort. The park’s museum offers Civil War artifacts including a canon and interpretive displays relating to the history of Fort Pillow. There is a 12 minute video on the 1864 Battle shown by request as well as tours of the museum and restored fortifications. The museum is open from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Fort Pillow State Historic Park was designated as a Wildlife Observation Area by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and is frequented by bird watchers.
The park offers a rustic campground with 32 campsites for tent camping. There is a moderately difficult five mile hiking trail to backcountry camping. Fort Pillow State Park also has a picnic area overlooking Fort Pillow Lake providing visitors with tables, grills. There is one centrally located picnic pavilion that may be reserved and is ideal for family reunions. Restrooms and a playground are nearby.