Pickett State Park lies within the 19,200-acre Pickett State Forest, and is adjacent to the massive 120,000 acre Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. In 1933, the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company donated nearly 12,000 acres of land to the State of Tennessee to be developed as a forest recreational area. Initial development of the area by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) occurred between 1934 through1942. The CCC constructed hiking trails, five rustic cabins, a recreation lodge, a ranger station and a 12-acre lake. The park memorializes and preserves the unique work of the CCC who first developed the park.
The Pickett CCC Museum features interpretative exhibits and artifacts, depicting the Civilian Conservation Corps’ contributions to Tennessee’s parks and natural areas, while recognizing the CCC’s extensive efforts across the country. An interactive touch-screen exhibit gives visitors an opportunity to hear directly from former CCC workers, sharing their stories about their time working to construct Pickett State Park. Developed by Tennessee State Parks, the museum is in the same location of the former park office, constructed by the CCC in the 1930s. Approximately 70,000 Tennesseans served in the CCC in various locations around the country. There were 77 CCC camps located throughout Tennessee.
Pickett State Park has cabins and campsites available for rent. The park has 20 rental cabins, with four styles to accommodate different size families. There are five rustic CCC cabins that can accommodate four people, five standard cabins can accommodate up to six people, five suite cabins can accommodate two people and five deluxe cabins can accommodate eight people. Each type of cabin is completely equipped for housekeeping with modern bathrooms, kitchen appliances, cooking utensils, linens and towels and fireplaces. There are 32 campsites at the park, each with electric and water hookups, picnic tables and grills.
More than 58 miles of hiking trails meander through the wilderness of Pickett State Park and the surrounding forest. They vary in length and difficulty, from short day-use trails suitable for families, to longer multi-day backpacking trails. A backcountry camping permit is required through the park office. The trails afford views of sandstone bluffs, natural bridges, waterfalls and diverse plant life.