5 things to do near Edgar Evins State Park
August 10, 2016 | Permalink
Edgar Evins State Park is located just 65 miles east of Nashville along the banks of Center Hill Lake. The 6,000-acre park sits in a steep, hilly area of Tennessee known as the Eastern Highland Rim. The park has cabin and campground sleeping options, and is a perfect place to stage a weekend on the lake or a visit to one of the other attractions in the Cookeville area. Let’s look at where to stay and what to do on your next visit:
WHERE TO STAY
Edgar Evins State Park
The park features 34 economy suites. These rooms can sleep up to six people and are equipped with linens, appliances, cooking and serving utensils, satellite TV, central heat and air, and a balcony.
If you don’t want to stay in a cabin, Edgar Evins offers some of our best sites for RV and tent camping. They sit right on the slopes of Center Hill Lake, which provides a beautiful backdrop for your evening campfire.
WHAT TO DO
1. Observation Deck Viewing
One of the unique features at Edgar Evins State Park is the observation deck rising up above the visitor center. The tower allows visitors to stand above the treetops and look out over the expansive lake and the surrounding hillsides. The visitor center is also a great place to meet the park rangers, grab a copy of a trail map, or pick up some souvenirs.
Center Hill Lake covers roughly 18,000 acres. As you might guess, boating is a popular activity at the park. Edgar Evins offers three boat launch ramps for public use. The Edgar Evins Marina is open year round and offers boat rentals, repair, slip rentals, small gifts, gas and fishing supplies. If you need a bite to eat, the Galley Restaurant is open seasonally. Both the marina and the restaurant are privately owned and operated. Please call them directly if you have questions about those services.
There are approximately 12 miles of hiking trails at the park, ranging from moderate to strenuous. The 5.5-mile Merritt Ridge Trail is the longest and most challenging, ascending the ridges from an intersection along the 2.5-mile Millennium Trail. Many hikers will combine those two trails to form an 8-mile loop. Because of its length, the park requires guests to register at the trailhead before they embark on either of those hikes. Other hikes in the park do not require registration.
4. Visit Area Waterfalls
One of the best things about Edgar Evins is its proximity to other popular state park attractions: Burgess Falls, Cummins Falls, Rock Island, and Fall Creek Falls. If you visited all four of those parks, you would have the potential of seeing at least 15 unique waterfalls.
The park is half an hour from Cummins Falls (pictured above) and Burgess Falls, two popular waterfall destinations that do not offer cabin or camping options. The park is an hour from Rock Island and 1.25 hours from Fall Creek Falls. These parks have lodging and camping options, but are often full. If you can’t find a place to stay at one of those parks, Edgar Evins is a great option.
Accessing the base of the waterfall at Cummins Falls State Park (like pictured above) requires a Gorge Access Permit that can be purchased online here or at the park visitor center. Permits are limited to 150 a day. Remember to practice water safety when visiting the falls. Bring a buddy, wear appropriate shoes that can get wet, and use a PFD for young children and weak swimmers. We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable visit.
Center Hill Lake was formed when the Army Core of Engineers built a dam in 1948 on the Caney Fork River. The river flows through a large portion of the Cumberland Plateau, and is a popular fishing destination. The lake shares many of these same characteristics. Visitors often have success catching crappie, walleye and catfish. While bass fishing is best in the fall, many anglers have success fishing at night on the lake during the summer. Just below the dam, a couple minutes away from the park, lies some of the best trout fishing you will find in Tennessee. The cold, tailwaters of the Caney Fork are perfect for catching rainbow, brook and brown trout during non-generation periods.
Whether you’re looking for some time on the trails or a couple of days filling up the fish cooler, Edgar Evins State Park will not disappoint. Click the button below to learn more about what the park has to offer and to plan your next visit.