6 November Adventures #TSP80

November 1, 2017  |  Permalink

Thankfulness is something we all need. The coming month presents us with a season of thanksgiving. A time to reflect on the people, the places and the things that bring us joy. It’s a time to practice hospitality and presence. It’s a time to seek renewal. Just as the land rests after the harvest and the trees lie in wait for the coming of the spring, so we must take time to breathe. What better way to step back and breathe than to spend some time outdoors?

With that in mind, here are some adventures that we think are perfect for November:

Landscape Photography (Recreational Adventure)

Cove Lake State Park

Many park guests find pleasure and relaxation in the art of photography. Whether you are looking for something to Snap or a place to capture professional-level landscape shots, Cove Lake State Park will not disappoint. The mountainous background and the tranquil lake are the perfect canvas for the pinks and blues and oranges of the fall light. The park is located just 30 minutes north of Knoxville on I-75 and is well worth the stop for holiday travelers. (Photo: J. Phillips Photographic)


Visitor Center, Museum & Civil War Days (Educational Adventure)

Johnsonville State Historic Park

Johnsonville State Historic Park is a day-use park named for former President Andrew Johnson who also served as the Union Military Governor of Tennessee during the Civil War. The park museum, constructed in 2012, tells the story of the Union supply depot that was attacked by Confederate forces under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest on November 4, 1864. The welcome center and museum is the perfect place to begin a visit to the park. Visitors will enjoy a short video about the Battle of Johnsonville and explore exhibits on the Civil War and the town of Johnsonville.

During the first weekend of November, the park hosts an annual event called Civil War Days. Cannons ring out along the Tennessee River as living historians mark the anniversary of the battle and teach visitors about the life and times of the Civil War. The events will actually take place at two parks on opposing sides of the river, with Union encampments stationed at Johnsonville and Confederate encampments at Nathan Bedford Forrest State Historic Park. The parks will offer a wide variety of historic programming at this event. (Photo: Tennessee Photographs)


WWI Replica Trenches & Veterans Day (Historic Adventure)

Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park

It's not very often that an immersive WWI experience is available in North America. The war carries with it a distant, and sometimes confusing, history for many people. Tennessee State Park staff work hard to bring that era of world history to life at Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park. The park is home to the York family home, which serves as a museum honoring one of the most decorated soldiers of WWI, Sgt. York.

To mark the 100th anniversary of American soldiers entering WWI, the park is hosting a large-scale living history event on Veterans Day weekend. This event will allow visitors to experience life in the trenches and the Great War. Planes from the time period will be flying and on display. Troops will simulate trench warfare and offer instruction on wartime life in the early twentieth century.  (Photo: Tennessee Photographs)


Mississippi River Overlook (Overlook Adventure)

Fort Pillow State Historic Park

While West Tennessee is known for relatively flat terrain, the bluffs at Fort Pillow State Historic Park provide a unique and expansive view of the Mississippi River. These bluffs are actually the reason for the fort’s existence. They provided a strategic advantage for the occupying army during the Civil War. The fort changed hands several times throughout the war, in part because of its vantage point overlooking the river. Today, visitors can take in these views and tour well-preserved earthworks and the reconstructed inner fort.


Fiery Gizzard Trail (Recreational Adventure)

South Cumberland State Park

While there is an abundance of hiking and backcountry camping at South Cumberland State Park, the Fiery Gizzard trail is one of the Top 25 in the country that should not be missed, according to Backpacker Magazine. The trail connects Grundy Forest and Foster Falls, which is one of the most popular sport climbing destinations in the Mid-South. Hikers can observe nature, swim in Fiery Gizzard Creek, see spectacular rock formations, cascading streams, waterfalls, rocky gorges, panoramic overlooks and lush woodlands.

This is a long trail, a through-hike of more than 11 miles, but overnight camping is available. Reservations are required for overnight campsites. To reserve your spot online, click the button below.


Indian Rock Trail (Recreational Adventure)

Big Ridge State Park

The Indian Rock Trail at Big Ridge State Park offers experienced hikers a chance to explore the scenic and cultural beauty of the park. This difficult trail takes visitors over the top of Big Ridge Dam, and passes by old cemeteries and a replica Mill House. A plaque on the trail marks the rocky place where a local settler, Peter Graves, was scalped and killed by a Native American. Graves was part of a settlement in the late 1700's known as Sharp's Station Fort, which was one of the first settlements west of the Appalachian. Hikers can see the old fort site via the 0.2-mile Sharp's Station Trail that branches off of the Indian Rock Trail.

Big Ridge State Park is located along I-75 to the North of Knoxville. The park provides cabins and campgrounds for overnight guests. The Grist Mill in the photo above is a popular photography spot. The park is also great for learning to backpack, and is even offering several events this month to equip you with the skills needed to have a successful trip into the woods. For more information about the park or upcoming events, click the button below. 


Bonus Adventure

After Thanksgiving Day Hikes

November presents a special opportunity to get outside on Black Friday. Every year, our rangers lead free hikes at every state park for people who want to avoid the lines and choose the outdoors. No matter where you are in Tennessee, a state park is no more than an hour away. So, grab your kids, your relatives, or your friends and come hike with us!


Looking for Places to Explore?

Click the button below to see the interactive map and list of all 80th anniversary adventures:



About the 80 Adventures Blog

This year, we want to help you get outdoors.  Whether you are a history buff or a waterfall chaser, Tennessee State Parks has something for you. To celebrate our 80th anniversary, we’ve put together a list of 80 adventures that stretch across all 56 of our parks. Each month, we’ll give you a few of those activities that represent some of the best adventures we have to offer. While most of the events are available year round, we will include ones that we think are best to experience during a particular month.

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Tennessee State Parks