Get Out and Explore Springtime
February 1, 2019 | Permalink
Can you believe the winter is almost over? The fluctuating temperatures and heavy rains are tell-tale signs that spring is just around the corner. As the weather warms up we can all make plans to do more of what we love: spending time outdoors. Here are a few ways you can get outside over the next several months:
1. Get Out and Camp
Don’t you wish you could get away and unplug for a minute? Wouldn’t it be great to escape the grind and just “be” somewhere for a moment? Tennessee State Parks has 36 campgrounds spread across the state, making it easy for you to head to the woods. From primitive options to large RV sites, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Learn about the types of campsites in our parks or use the Find a Park page to filter parks by accommodations, amenities, and activities to build your perfect adventure.
What if you don’t know how to camp? What if you don’t have the gear you need? What if you want to learn a new skill like backcountry camping? We have events that are tailor-made for you:
- Cumberland Mountain State Park - Beginner Backpacking Classes: Have you ever wanted to try backcountry camping? The staff at Cumberland Mountain are offering a series of backpacking 101 courses in March and April along with an overnight backpacking trip over Memorial Day weekend. Attendees can purchase tickets to one or all of the backpacking workshops. It is not required to attend the trainings in order to attend the Memorial Day weekend trip. However, those who attend all three backpacking workshops will receive a discount on the overnight trip in May.
- Fall Creek Falls State Park - Campfire Dutch Oven Cooking: Come learn the art of dutch oven cooking at Fall Creek Falls State Park. The park is hosting several trainings with different recipes to help improve your campfire cooking.
Want to know more about camping? The most recent issue of the TN Conservationist Magazine includes ideas for how to turn wildflower hikes into camping trips and riding to a park and camping on a bicycle.
2. Catch a Glimpse of Spring Wildflowers
If you like flowers - and who doesn’t - then springtime is an ideal period to hit the trails in Tennessee. The fields and the forests will burst to life over the next couple of months, capturing the hearts of visitors young and old. The opportunities for enjoying these flowering beauties abound. Many parks are offering special hikes to guide visitors right to the best spots:
- Spring Hikes - March 23: All 56 Tennessee State Parks are offering free, ranger-led Spring Hikes on March 23. Many of these will showcase the blooming flowers along the trail, and all are great opportunities to take in some fresh air and learn more about the world around you. Event Details
- Natural Areas Hikes & Events - Various Dates: The Division of Natural Areas host a wide number of events throughout the year. Many of these are focused on wildflowers and plant identification. Event Details
- Cedars of Lebanon - May 4 Wildflower Photography Workshop ($30): Join photographer David Piñeros on a workshop to learn artistic and technical skills to get that perfect wildflower shot as we visit the cedar glades. Event Details
(Photo credit: Marty Silver)
3. Explore our Waterfalls
There's something awe inspiring about a waterfall. Big or small, they capture our affections and connect us to the natural world. Tennessee State Parks have more than 80 waterfalls to explore, and spring is a great time to check some off your list. While you can explore them on your own, we think the best way to enjoy them is with a guide who can take you to some of the best spots:
- Rock Island Photography Workshop - April 6 ($90): Join professional photographer David Duplessis and Ranger Holly Ingram on an all-day photogrpahy tour exploring the towering waterfalls of Rock Island State Park. Event Details
- Overnight Waterfall Tours - Various Dates ($250-$350): Tennessee State Parks are offering several three-day, two-night tours that will take you to some of the most breathtaking places in Tennessee. Several different trips are scheduled through the end of 2019. Event Details
(Photo credit: TennesseePhotographs.com)
4. Go for a Paddle
Spring rains often swell our local waterways. Those higher waters can make this an ideal season for canoeing and kayaking, especially in areas that might dry up during the summer months*. If you don’t own the equipment, or if you don’t want to go out on the river alone, there are floats coming up at local parks that are perfect for you:
- Reelfoot Lake - Various Dates: Reelfoot Lake is offering several deep swamp canoe floats in March. Join park staff on a float into the Deep Swamp to see Bald Cypress Trees that are over 200 years old. It’s also a great place to see eagles, herons, and other birds living around the lake. Event Details
- Ghost River Guided Float - May 18-19 (Price Varies): Our West TN Regional Naturalist is offering two guided canoe floats on the ghost section of the Wolf River. Float through a beautiful bottomland forest and explore the mysterious ghost section, where the river disappears into a cypress swamp. This is one of the most unique rivers in West Tennessee. Pricing varies depending on equipment needs. Event Details
*Please exercise water safety during your visit. If the water seems too high or too fast, please do not enter it. Flooding often occurs during periods of heavy rains. We encourage the use of personal floatation devices (PFDs) and adherence to all relevant boating laws in Tennessee.
The spring season is too nice and the options too plentiful for you to stay inside. Don’t see something that interests you in the list above? Click the button below to explore our full event calendar. There are free and paid events covering everything from waterfall chasing and guided hikes, to rock climbing and educational adventures. Whatever you choose, our hope is that you’ll get up, get outside, and do something!