The Best Cabins to View Fall Foliage
August 2, 2020 | Permalink
Book your cozy front row seat to view fall foliage this season. There are twenty-one Tennessee State Parks across the state offering quiet cabin getaways with stunning views. Surrounded by outdoor experiences like hiking, golfing, boating, and more, a cabin getaway at Tennessee State Parks provides adventure while remaining tucked away with plenty of space to distance. We know that planning a vacation around peak fall colors is all about timing. That's why we’ve put together a list of our top cabin destinations for fall foliage viewing along with the ideal time to plan your visit.
Peak Viewing Period: Mid-October to Very Early-November
In Middle Tennessee, color changes usually start around mid-October with a peak near late October or early November.
Montgomery Bell State Park
Brilliant foliage bounces off the reflection of stunning Lake Acorn at Montgomery Bell State Park and sets the perfect backdrop for fall adventures just 40 minutes from Nashville, TN. Experiences at the park include hiking past refreshing streams, fishing off the banks of the lake, paddling calm waters, and enjoying a hot beverage on the outdoor balcony at Lodge Montgomery Bell. Tip: If cabins are fully booked at the park, we highly suggest checking out the newly renovated Lodge, which offers pet-friendly rooms!
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls is one of our most popular parks. It's home to one of the tallest waterfalls in the eastern region and boasts a beautiful lake and easy to challenging hiking trails. Book early to secure your spot at this highly sought after park or check out the cabins at nearby Cumberland Mountain State Park as an alternative.
David Crockett State Park
This park is a hidden gem filled with waterfalls, limestone bluffs, abundant wildlife and serene forest. The cabins are tucked away near Lindsey Lake offering paddling, fishing, and hiking trails just steps from the cabin doors.
Pickett CCC Memorial State Park
Located in the Upper Cumberland Mountains, Pickett State Park offers a certified internationally dark sky area (aka incredible star views), caves to explore, waterfalls to discover, and a lake to paddle. Pickett is also adjacent to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Pogue Creek Canyon, and Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park.
Cumberland Mountain State Park
This serene park is located in Crossville, TN on the Cumberland Plateau. This means easy access to incredible hiking at nearby Ozone Falls State Natural Area, Fall Creek Falls State Park, and other sections of the Cumberland Trail offering sweeping mountain views such as Daddy's Creek and Black Mountain Crest. Park experiences include an 18-hole golf course, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, paddling, and on-site dining at the park restaurant.
Edgar Evins State Park
Tucked away in the hills, Edgar Evins State Park encompasses 6,000 acres of forest on the shores of Center Hill Lake. The park's spacious cabins feature private balconies overlooking the lake. Great for family vacations, the park offers storybook hiking trails that allow you to hike and read alongside large illustrated storybook pages. There's also a marnia and restaurant at the park, boating, paddling, and fishing to enjoy.
Standing Stone State Park
The quaint cabins at Standing Stone State Park were recently outfitted with new furniture and sit tucked away in the forest. The park's 65-acre lake is a popular destination for fishing and nature photography. Just 30 minutes from the park, you'll find Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park where you can explore the entryway of Bunkum Cave and history at the Cordell Hull Museum and log cabin birthplace.
Peak Viewing Period: Early-October to Mid-November
East Tennessee is the first region to turn colors with certain areas turning quicker than others due to altitude. Leaves can begin to show changes in early September at high altitudes such as Roan Mountain State Park and can take until mid-October in lower altitudes like Norris Dam State Park.
Norris Dam State Park
For travellers near Knoxville, Norris Dam is a must see. Just 30 minutes from Knoxville, the park displays firey fall colors along the shores of Norris Lake. The cabins offer cozy features like fireplaces and outdoor fire pits. The rustic cabins at the park feature screened in porches perfect for curling up with a good book and taking in the crisp fall morning air.
Roan Mountain State Park
If you're looking for expansive East Tennessee views that aren't in the Smokey Mountains, Roan Mountain State Park will amaze you in new ways. The park is situated in the Blue Ridge of the Appalachian Mountains near the Tennessee-North Carolina border. Brilliant fall colors drape over the Appalachian Mountains and are contrasted by evergreen rhodedendron thickets that cover the parks hiking trails.
Big Ridge State Park
Big Ridge State Park sits a mere 20 minutes from previously mentioned Norris Dam State Park making it another must see for Knoxville travelers. The park features more than 15 miles of hiking trails, a beautiful lake, fishing, and paddling opportunities.
Peak Viewing Period: Late October to Early November
For the late planners out there, West Tennessee is your go-to. It’s the last area of the state to turn before the vibrant fall colors fade away. Colors begin to show anywhere from early to mid-October and can last into mid-November.
Reelfoot Lake State Park
If you're a birder then Reelfoot Lake State Park is where you need to be this fall. White Pelicans make an annual migration to the park during the fall season and you can grab a front row seat with one of the park's pontoon tours. Not to mention the incredible changing colors of the cypress trees scattered through Reelfoot Lake. The cabins are lakeside, pet-friendly, and offer a premium experience with spacious living rooms and wifi.
Paris Landing State Park
The cabins at Paris Landing State Park sit on a hillside offering incredible porch views of Kentucky Lake. Large families will have no problem finding space in the park's standard cabins which can sleep up to 10 people. For solo travelers, couples, or small families, the park's camping cabins are a great option and provide the feel of camping with the added bonus of weather protection and heat.
Natchez Trace State Park
A rustic wilderness experience, the cabins at Natchez Trace State Park are surrounded by over 40,000 acres of state park and forestry land that offer access to ATV riding and hunting. Park expereinces include horseback riding, archery, paddling, hiking, fishing, and more.
Chickasaw State Park
The park provides a restful vacation experience perfect for anyone looking to get away from it all. Tucked into the town of Henerson in west Tennessee, the park is surrounded by thousands of acres of forestry land offering miles of of horse and ATV trails. The park is centered around serene Lake Placid that offers fishing and paddling experiences. Hiking and horseback riding are also popular activities at the park.