BIG RIDGE LAKE
Canoes, paddleboats, kayaks and rowboat rentals are available on the 49-acre Big Ridge Lake. The boat dock is open seasonally from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Please call the park office for specific hours of operation. Visitors may use their own electric trolling motors on park rowboats. Privately owned boats, including canoes and kayaks, can be launched on Big Ridge Lake for a nominal fee.
Fishing boats, ski boats, and wave runners can be launched at the boat ramp on Norris Lake just outside the park entrance drive. Due to the low lake level, there is no access to the boat ramp on Norris Lake during winter months.
A sandy beach next to Big Ridge Lake provides swimming enjoyment from Memorial Day through Labor Day, 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily. An enclosed, concrete-bottomed area is provided for children. Swimming is free of charge. There are no lifeguards on duty, therefore swimming is at your own risk.
Over 15 miles of hiking trails travel along dry ridges, lush hollows, old roadbeds, lakeshores and beside cemeteries and remnants of early settlements. Trails range from easy to very rugged. Free trail maps are available at the park office. Trails are open year round and overnight camping is allowed on designated backcountry campsites by permit only.
Big Ridge Lake (49-acre) provides good fishing year round for bass and bream. Black Bass must be a minimum of 14 inches. Gas motors, and personal watercraft are not permitted on Big Ridge Lake. However, guests may rent jon boats, and pedal boats at the boat dock for use on Big Ridge Lake. Personal electric trolling motors can be used on park jon boats. The lake is open year round and boat rentals are available except during winter months.
Just minutes from the park are the coldwater tailwaters of the Clinch River. Wade fishing during non-generation periods is very productive for Rainbow, Brook and Brown Trout. Bigger trout are often taken by boat during generation flows.
Bald Eagles, Herons, and Kingfishers can be seen on the lakes as well as many species of waterfowl during the winter. Common Loons sometimes visit during the winter and can be seen on Norris Lake. The trails are good places to see migratory birds in the spring and fall.