COVID-19 UPDATES: Keeping Visitors Healthy

Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park

Paddling - Rentals

2020 COVID-19 Update

Most state park boat rental operations will open this summer. Hours and operating procedures will vary by park. Each park will implement additional safety and sanitation protocols to protect park staff and visitors and encourage social distancing. All boaters are encouraged to bring their own life jacket or approved personal floatation device (PFD).



KAYAK & SUP RENTALS · BRING YOUR OWN


Stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) and kayaks are rented at the office. You will receive a code to unlock your kayak. The price for a kayak or SUP is $30 per day plus tax. Rental includes one adult life jacket and one child-size life jacket, and paddles.

Tennessee state law requires that properly sized Coast Guard Approved Personal Floatation Device (PFD) must be onboard each vessel. Non-swimmers must wear a PDF at all times. Children under the age of 13 must wear a PFD and be accompanied by an adult at all times. Each kayak is 10 feet long and is designed to accommodate one person up to 275 pounds. Standup paddleboards can support one rider up to 225 pounds.


NBF WATER TRAIL

GPS Coordinates: 36.089027, -87.970339 
VIEW MAP

Directions to Access Point: Upon entering the park on TN 191 N, proceed to the intersection of TN 191 and Lakefront Rd. Turn right onto Lakefront Rd. Along this road, there are two boat ramps and two boat-in access areas. Each gravel boat ramp and put-in area can accommodate approximately 10 vehicles. No overnight parking except at designated primitive campsites. 

Trail Description: Put-in at either of the state park boat ramps and paddle south or (upstream). This route lies along the Cypress Creek channel and receives traffic from fishing and recreational watercraft that may travel at speeds generating a wake. Occasional high winds and moderate current during times of heavy runoff may also be a concern. The waters around the park are widely regarded among the best fishing territory on Kentucky Lake. Bass, crappie, catfish, bream, and shellcrackers are common catches. Fishermen here have their pick of shallow coves, banks, and deeper channels.

You will also see a rich variety of waterfowl, natural features such as the prominent Fossil Point and Pilot Knob, as well as creeks and manmade structures including the N.C. and St.L. Railroad Bridge substructure.

If you stray from the bank just a bit you will be able to view Pilot Knob, a prominent ridge and navigational landmark used by river captains for hundreds of years. This high ridge overlooking the western side of the lake from an elevation of 659’ is the focal point of the park and features an observation deck and museum. As you travel further south, you will pass a large rock outcropping. This formation is known as Fossil Point and is comprised of Rockhouse Limestone. It is named for the rich abundance of fossil formations found in the stone. These are primarily fossilized aquatic plants, such as crinoids. This point is also a great fishing area thanks to its proximity to Cypress Creek channel and the abundance of willow flies that provide a top-water feast for bass late in the summer.

The primary accessible cultural feature is the N.C. & St. L. Railroad Trestle Bridge substructure. This bridge once spanned the TN River from (Old) Johnsonville to Eva. Railroad commerce caused these areas to flourish with passenger, freight, and mail cars running daily. The remnants of the bridge are located near Eva Beach, appearing like an island across KY Lake. Adjacent to the Eva boat ramp there is an interpretive wayside that gives the history of the bridge and the Eva Depot and features a replica of a bridge section, a mail crane, a railroad bed, and a signal light. Additional cultural features along the trail include the Battle of Johnsonville site, Trail of Tears (Benge Route and Water Route), and the Eva Archaic Site. These features have been completely inundated by KY Lake, however further information can be obtained at the TN River Folklife Center atop Pilot Knob located at 2875 Pilot Knob Road. You can take-out at the Eva beach boat ramp or turn around and paddle downstream back to the park access where you put in.