Big Ridge State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Surrounded by amazing views of the Appalachian Ridge-and-Valley range, Big Ridge State Park is a nature lover's dream, offering 3,687 acres of elongate ridges, fertile streams valleys, spectacular hardwood trees, and bright greenery. Located in Maynardville, Tennessee, this state park is a must for your next RV adventure. You'll have endless moments for outdoor recreation in a unique valley landscape. From hiking and swimming to birding and fishing, Big Ridge State Park offers a variety of outdoor excursions.

The mountain and valley views of Big Ridge State Park are jaw-dropping, highlighting the three ridge systems that come together and offer amazing lake views and spectacular scenery. You will love soaking in the mountain air while being surrounded by oak, hickory, tuliptree, and basswood trees. There are numerous species of birds in the park and tons of wildlife, from beaver to white-tailed deer. History buffs will love the opportunity to place their eyes on Sharp's Station monument at the end of the Sharp's Station Trail.

Once you park your RV at Big Ridge State Park you can wander out on one of the many trails located throughout the park. For the naturalist, venture out onto Big Valley Trail, where you are able to see pink lady's slippers, yellow star grass, crested dwarf iris, and other native flowers. Big Ridge State Park is a perfect RV destination no matter what time of year you visit.

RV Rentals in Big Ridge State Park

Transportation in Big Ridge State Park

Driving

Big Ridge State Park is easy to access by RV or car, since it is located in Maynardville, TN, off of State Route 61. Local roads will take you anywhere you wish to go in the park, from the Visitor Center and Park Office to the campgrounds and trails. There are no driving restrictions for trailers or RVs in the park, so you will be able to get around easily, whether you're in your rig or another vehicle.

There are numerous options for parking RVs and trailers, with three lots in the park. You'll be able to locate spots at the Visitor Center and Park Office, picnic shelter, and laundromat. Of course, you can also park at the campground if you are staying overnight.

If you have your walking shoes, take a quick stroll around the quarter-mile Ole Mill Trail where you can view spectacular greenery the park has to offer.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Big Ridge State Park

Campsites in Big Ridge State Park

Reservations camping

Backcountry Camping

If you are planning on camping in the backcountry on your RV trip to Big Ridge State Park, you can stay at backcountry campsites that will provide you with a deep inside view of the park. You can choose one of the three campsites that are located on the over 15 miles of hiking trails within the park. There is no hiking allowed after dark and you will need to plan in advance for your water needs. There are free trail maps at the park office with these campsite locations marked. Your receipt is your permit so ensure you carry it with you at all times. Each site has a fire spot with a rock fire ring, but there is no grill grate. Make sure you bring your waste with you or dispose of it at one of the park's trash containers.

Big Ridge State Park Campground

Big Ridge State Park offers 50 pet-friendly campsites available for tent and RVs year round. The campsites are all at the Big Ridge Campground. These campsites provide access to water and 50-amp electrical hookups. Amenities at this campground include three bathhouses with restrooms, hot showers, and a dumping station and each site has a paved or soft gravel pad, picnic table, and grill.

RVs up to 35 feet long are permitted, however, some sites are on a slight incline. You can relax under the relaxing shade of hardwoods all around you. A few campsites even offer gorgeous lakefront views of Norris Lake. You'll be near the trails and a playground. Bathhouses #2 and #3 are closed from November to March. You can stay up to 28 days at a time. Reservations can be made up to one year in advance.

First-come first-served

First-Come, First-Served

There are no first-come, first-served campgrounds available at this state park.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Big Ridge State Park

In-Season

Fishing

If you are an avid fisherman, you will love the chance to cast your reel at Big Ridge State Park. The state park has the 49-acre Big Ridge Lake that offers excellent fishing for bass. The minimum size of Black Bass is 14 inches. Should you need to rent a jon boat you may do so at the boat dock.

Swimming

Big Ridge Lake Park is a great place for you to bring your swimsuit and head out into Big Ridge Lake. Once you park your RV you can hang out on the sandy beach that offers free swimming. There is an enclosed, bottom area for children. No lifeguard is on duty and swimming is at your own risk.

Hiking

You'll want to ensure you pack great hiking boots in your rig since there are 10 hiking trails to pick from at Big Ridge State Park that vary in difficulty. If you are out for an easy stroll or leisurely hike, check out Lake Trail. This is a half-mile loop that will take you near the lake shore with beautiful views. Should a more difficult hike thrill you, trek over to the three-mile Dark Hollow Trail, which will take you through the valleys to Norris Lake.

Off-Season

Picknicking

Bring your large group to Big Ridge State Park and hold your special event, lunch, or just dinner in one of the four picnic shelters located in the park. The minimum capacity at each one is 25. You will find picnic tables and a grill at the shelters, with one offering restroom facilities.

Birding

Big Ridge Lake State Park is home to numerous species of birds, so you will want to ensure you have your binoculars in your RV. Some of the many birds you may catch a glimpse of include Bald Eagles, Herons, and Kingfishers. Common Loons may be seen on Norris Lake. Other spots great for birding include all of the park trails.

Exploring Historical Ruins

Big Ridge State Park features a prominent historical feature, the Norton Gristmill, which is just waiting to be explored during your RV adventurous trip. You'll be able to view the original mill race and millstones. There is also a plaque that marks the site of the 1794 ambush of Peter Graves. Should you wish for more history, trek out to a monument that represents Sharp's Station.

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