Set in one of the most scenic environments, Cove Lake State Park lies on the Cumberland Plateau and boasts being a home of adventure. Located in East Tennessee, the park is nestled in the foothills of the iconic mountains on all sides, giving it an awesome backdrop. From Cumberland Valley, on which the 673-acre park lays, you can see Cross Mountain standing at 3,534 feet tall. Devil's Racetrack, a western tip of the vast Cumberland Mountain, can be seen from multiple points within the park on a clear day. On the parks northern end, you can feast your eyes on the beauty of Fork Mountain.
Conveniently located near Caryville, this park attracts RV campers from far and wide due to its magnificent scenery, birding adventures, and hiking expeditions. There is more than enough to see and enjoy in Cove Lake State Park, from swimming to outdoor games in its spacious sports courts.
Nature enthusiasts can enjoy the wide variety of fauna and flora to be found in the woodlands and wetlands around the lake. Year-round, you'll be able to see a variety of birds; some live here, others nest and some stop by while migrating. The hiking trails are easy to walk and are a great way to explore the areas around the lake. A section of the challenging Cumberland Trail passes along the western side of the park and visitors can pick it up near the Volunteer Trail. No matter when you visit, you will be blown away by the breathtaking landscape and thrilling activities that Cove Lake State Park has in store.
Cove Lake State Park even features an on-site BBQ. At Rickards Ridge BBQ, you get to test your taste buds. With delicious cuisine, experienced chefs, and amazing views from the deck, this restaurant cannot be missed. Occasionally this BBQ holds live musical performances, concerts, and arts festivals, especially on weekends. The Louie Bluie Festivals happens here in October every year. You can enquire at the Visitor Center for more information on the events scheduled during your stay.
Norris Dam State Park, just 10 miles to the southeast of Cove Lake State Park, is another great park to add to your RV route. While you are in the area, explore the multi-use trails and enjoy some recreational boating on Lake Norris.
Cove Lake State Park lies approximately 30 miles north of Knoxville. You can easily find it just a few miles off Interstate 75 on TN-63 towards Jacksboro. The highways in this area are wide and easy to navigate with an RV or trailer. Because the park is nestled between residential areas, there are many restaurants and stores in the area. If you don't find what you are looking for on the Appalachian Highway, you can drive to the nearby town of Carryville.
Roads within the park are mostly loops, making it easy to turn around at any time. The park layout is quite simple, and you'll easily be able to find your way around, even without a park map!
There are several parking areas throughout the park. The biggest parking area is at the swimming pool, with ample space for RVs. You'll find parking wherever you'd like to set up for the day, whether it is near the pavilions, restaurant, or at the various trailheads. There is additional space in the playground area for picnickers. Campers can park their RV at their campsite and make use of the paved walkway to walk or cycle around the park.
On the northern section of Cove Lake State Park, you will find a pet-friendly and big rig friendly campground with Jupiter trees, white pines, and oaks scattered around. The park has 106 campsites that can accommodate RV, trailers, and few tents. There are only four tent-specific sites, though tents can be pitched on all campsites.
This family-friendly park is more geared towards RV camping since all sites have water and 20- and 30-amp electric hookups. Most of the campsites can accommodate RVs up to 50 feet long. There are a handful of campsites that can accommodate RVs up to 60 feet long, including one that is ADA-accessible. All five of the ADA-accessible campsites have 50-amp electric hookups.
Pets are welcome, but dogs should always be on a leash and are restricted from accessing buildings. Cell service is available but there is no Wi-Fi. Firewood should be purchased within the park. You're also welcome to use any downed wood that you collect within the park to fuel your campfire.
Cove Lake State Park is clean and well-maintained with plenty of play areas for kids. Amenities at the campground include a dump station, picnic tables, fire pits, grills, and two bathhouses with hot showers. Reservations can be made up to one year advance. The maximum camping stay is 14 days. The campground is open year-round, but Loops B and C close during the winter months. During the winter months, Loop A only has electric hookups and water hookups are not available. All winter long you'll still be able to enjoy the facilities of the heated bathhouse in this loop.
Whenever you take an RV trip to Cove Lake State Park, you can be sure to encounter different bird species. In the winter, the lake is crowned with an increase of migratory birds including Canada geese, bald eagles, and sparrows. Other commonly spotted waterbirds on the lake shores include waterfowls, herons, and ducks. However, birds are not just restricted to the water. There are many more birds nesting in the park's forest such as songbirds, hawks, and pine warblers. Nocturnal birds such as owls are native to this park as well.
If you'd like to enjoy your lunch outdoors, this state park features a picnic area close to some of the most scenic trails. You can easily set up in one spot for the day! There are many open and nicely shaded picnic areas. Amenities within the day-use area include picnic tables and grills. For larger groups, there are six covered picnic shelters that can accommodate 50 to 65 people. These shelters are open to reservations for up to one year in advance.
If you are into sports, Cove Lake State Park offers multiple recreational sports facilities. Make sure you pack your sporting gear in your camper so you can play your favorite games. Located between the pavilions in the picnic area and the recreation building are different fields including tennis and volleyball courts. The park's tennis courts are one of the most popular places during the summer. Horseshoe pits and badminton fields are also available. There is lots of space for little ones to run around and get rid of energy while the whole family has fun together.
Cove Lake State Park is a fishing hot spot in the county. The centrally located 210-acre Cove Lake is a habitat for bluegills, bass, and crappie. Anglers can fish from the shore or the rental Jon boats. A valid Tennessee fishing license is mandatory for anglers above 13 years of age. The lake is beautifully picturesque. You're guaranteed to enjoy a peaceful day of fishing while you wait for those big bites, especially during the summer months.
Cove Lake State Park features an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a kid's wading pool. Open during the summer months, this is a great place to cool down whether you're an avid swimmer or not. To ensure the safety of swimmers, the pool is always manned by lifeguards. Camping guests can use the pool at a discounted price. The park offers rental boats all year round too. RV visitors can also bring their own boats, canoes, and kayaks. It is worth noting that privately owned watercraft require a daily launch fee.
With trails cutting through the varied landscapes, it is easy to navigate Cove Lake State Park on foot once you park your rig. Eleven miles of the lengthy and strenuous Cumberland trail originates at Bruce Gap Trailhead, passing through the park and offering a great opportunity for those craving for a challenging hike. Hikers interested in this route should carry enough drinking and wear well-fitting hiking shoes. If you are a beginner, or not a fan of long hikes, then the one-mile Beavers Workshop Trail is perfect for you. Finally, there are just over three miles of a paved multi-use trail open to cyclists, joggers, and hikers.