Old Stone Fort State Park | Outdoorsy

Old Stone Fort State Park
Guide

Introduction

Old Stone Fort State Park is located in Tennessee. Also known as Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park, you can visit this archaeological site and learn more about the Native Americans who resided in the area 1,500 to 2,000 years ago. The park's name comes from a stone structure that was used by European settlers who came to the area hundreds of years after it had been abandoned by Native Americans.

There are many outdoor adventures to be had in this park during your RV trip to TN. In addition to visiting the remnants of the stone fort by hiking on trails, you can view the area's stunning waterfalls and bask in nature's beauty. There are multiple trails that wind through this scenic park, complete with trail markers that provide information about the history of the area.

If history is what you're interested in, there is a museum at Old Stone Fort State Park that you can visit, in addition to visiting the ruins. This features prehistoric Native American history, as well as dioramas about the area. The museum is also connected to the welcome center and gift shop if you'd like to grab some souvenirs.

Old Stone Fort State Park also allows for RV camping. The campground is near the Duck River, which winds throughout the park. In addition to hiking, campers can spend the day fishing or birding. There are plenty of locations throughout the park to go birding, and you might be lucky enough to see the revered wood duck.

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Camping Accommodations

65'
Max RV length
65'
Max trailer Length
Electrical hookup
Water hookup
Generator use
Food storage
Sewer hookup
Dogs & cats

RV Rentals in Old Stone Fort State Park

Transportation

Driving

Old Stone Fort State Park is located off of I-24 in Manchester, Tennessee, within a few minutes of the downtown, providing easy access to restaurants and a swimming pool. Even though you'll feel like you're stepping back in time at the park, you're never too from civilization. The park is roughly halfway between Nashville and Chattanooga, which are both just an hour away in opposite directions. If you need groceries or supplies, the big town of Murfreesboro is just 30 minutes away.

The campground is across the river from the entrance and Visitor Center, and there is a check in station at the entrance to the campground. Keep in mind that there is a narrow one-way bridge that you have to cross in order to reach the campground; check with the park on height and weight restrictions. The campsites are separated by a forested area that provides plenty of privacy. The campsites are located on circular drives that you'll have to navigate with your vehicle.

Old Stone Fort State Park allows up to six people to camp at each site, and you can trek easily from the campsites to the water of the Duck River and Little Duck River, where you can go fishing. You can also easily access the trails that will allow you to explore the ruins, view the waterfalls, and experience nature.

At the park, you are allowed to use golf carts to get around. However, you must hold a valid driver's license, and the vehicle can only be driven on paved roads. In addition, the park has several ADA-accessible facilities, including specific campsites, a bathhouse, laundry facilities, and a picnic shelter.

Parking

The main parking lots are located at the Park Office/Visitor Center and the picnic area. If you want to walk on the nature trails that will take you to the ruins and the waterfalls, the closest parking lot is at the Park Office/Visitor Center.

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Old Stone Fort State Park

Campsites in Old Stone Fort State Park

Reservations camping

Manchester KOA

Enjoy all that the Great Smoky Mountains region has to offer, but without the crowds. Manchester KOA is nestled in the beautiful Cumberland Plateau, which extends all the way beyond the Great Smokies, and the surrounding scenery is breathtaking. Visit caves, waterfalls, natural bridges, and nature trails, all in your “backyard.” Whether you’re spending just one night or making this your destination, the Manchester KOA is an award-winning space where you can have fun and relax, with mini-golf, on-site fishing, a dog park for the pups, bicycle rentals, a pool and hot tub, and more! Cook a meal in the Kamping Kitchen, or get involved with one of the many organized events held frequently at Manchester KOA. Wi-Fi and cable TV are available, and you can keep the fires burning with on-site propane and firewood available for purchase.

Old Stone Fort State Park Campground

Old Stone Fort State Park offers camping at one of its 51 campsites. These offer electrical and water hookups, with specific campsites for RVs and camping trailers. Most sites can fit a rig up to 50 feet long, but some can handle RVs up to 65 feet. Each site is back-in and provides an asphalt pad, although most are on a slight incline, so keep that in mind. Most sites offer plenty of shade and privacy, which is especially nice during those hot southern summers.

If you want to cook up some delicious home-cooked meals while you're on the road, you're more than welcome to use the grills and picnic tables at your site or in the campground. The kids can let off from steam at the nearby playground as well. Two nature trails start near the campground if you want to do a little exploring. Within the area, there is also a pavilion that can be reserved for large group gatherings. There is a dumping station that is open year-round and two restroom facilities. No showers are available if you stay during the off-season.

You'll have to cross a narrow one-way bridge to access the campground, so check with the park on height and weight restrictions before you make your reservations. The park allows a maximum of six people at each campsite, with exceptions needing to be made in advance for immediate families. Otherwise, you'll have to reserve multiple campsites.

Alternate camping

Other State Park Campgrounds

If you weren't able to reserve a spot at Old Stone Fort State Park Campground, don't fret, as there's plenty of other state park campgrounds within about an hour of the park.

The closest is Tims Ford State Park at just 25 miles away. Tims Ford State Park offers plenty of recreation like golfing, hiking, and biking. Rigs up to 70 feet long can be accommodated within its two RV campgrounds, which offer some sites with electrical, water, and sewer hookups. There are many other camping options here as well, including tent camping, paddle-in sites, backcountry camping, and cabins.

South Cumberland State Park is a prime destination for rock climbers and is roughly 30 miles from Old Stone Fort State Park. With 90 miles of hiking trails and over 30,000 acres to explore, there is a lot to see and do here. This park offers primitive campsites that can fit small RVs.

If you can't get enough views of waterfalls and gorges, head to Rock Island State Park, which is 42 miles from Old Stone Fort State Park. Rock Island State Park is incredibly beautiful and offers plenty of aquatic activities like boating, fishing, and whitewater kayaking. The park's campground can fit rigs up to 50 feet long, and some sites feature full hookups.

Another camping option along the Duck River is Henry Horton State Park, which is about 44 miles away. This park is great for the outdoor sportsman or sportswoman with a regular golf course, disc golf course, and a trap and skeet range. It also offers a variety of camping options, including backcountry camping, hammock sites, and an RV campground with electrical and water hookups that can accommodate vehicles up to 75 feet in length.

Seasonal activities in Old Stone Fort State Park

Off-Season

Picnicking

While you're visiting Old Stone Fort State Park, there are opportunities to enjoy a picnic, either with your immediate family or an extended group. The picnic area is located in the middle of the park, offering gorgeous views of the Duck River. You can cook on the grills provided and set up shop on any of the 30 picnic tables. There is one large pavilion that can be reserved in advance for large groups, which holds approximately 40 people. It has multiple grills but no electricity. This location is very close to a playground for children to enjoy, as well as bathrooms. If you want to go paddling on the river, you can also access the small boat launch nearby.

Exploring History

No matter when you visit Old Stone Fort State Park, there's plenty for history buffs to enjoy in the area. In addition to the occasional ranger-led educational activities, there is a museum that provides information about the previous Native American inhabitants in the area. There are dioramas, as well as a theater that provides introductory information to visitors. The museum also features materials that have been obtained from archaeological exploration in the area and theories about what the stone fort is thought to have been used for.

Hiking to the Old Stone Fort and Waterfalls

At Old Stone Fort State Park, there are a variety of hiking trails that you can explore during your stay. There is one trail that stands above the rest since it takes you to the main attractions of the park: the Enclosure Trail. This trail will take you about 1.5 miles around the entire perimeter of the Old Stone Fort. You can see the ancient stone walls that still stand as ruins of this once grand structure. But there is plenty more to feast your eyes on. Several beautiful waterfalls will grace your presence as you explore these paths. You always want to keep your eyes peeled for native birds and wildlife too. This trail offers a self-guided journey through history since you will be led by interpretive signs along the way.

In-Season

Ranger-Led Tours

At different times during the year, you can find tours that are led by rangers to educate visitors. These include activities such as a guided tour of the mounds, where visitors are led on a 1.25-mile tour of the prehistoric stone mounds located within the park. In addition to these guided tours, there are educational activities led by park rangers that include demonstrations of tools used in prehistoric Native American life, such as the atlatl.

Birding

Old Stone Fort State Park provides plenty of opportunities for birding enthusiasts to spot our feathered friends. Birding is especially plentiful during the spring and fall migrations, although summer brings with it birds such as the northern parula and red-eyed vireo. There are plenty of trails that provide a great birding experience when you're visiting the park, including the Old Stone Fort Enclosure Trail, where you might be lucky enough to see a Cooper's hawk.

Fishing

Old Stone Fort State Park features plenty of fishing within the Duck River and Little Duck River, a swift-moving river with several areas of waterfalls. You can fish from the banks of the river or even via boat, although gas-powered boats aren't allowed. You will need a Tennessee fishing license to fish in the park, which you can obtain online before your trip. The park features a variety of potential catches, including bream, catfish, and largemouth bass.

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