Located on the Tims Ford Reservoir, Tims Ford State Park is a highly desirable recreational spot for RVers who love activities on the water. Boating, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing are just a few of the many water activities available for visiting campers. Just an hour and a half south of Nashville, the park is regarded as having one of the top recreational and bass fishing lakes in the area.
In addition to its many aquatic options, Tims Ford State Park also offers guests scenic-lake views, a gorgeous open golf course, and over 30 miles of trails for hiking and biking. Patrons can participate in a variety of organized activities or sit lakeside and enjoy the preserved-natural habitat.
Because the park is one of Tennessee’s highly-recognized "Go Green With Us" parks, many of the facilities operate using energy-efficient lights and sustainable materials. The park makes a point of using only eco-friendly practices meant to enhance the park’s ecosystem and stimulate natural growth. In addition to these conservation efforts, Tims Ford State Park also seeks to help eradicate invasive pests by allowing only heat-treated wood campfires inside of the park.
Tims Ford State Park is located approximately two hours northwest of Chattanooga, Tennessee and two hours southeast of Nashville. The park is situated along Tims Ford Reservoir and has a hilly terrain. Campers will want to drive slowly as the hills can make it difficult to see oncoming vehicles and turns.
Campers should also note the separate locations of the two different campgrounds. The Fairview Campground is located approximately eight miles from the park’s main entrance and permits larger RVs up to 65 feet, while the Main Campground inside of the park can only accommodate RVs up to 40 feet, except for two ADA-accessible sites that can hold rigs up to 70 feet long. Bicycles are also allowed throughout the park, and campers can easily travel on foot using the trail system.
North of the main park is Turkey Creek, which has a total of 10 primitive campsites available by reservation only. These campsites are all perfectly suited to tent camping with flat and grassy surfaces. Each site varies in the number of trees surrounding it, so some sites are shadier than others. There are no electric or water hookups at Turkey Creek. Visitors will need to make sure that they bring all of the necessary supplies with them. There is a limit of two tents to each campsite. Park staff asks that guests practice "Leave No Trace" and make sure to gather all trash and belongings before leaving the campsite.
The Main Campground is open year-round and has a total of 52 campsites available by reservation only. Each site has water hookups and 30-amp electrical hookups, and four of the campsites also offer sewer hookups. A dump station is available near the campground entrance for self-contained RVs.
The sites vary in size, but most can accommodate RVs up to 30 or 40 feet in length. There are two also ADA-compliant spots with larger spaces that can fit RVs up to 70 feet long. Each of the sites has a fire ring, grill, and a picnic table. There are two heated bathhouses with showers and toilets. The year-round camp store nearby sells many different supplies for campers who may have forgotten something at home or who find themselves running short.
The maximum stay permitted is up to 14 days anytime from March through November. Longer stays up to 28 days are allowed during the months of December, January, and February.
For campers who desire a more isolated stay, camping beside the lake at the Fairview Campground is the perfect solution. This campground is located eight miles outside of the park with a total of 82 campsites that are open year-round.
The sites range in size and are able to accommodate rigs from 35 to 65 feet long. Water and electrical hookups of 20, 30, and 50 amps are available at each site. Thirty-one sites also have sewer hookups available. For those sites that do not come equipped with sewer hookups, a convenient dump station is centrally located within the campground. All campsites have a table, grill, fire ring, and Wi-Fi is also available.
Reservations during the peak season for sites 1-18 are auctioned off to potential visitors at the end of March. The remaining sites are available by reservation only. The maximum stay permitted is up to 14 days anytime from March to November. Longer stays up to 28 days are allowed from December to February.
For campers who are seeking more of the comforts of home, Tim Fords State Park offers 20 deluxe cabins available by reservation only. These cabins are located alongside Tims Ford Lake and provide stunning views of some of the most beautiful scenery that the park has to offer. Each cabin has a two-bedroom, one-bath floor plan and comes equipped with all major appliances, basic cooking utensils, and fresh linens. Only select cabins are pet-friendly, so visitors with pets will want to be sure that they reserve a cabin that meets their needs.
A hike-in primitive campsite, the Evans Loop Backcountry campsite is located approximately six miles into the Evans Loop trail and offers hikers a beautiful place to spend the night after a day of hiking. The campsite does not have any electric or water hookups, so guests will need to make sure they have all the supplies they will need before hiking to it. Park staff asks that guests practice Leave No Trace and take all trash with you when you leave the campsite. The campsite is available by reservation only.
Tims Ford State Park has a total of six small islands on which visitors can camp. These campsites are only accessible through the water and are primitive campsites without any amenities. Guests will need to paddle-in any supplies that they may need. Park staff asks that guests practice "Leave No Trace" and make sure to gather all trash and belongings before leaving the campsite.
Visitors who love to swim but prefer pool water more than lake water will enjoy the seasonally-operated Olympic size pool. The pool, located near the cabins and the boat dock launch, is a place the whole family can enjoy. During operating hours, the pool has Red Cross-certified lifeguard staff monitoring the activity in the water. Hours and operation are subject to change.
When the weather is warm, one of the best places to be is in the water. Water enthusiasts have many choices when it comes to water activities at Tims Ford. Visitors can bring their own boats and access any of the eight public boat ramps or visit one of the two leased marinas and rent paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and a variety of other boats. Both marinas offer boating amenities such as gas and boat launches, as well as a snack bar or a restaurant. Please check with the park for seasonal operational dates and times.
Bird watchers will love the area around Tims Ford State Park because of the many different bird species that occupy various sections of the park. Just past the Visitor Center, there are meadows on either side of the road. Indigo Buntings, as well as Field Sparrows, often frequent these meadows. Near the Spann House Trail, visitors have reported seeing and hearing barred owls, and near the Marble Plains overlook, visitors have spotted both herons and bald eagles.
The trail system at Tims Ford State Park is extensive and combines hiking and biking trails on both natural and paved surfaces. The trails connect to all of the major park areas and range from lakeside trails to more tree-lined and wooded trails. Bikers and hikers will find paths suitable for every skill level. Pet lovers don’t have to worry about leaving their pups at camp because leashed dogs are welcome on all of the trails. Please note that children under the age of 16 must wear a helmet when biking. Pick up a park map to discover more trail details.
The 18-hole Jack Niklaus Signature golf course situated atop a peninsula in the lake is one of the many reasons people from all around visit Tims Ford State Park. The course, the Bear Trace at Tims Ford, is a uniquely-styled course with varying landscapes and gold tees that attract golfers year-round. It features lakeside holes that provide a stunning background for any golfer’s game. The course has a short-order grill that operates seasonally. Interested golfers should call for tee times.
The Lakeview Marina offers year-round fishing for anglers who fish in any weather. Even though the lake is known for its striped bass, anglers can anticipate catching crappie, catfish, bluegill, and even largemouth bass. After a day full of fishing, visitors can head to the cleaning station at the Lakeview Marina to prepare their fish for dinner. For those who prefer to fish from a boat, boat rentals are available at the Lakeview Marina year-round.