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Burgess Falls State Park is a day-use park located northeast of the center of Tennessee. This state park is one of many in the region, and when you book an RV in Putnam County, you’ll be able to explore this park and more. The park is located along Falling Water River, which is known for its numerous waterfalls and gorges. Burgess Falls State Park is built on land that was once used as hunting grounds until the late 19th century, in an area originally populated by Cherokee, Creek, and Chickasaw tribes.
In the late 19th century, a gristmill and sawmill were built to harness the powers of the river, and folks who camp in an RV near Burgess Falls State Park will quickly understand why the river was used to generate power. The powerful waterfalls helped provide hydroelectric power to the nearby city of Cookeville for over a decade, and it wasn’t until 1973 that the park was officially created and protected. Camping with an RV is a fantastic way to explore this area of Tennessee.
There are many activities at Burgess Falls State Park for families and individuals to enjoy. One of the most popular is hiking, and guests seeking challenging hikes will be rewarded after climbing the many miles of trails leading to various waterfalls. There are four waterfalls located within park boundaries, cascading down over 250 feet in elevation. The last waterfall in the sequence is the largest, dropping over 130 feet into a deep gorge.
Fishing is also popular, and one of the best spots to do it in the park is just below the dam. Another popular spot for fishing is at the onsite fishing pier, and both spots require a fishing license to fish from. There are no public boat ramps to access this part of the river from Burgess Falls State Park, and guests who want to cast a line should check with local rangers to find out the best bait and lures to use.
Seeking out and viewing both flora and fauna in the park is a wonderful way to spend the day when you RV camping at state parks nearby. The Native Butterfly Garden, which is near the upper parking area, has plenty of diverse wildflowers to appreciate during the blooming seasons. Depending on the weather, this garden area is also often graced with hummingbirds and butterflies, so tread carefully and be sure to bring your camera.
Unfortunately, there are no state park RV campgrounds located within Burgess Falls State Park, but campers with a rental RV can head south to Big Puckett’s Campground and RV Park to stay one night or many. This large RV campground has many different sites to choose from and depending on what you are looking for, there is everything from primitive RV sites to full hookup sites that allow 100 foot RVs. Many types of sites between these extremes are also available, depending on guest count and season.
This RV campground welcomes all bikers and is founded on the idea of providing a place for bikers to stop and rest. All campers can also enjoy a handful of services located right within the RV park. There is a dog walk and dog park, a patio that often has live music, an ice cream parlor, a sandwich shop, a general store, and a relaxation room for quiet activities. Be sure to book your campsite ahead of time once you know your dates, as sites at this popular RV campground may fill up fast.
Cookeville, which is northeast of Burgess Falls State Park, is home to the Tennessee Tech University campus. Although this is a small university, it still helps bring more diverse restaurants to town, so expect to find plenty of unique and fun places to eat. Cookeville is also home to a few museums worth exploring, including the Cookeville History Museum, the Cookeville Children’s Museum, and the Cookeville Depot Museum. All of these museums are near one another, so parking your RV and walking around this part of town is a great way to see them all.
While exploring on foot, be sure to swing by some of the local restaurants to grab a bite to eat. Near the museums, you’ll find a number of local pubs that serve food, some Italian restaurants, a few cafes serving sandwiches, and a small collection of fast-food chains. Cookeville is home to a handful of local tavern-style pubs that brew their own beer and serve homemade soups, sandwiches, and entrees to hungry patrons.
Sparta is another town to check out in the area, with its own collection of museums, modern attractions, restaurants, and more. This town is located south of Cookeville and is a short drive from the park. Of course, if these smaller towns aren’t quite hitting the spot, head about 60 miles west to Nashville for a big city experience.