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Just seven miles away from the small town of Wartburg is a craggy and wooded paradise for mountaineers, RV campers, and bird watchers called Frozen Head State Park. The park encompasses nearly 24,000 acres and is named after the snow-capped peaks of the Cumberland Mountains.
The lower section of the park is comprised of mesophytic forest characterized by maple, tulip poplar, hemlock, and oak trees, whereas the upper slopes mainly consist of chestnut oaks and shortleaf pines. However, in spite of the natural beauty and tranquil surroundings, there's a strange and unnerving echo lingering on the land. The reason for this is the park’s history, as it used to be a maximum-security prison where truly violent individuals were kept locked up.
Luckily, the park’s dark history doesn't affect the appreciation and popularity it receives today, and it's one of the most visited retreats in the state of Tennessee. Typically, guests like to book an RV in Morgan County so they can visit the park and explore this part of Tennessee once they're done camping. The cities of Sunbright and Coalfield are just 20 to 30 minutes away from the park, so renting an RV in either of these locations will make it easy for you to access the recreation area.
One of the reasons families frequent the park is for its education program. The program is both engaging and insightful, offering opportunities to enjoy an inspiring hands-on learning experience. The program teaches participants about Tennessee history, life and water cycles, geography, geology, and map reading. Hiking is another favorite pastime at the park, with over 50 miles of trails leading past small cascades and rocky outcrops.
Frozen Head State Park campers also take time to visit one of the more iconic landmarks in Morgan County: Stonecipher-Kelly House. This is one of the oldest houses in the state and was named after Ezra Stonecipher. Ezra came from a family of German immigrants who fought during the American Revolution. They received the land as a reward for their service, where Ezra constructed the house. You'll learn about the area's position on a trading route which linked Knoxville and Nashville, and how the location helped the family become a wealthy pillar of the local community.
Birdwatchers who come here usually spend their time looking for some of the rare neotropical migrant birds. The park is a breeding ground for avian species such as cerulean warbler, Acadian flycatcher, northern parula, and blue-gray gnatcatcher. Of course, the list is extensive, as over 140 bird species were spotted here. If you want to take up birding as a hobby, Frozen Head State Park is an ideal place to start.
Although there are multiple campsites, only Big Cove campground accommodates RV camping at Frozen Head State Park. Your RV camper will be in a partially shaded area that boasts several amenities like a picnic table, grill, and fire ring.
Unfortunately, this is a primitive campground, and there are no water or electricity hookups, so you'll have to rely on your generator for power. Amenities include a bathhouse and a source of drinking water as well as a basin where you can wash dishes. You can reserve your site online or via phone up to a whole year in advance. The campsites' parking spaces vary in size, but the maximum RV length is 67 feet.
If you need to go shopping, eat out, refill your tank, or just want to see more urban areas of the state of Tennessee, you can drive to Wartburg. Wartburg has a number of shops and gas stations, and a modest selection of restaurants. Here, you can mostly expect to find burgers, pizza, and fast food joints, as well as Mexican and Japanese. For a wider selection and more populated places, try either Oak Ridge or Knoxville.
Should the road take you to Oak Ridge, use the chance to visit the city's museum of science and energy. The showcased exhibits tell the tale of The Manhattan Project, sharing insights into the tech used for national security and much more. The museum also has a full events schedule, so chances are good you'll find something fun and informative to experience during your visit.
In addition to the science museum, you should also drop by Oak Ridge Art Center. The center boasts a world-class collection from both regional and international artists. The centerpiece attractions of the museum are the abstract expressionism works of Mary and Alden Gomez. In addition to the exhibits, you can also participate in workshops or take art classes.
On the other hand, if you love animals, then you'll be in for a treat once get to Knoxville. Knoxville Zoo is a great place to visit, especially if you're traveling with your kids. Lions, tigers, elephants, monkeys, giraffes, hornbills, and a lot more animal species are kept here, and you'll be able to see them up close. The zoo also has education programs, encounter events, and shows.