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Getaway to Pickett State Park, TN for the Weekend

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Stacie L has lived and traveled in many states so she likes to share her experiences with her readers.

Pickett State Park TN

Pickett State Park Sign

Pickett State Park Sign

Swinging Bridge over Pickett Lake

walk the swinging bridge to the island trail in Pickett State park

walk the swinging bridge to the island trail in Pickett State park

Walk among beauty

I often hike and photograph nature on weekends with friends in Kentucky and Tennessee. Pickett State Park has become one of my favorite places to visit. As a matter of fact, I have been there several times during each year and never tire of it. The lush, green foliage along with natural stone and leaf trails is a treat for those who need to get away from the cities and crowds.

It is located in the north central region of Tennessee, just east of highway 127 or west of highway 27, next to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The location is isolated so if you really crave a Taco or fast foods and snacks, you'll have to bring them or travel 12 or more miles to the two closest towns of Jamestown and Allardt.

Natural Bridge in Winter snow

Hiking in the snow showers under Natural Bridge,Pickett State park

Hiking in the snow showers under Natural Bridge,Pickett State park

Hiking Trails

The park has many easy to moderate trails to choose from. It's said to be 58 miles of trails throughout the park. The first one I ever hiked was the one on the Island. One must cross a swinging bridge from the main parking lot near the recreation facility. I remember feeling a little queasy the first time crossing it. Be prepared to hold on especially if others are crossing too.

Another good trail is the one leading to the Natural Bridge. It is very large and I have walked on top of it and was sheltered from the weather beneath it. Hikers can access this trail by highway 154 parking area and then stepping down to the rock arch.

The third interesting trail leads to Indian Rock House and Hazard Cave. They are a little past the Cave steps entrance and on opposite sides of the highway. These structures are massive rock formations so you'll feel quite small standing under them. I like to photograph the different colors in the rock walls and trees growing out of boulders. The cave is deep with stone benches to rest on.


actual ladder climbing down into stream on ladder trail

actual ladder climbing down into stream on ladder trail

Ladder trail

The Ladder Trail is a fun, moderately rated hike that takes visitors along a narrow ridge off the main road and down a wooden ladder into the creek. I didn't do this one all the way due to the colder season but will try next summer.

Update: I did go back and finished the ladder trail. There actually are two ladders to climb into and out of the shallow creek. After climbing down the first ladder, one must either walk a short way through the creek if there was heavy rainfall, or on the bank. I recommend coming on a warm day; it will keep you cool.

Indian Rock House

Arch over Pickett Lake

The arch over Pickett State Park TN

The arch over Pickett State Park TN

The Lake and archway

As a nature photographer I love to capture different aspects of a natural setting. The lake is no exception.

The main body of water in the park is the Pickett Lake. It is a beautiful blue green color most of the year. It's thought that the limestone gives the water its beautiful hues.

Another appealing feature is the archway that water flows under. It is unknown if it was a natural phenomenon or a result of the past, when an active coal mining and logging operation were in business.

I have walked under the archway in the winter when sometimes the water has been drained. It's an eerie sight and feeling walking beneath it. There are different layers and colors and one can see how the geology has changed for many years.

Walking on Frozen Pickett Lake TN

 frozen Pickett Lake this Feb 2014 on a 60 degree day.

frozen Pickett Lake this Feb 2014 on a 60 degree day.

Frozen lake on a warm day

One Sunday afternoon in February, 2014, the lake was frozen solid. Many visitors began taking photos of themselves standing on it. The funny thing about the day was that the temperature shot up to 60 degrees! We walked around in tee shirts, sweating while climbing up on the ridge tops, then shivered along icy trails in the ravines.

Here's a photo of a local visitor standing on it. I wasn't a brave and felt safer snapping the image.

Rowing Under the Arch

rowing under the arch on Pickett Lake

rowing under the arch on Pickett Lake

Rowing in a canoe under the arch is an experience one has to try. There are shelters and arches along the lake around the island as well. When warm weather arrives, boats can be rented so visitors may row around the island and near the dam. The scenery is spectacular!

The Thompson Creek continues on both sides of the lake and many trails have bridges over it or rocks that a hiker must carefully step on to the other side. I have slipped into the creek a few times myself.

Fire Pink

Fire Pink

Showy Orchids

Flora and Fauna

The park is mostly in a wild, untouched stated so you'll see some little beauties along the ground such as Bladderwort, yellow Daisies, Fire Pink, Blue Eyed Mary, Blue Phlox, and Birdfoot Violet, to name a few. The larger abundant shrubbery are Rhododendrons with their large white and pink blooms, and mountain laurels along the islands edge.

The largest plants are the tall pine trees, and many nut bearing and oak trees. I love the pine trees best, as they stay green all year and provide needed shade in the hot summer.

Animals abound in the woods but they are fast and hard to capture with the lens.

I have seen rabbits, birds, squirrels and deer. I have heard a bear once and that suited me just fine.

Stone cabins at Pickett State Park TN

Stone cabins at Pickett State Park TN

Extended Stay

If you wish to take more time to see the park, I suggest you reserve a campsite or a stone cabin. Either is very affordable and will make your visit more pleasant. The park is still in a very natural state, with little paving or cement walkways. As I mentioned before, bring your own food or drive to Jamestown and Allartd for meals and shopping. Be sure to take your camera along with your hikes. You'll see sites that you may never see again.

So this is a brief description of one of my favorite parks in Tennessee. It is a day trip for me so I feel fortunate to be able to visit it often.

Pickett State Park Trails Map

scanned image of Pickett State park trails map

scanned image of Pickett State park trails map


Visiting Pickett State Park,TN

© 2014 Stacie L


Stacie L (author) on March 29, 2016:

Thank you for reading my hub on Pickett park. its one of my favorite places to go!

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on March 27, 2016:

Stacie, thank you for sharing this through your beautiful photography. I would like to visit this park

Our country has so much beauty.

Blessings and Happy Easter

donald fronczak from lansing mi on January 16, 2016:

never been but that is such a beautiful place. your very behave to go on that bridge id be scaried to death.

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on August 26, 2015:

Yeah, this park sure looks like a leisurely place, Ms. Stacie.

I sure would like to try walking on the swinging bridge and rowing under the arch.

What a great way to get close to nature!

Stacie L (author) on July 08, 2015:

Yes, Pickett park is a gemstone. You'll have to spend a weekend checking out all the trails. Thanks for reading.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 08, 2015:

I've never been to that part of the nation but it sure looks pretty. Thanks for the tour.

Stacie L (author) on March 29, 2015:

Pickett Park TN is one of the most beautiful little parks and you should plan a visit this summer. Thank you for reading the hub. ;-)

Cynthia Hoover from Newton, West Virginia on March 28, 2015:

You have captured some beautiful images (feels like an under-statement)! I will be adding to my bucket list! Voted up ++

Stacie L (author) on December 03, 2014:

Thanks for stopping by ladyguitarpicker! This has become one of my favorite parks indeed.

It never disappoints me as well. I need to finish the Hidden passage trail-I think it may be the only one I haven't.


stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on December 02, 2014:

Hi, it is a wonderful park to hike in and never disappoints me. I have a brother that lives near there and I love visiting, Nice hub enjoyed it.

Stacie L (author) on February 28, 2014:

I promise you that you'll love it. It's not crowded and its great to walk the trails in any season!

Sylvia from Corpus Christi, Texas on February 27, 2014:

Family and I drove to Nashville in 1995. We were struck by the beauty of Tennessee and hope to go back one day - possibly even to live. Beautiful! I'd love to see this park!

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