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Rock Island State Park

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General Information

Rock Island Spring House
Copyright: - Tennessee State Parks
Rock Island Spring House
Description - The scenic beauty of this wooded park is dominated b the Great Falls of the Caney Fork River- an imposing limestone gorge (called a gulf in southern culture.) Located at the confluence of the Collins and Caney Fork Rivers, this 883-acre park has a natural sand beach on Center Hill reservoir.

Attractions - Historic features of the park include a 19th century textile mill and one of Tennessee's early hydroelectric plants. Tours of nearby Big Bone Cave are available by advanced appointment.

Other points of interest are the Cumberland Caverns, Virgin Falls and Burgess Falls.

Recreation - Activities include camping, hiking, boating, fishing, badminton, basketball, horseshoes, ping-pong, playground, softball, tennis courts, volleyball and board games. This park provides a scenic overlook, waterfalls and deep pool fishing, rock-hopping and exploring.

Climate - Tennessee has a temperate climate with short, mild winters. The average annual snowfall for the state is 12 inches. Spring comes in early March bringing flowering trees and shrubs, and warmer weather. Spring temperatures average between 45 and 70 degrees. Summer's full force arrives in the region by mid May, bringing warm weather and higher humidity. The mountains of eastern Tennessee are a great place to escape the hot summer temperatures as the higher elevation cools the air slightly. Cool fall temperatures bring crisp air and brilliant fall colors. Mid to late October is a good time to visit the region to experience the fall foliage.

Location - From Nashville: Take I-40 E to Exit 239, Lebanon/Watertown, and take a right on Hwy. 70 toward Watertown. Proceed for 33 miles until you reach the town of Smithville. Turn right on Hwy. 56 and proceed for 10 miles and take a left on Hwy. 287. Drive 10 miles on Hwy. 287 and the park entrance will be on the left.

From South Nashville or Chattanooga: Take I-24 South from Nashville or I-24 North from Chattanooga and exit at Hwy. 55 in Manchester, the McMinnville/Tullahoma exit. Proceed North on Hwy. 55 toward McMinnville. In McMinnville, Hwy. 55 will turn into the 70S bypass. Continue on the bypass through McMinnville and go 12 miles North of McMinnville and take a left on hwy. 136. Go about 1 mile and take a left on 287 in entrance which will be on the right.

From Knoxville: Take I-40 West to Cookeville and exit at Hwy. 111 in Cookeville. Proceed West on Hwy. 111 through Sparta. Just outside of Sparta take Hwy. 70S. Go approximately 12 miles on 70S and turn right on Hwy. 136. Go about 1 mile and take a left on 287 in Rock Island and proceed for about three miles to the park entrance which will be on the right.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Mike (Mt. Juliet, TN)
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Waterfalls everywhere! Swim and walk through cold, clean water or sit at natural beach. Launch ramps for boats/ fishing. Amazing beauty. Great facilities at park, plenty of restrooms, camping, cabins, hiking trails, etc. Bring your things, no stores nearby....Be prepared to hike to the best swimming holes and waterfalls. Fairly busy with swimmers but not hard to find your own space. HIGHLY recommended if in area and need to cool off or a photo op.

Filed By: Lisa Mallory (Rainbow City, AL)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The park is wonderfull, its peacefull and the rangers are great. We had our family reunion there a few years ago and we are returning this year for another reunion.

Filed By: Brenda
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: THIS IS PARADISE! Accommodations in the park: There are only 10 cabins (one w/handicap access) and a really nice campground. Only a couple of restaurants nearby. No crowds anywhere; mostly locals. Advice: If you don't have a boat, RENT ONE! The lake is AWESOME - resembles a river but with lots of coves with natural waterfalls you can drive up to in your boat. You won't be sorry you went!

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: great waterfalls and wonderful hiking trails.

More Information

Contact Information:
Rock Island State Park, 82 Beach Road , Rock Island, TN, 38581-4200, Phone: 931-686-2471

Additional Information:
Great Falls Reservoir -
Middle Tennessee Region - This region encompasses the middle 1/3 of the state of Tennessee. It includes the Cumberland Plateau area and over 20 state parks and natural areas.
Tennessee State Parks - Tennessee offers over 50 State Parks located throughout the state. These parks provide opportunity for a wide variety of recreational activities from visiting historical sites to whitewater rafting.

Tennessee State Parks - Official Agency Website


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