Exploring Tennessee: Big Ridge State Park

Meteorologist Jacob takes us through the sights and sounds Big Ridge State Park has to offer!
Meteorologist Jacob takes us through the sights and sounds Big Ridge State Park has to offer!
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 3:59 PM EDT|Updated: May. 5, 2023 at 11:19 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Are you looking for a weekend getaway to do a little hiking, camping, or fishing? On this week’s “Exploring Tennessee” we are headed to Big Ridge State Park to see what it has to offer.

Tucked away in the hills of Union County lies 3,687 acres of forest that bears the name Big Ridge State Park. The park has a lot to offer including hiking, camping, fishing and boating and sits on Big Ridge Lake just down from Norris Dam.

Hiking is one of the parks biggest attractions with a number of trails, “We got lots of trails to pick from, believe it’s around 12 miles of trail with the most popular one being the lake trail which connects to a lot of the other trails,” said Josh Powell, a park ranger at Big Ridge.

If you are just starting out and looking for an easy hike, they have those for you, but if you are up for more of a challenge they have those too. Another big draw is in the fall along the Ghost Trail,

“One of my favorite trails is the Ghost House Trail. That trail we do a special on every October around Halloween, where we tells stories of Ghost that are associated with our park.”, said Powell.

For first time hikers Powell suggests taking the Ghost House Trail that winds along the lakeshore and into the hills.

For those who may be new to hiking, it’s important to pay attention to trail color as well as letting someone know where you’ll be going.

“Keep in mind the trail color or the trail blaze, like the Ghost House Trail is yellow. So if you are hiking and see some paint that was the same color you could be lost”, said Powell.

When coming across paths intersecting, it’s also important to note how the junction works; you’ll want to stay with the same trail color that you have been following in order to stay on the right path.

Even better news is if you are looking to make it a long weekend they have cabins for rent so you can stay on park grounds.

“We have 19 cabins, rustic cabins that were built by the Civilian Conservation Core, they are in two categories which are lakeside cabins and the upper cabins”, said Powell.

For those that like to hike and fish, they have just the trail for you, fittingly named the Fisherman’s Trail. You can take this one along the lake and stop to cast a line for a few as you enjoy the beautiful scenery Big Ridge has to offer.

Powell said that more than anything this is a great location to make memories with your family.

“I’ve talked to many people who’ve had special moments, from people getting baptized to married here. Many have cherished memories enjoying picnics in the shelters here with their family members,” said Powell.

Big Ridge State Park is just 40 minutes north of Knoxville and makes a great getaway year-round to enjoy everything East Tennessee has to offer.