Big South Fork National Recreation Area

Big South Fork National Recreation Area is a United States National Recreation Area that straddles the regions of Eastern Tennessee and Kentucky's Daniel Boone Country.


The recreation area consists of 125,000 acres surrounding the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and is managed by the U.S. National Park Service.


Most of the land within the recreation area was owned by the Stearns Coal & Lumber Company. After the decline of decline of the company in the 1960's, efforts by senators from Kentucky and Tennessee to have the area preserved as a national park began. On March 7, 1974 President Nixon signed legislation creating the national recreation area. Between 1974 and 1991 the US Army Corp of Engineers purchased the land for the recreation area and turned over administration to the US National Park Service.


The park is located on the Cumberland Plateau. Geologically this area is characterized by a erosion resistant sandstone cap covering softer layers of sedimentary rock. Over millions of years the streams and rivers of the region have carved deep gorges into the plateau. Water erosion has also formed one of the highest concentrations of natural arches in the eastern United States.

Get in

There are several routes that can be taken to access the park. The four main travel corridors are I-75, I-40, US 127, and KY 92. The gateway cities are Oneida and Jamestown in Tennessee and Stearns in Kentucky.


There are no fees to enter the park.





There is no lodging available within the Big South Fork National Recreation Area, but there are several surrounding cities and parks that offer a variety of options.



Permits are required for backcountry camping. The permits may be purchased at the visitors centers at Bandy Creek and Blue Heron, or purchased through the park website. Prices vary by group size and groups larger than 24 people require special permission. The maximum length of stay is 14 days.

Stay safe

Go next


Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

Daniel Boone National Forest

General Burnside Island State Park

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park


Indian Mountain State Park

Pickett State Park

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 15, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.