Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, in Tennessee and Kentucky, offers adventurous visitors fantastic opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and whitewater paddling on the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. Wildflowers, wildlife, breathtaking scenery and historic structures beckon you to get out and explore.

The rugged terrain didn't stop early settlers from exploring and inhabiting the Cumberland Plateau. Place names like No Business, Difficulty, and Troublesome speak volumes about the hardy people that persevered to establish communities, including stores, churches and schools to serve these early homesteaders. Later, commercial logging and coal mining drew people to the Big South Fork area. Hundreds of people lived in the Blue Heron Community on the banks of the Big South Fork. The National Park Service has re-created the Blue Heron community, and interpretive displays and audio help tell the story of the people who lived and worked in the isolated coal mining town.

If You Go

A favorite hike during low water is the Honey Creek Loop. This challenging 5.5-mile hike takes you over boulders, through narrow squeezes and box canyons, past rock shelters and waterfalls, and up 30-foot ladders for spectacular views out over the Big South Fork. It is not recommended to hike this fantastic loop after heavy rainfall or during heavy freezes, as there are numerous creek crossings and narrow, steep areas on the trail.

—Ann Froschauer









June 26, 2014

RIP Howard Baker, and thank you for ensuring that this beautiful area will be here for many generations to enjoy. Howard Baker was instrumental in passing the bill thru Congress to create the Big South Fork River and Recreation Area.

Save the Beauty

November 4, 2012

Few visitors realize that these spectacular gorges would have been inundated under hundreds of feet of water had it not been for concerted citizen action that defeated the Devils Jumps Dam and succeeded in passing legislation that ensured protection of the area under the National Park Service.

kayakin girl

October 18, 2012

This is my favorite park in the entire USA! I'v been kayaking and canoeing this fantastic river since I was a youngster in the 60's & 70's,and still do to this day !!!


October 6, 2012

I'v hiked this area many times .... peaceful and beautiful river gorge.


October 4, 2012

My husband and I love to camp at Bandy Creek. The sites are fairly large and private with trees and other flora dividing the camp sites. The bath houses are clean and there is a dishwashing station at the bath house. If you love camping, nature and just being outdoors, this is the place to go!


November 10, 2011

Appears to be a wonderful place to visit


November 10, 2011

Love the natural beauty and the friendly people here. The camping is reasonable and the peace and quiet is so restful.

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