There is an abundance of wonderful state parks in Tennessee. From Chickasaw in the west to Warriors' Path in the east, no matter where you live there's guaranteed to be a state park nearby waiting to be explored.
Some of Tennessee's most popular state parks include Fall Creek Falls and Cumberland Mountain. While both of these parks offer endless things to see and do, they also overshadow some of Tennessee's other lesser-known parks that are equally as beautiful.
Take Hiwassee Ocoee Scenic River State Park for instance, it is one of Tennessee's least visited parks. Located in the southeast corner of the state, it is home to many miles of hiking trails, the Hiwanese River, picnic areas, fields covered in wildflowers, and it is totally worthy of your next Tennessee outdoor adventure.
Both the Ocoee and Hiwassee Rivers are popular destinations for white water rafting. And although many people travel through these bodies of water each year, very few spend time in the park that surrounds them.
Rafting is popular because the river here contains Level I all the way up to Level V rapids that make for exceptional rafting conditions. Just be sure you are a skilled rafter or have a guide if you're looking to make your way down the river. Even in seemingly placid-looking spots can still pose a threat to those who are unprepared.
If rafting isn't your thing, there are plenty of other ways to explore this state park. The John Muir Trail is known to twist its way throughout the river gorge so you can take in all the scenic water views without getting wet. This moderate 16-mile trail loop offers plenty of peace and quiet and it is unlikely you'll pass many other hikers while you're here. You'll be surrounded by lush forest trees, the gorgeous Hiwassee River, and wildlife.
If you're looking to reconnect with nature by spending a night at the park, The Gee Creek primitive tent campground offers almost 50 campsites complete with a table, grill, and fire ring. Known for being super clean and peaceful, the park is a serene location to be in late at night as the sounds of the river flowing will gently lull you to sleep. These campgrounds are situated next to the Cherokee National Forest, a beautiful area of land filled with rolling hills, streams, waterfalls, and tons of natural beauty.
Hiwassee Ocoee Scenic River State Park is also home to tons of wildlife and is an excellent place to spot blue herons and bald eagles. For a full list of bird species that call this park home, be sure to reference the official flyer here.
The summer and spring months are the best time to visit the park if you're looking to see beautiful blooms. The hiking trails and picnic areas are home to brightly colored Trillium, Virginia Bluebells, and Sagebrush Violets.
If you haven't already, be sure to plan your visit to Hiwassee before the summer ends. Completely free to visit any time, you can find this state park located at 404 Spring Creek Road in Delano.