Situated in a remote section of the upper Cumberland Plateau, Pickett CCC Memorial State Park is known for its geological, botanical, and scenic wonders. The park lies within the 19,200-acre Pickett State Forest, and adjacent to the massive 120,000 acre Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, both areas containing prime wilderness country. Visitors to the park can explore large rock houses, natural sandstone bridges, scenic bluffs, and wild mountain streams. Spring brings dazzling displays of wildflowers, summer an abundance of blackberries and wild blueberries, and autumn a patchwork of colors to the countryside. The park memorializes and preserves the unique work of the Civilian Conservation Corps CCC, who first developed the park.
In 1933 the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company donated nearly 12,000 acres of land to the State of Tennessee to be developed as a forest recreational area. Initial development of the area by the Civilian Conservation Corps CCC occurred between 1934 and 1942, it consisted of hiking trails, 5 rustic cabins, a recreation lodge, a ranger station, and a twelve-acre lake. Many of the original buildings were constructed of native sandstone rock that the “CCC boy’s” quarried from the nearby forest. These beautifully built buildings have stood the test of time, thus qualifying the park to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Fishing boats and canoes are available for rent on Arch Lake. Personally owned boats are prohibited on the small 12-acre lake.
Tennessee Boating Regulations (exit TDEC)
The park has 20 rental cabins, with four styles to accommodate different size families: the five Rustic CCC cabins will accommodate four people, the five Deluxe cabins (two or three bedroom) will accommodate up to six people, the five Chalet cabins (one bedroom) will accommodate two people, and the five Villa cabins (three bedroom) will accommodate eight people. Each type of cabin is completely equipped for housekeeping with full modern bathrooms, kitchen appliances, cooking utensils, linens and towels, and fireplaces. All cabins are open year round with the exception of two rustic units. Reservations are required and can be made up to one year in advance through the park office. One Deluxe unit is designated as a pet cabin.
The park offers 32 campsites, each with electric and water hookups, picnic tables and grills. The campground is served with a modern bathhouse and a dump station. The campground is open year round, the sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and the maximum stay limit is two weeks.
Historic Rugby Festival of British & Appalachian Culture – Mid-May
Jamestown Rotary Club Chicken Festival- Memorial Day Weekend
450 Mile Outdoor “Hwy 127 Yard Sale” Headquarters in Jamestown – August
Pickett State Park Old-Timers Day – Labor Day
Big South Fork’s Haunting in the Hills – September
Historic Rugby Pilgrimage – Late September
Allardt Pumpkin Festival – October
Historic Rugby Ghostly Gathering – Late October
Christmas at Historic Rugby - December
The 12-acre Arch Lake is stocked throughout the summer months with trout.
Fishermen need a trout stamp and a valid Tennessee fishing license. All Tennessee fishing regulations apply and licenses can be purchased at the park office.
Tennessee Fishing Regulations (exit TDEC)
Tennessee State Parks fishing policies
The group camp is open year round, and will accommodate up to 144 people. It consists of six bunkhouses, two bathhouses, and a large dining hall and kitchen. The kitchen is completely equipped for food preparation and serving, it features a walk in refrigerator and freezer, icemaker, microwave, coffeemaker, dishwasher, and a commercial stove. Campers need to provide their own food, linens, and sanitary supplies. During the summer months the camp is rented on a weekly basis only, it can be rented a minimum of two nights during the rest of the year. Reservations are made through the park office.
More than 58 miles of hiking trails meander through the wilderness of Pickett State Park and the surrounding forest. They vary in length and difficulty, from short day-use trails suitable for families, to longer multi-day backpacking trails. A backcountry camping permit is required through the park office. The trails afford views of sandstone bluffs, natural bridges, waterfalls and diverse plant life. Please leave them for others to enjoy!
From The Tennessee Conservationist's Great Hikes
With Fran Wallas:
Pickett State Park's Hidden Passage Trail is a Wonderful Winter Trek
Lake Trail-2 1/2 mile loop
Lake View Trail-3/4 mile-one way
Ridge Trail-3 mile loop
Bluff Loop-1 mile-one way
Ladder Trail-1 mile loop
Natural Bridge Trail-1 1/4 mile loop
Hazard Cave Trail-2 1/2 mile loop
Indian Rockhouse Trail-1/4 mile-one way
Island Trail- 1/2 mile loop
There are 6 stalls available for boarding horses. There is a minimal charge. Although pack animals are not allowed in Pickett State Park, the park is adjacent to Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area where pack animals are allowed.
A small nature center is located in the campground. Open primarily during the summer months, it can be made available for viewing upon request. It houses several exhibits on the natural features of the park.
The park has a large picnic area located on the shores of the beautiful Arch Lake. Picnic tables and grills are available on a first come, first serve basis, and are free of charge. Two covered picnic shelters are available for rent and can be reserved through the park office. Playgrounds, tennis courts, and restrooms are also available.
A seasonal interpretive ranger offers scheduled interpretive programs during the summer months. The natural and cultural histories of the Pickett area are the focus of these activities, which are suitable for both children and adults. Programs may be arranged at other times of the year by contacting the park office.
The park’s swimming area, lined with sandstone bluffs, is one of the most picturesque beaches in the South. Swimming is free; however, there are no lifeguards on duty. It is “swim at your own risk” and an adult must accompany children. The beach is open Memorial Day thru Labor Day from 10:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. daily.
Most roads inside the park are accessible to tour buses. Call the park for more information.
Hunting is not allowed in the state park. However, it is allowed in the nearby Pickett State Forest and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Tennessee statewide hunting regulations apply and licenses can be purchased at the park office.