This route is really straightforward and uncomplicated to follow, with traditional road biking as well as sections that cut through a state park with plenty of activities for the whole family. Camden has the charm of a small Tennessee town, and Highway 191 is perfect for finding a little solitude, not to mention gorgeous fall foliage if you tackle it in autumn. Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park has all the fixings for a great midpoint stop before you head back to Camden for the final eight miles.
What Makes It Great
This route is a combination of the best of all worlds. It takes off and finishes in the quaint town of Camden, Tennessee, but also takes you along an easy, well-maintained stretch of highway on your way to Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park. You’ll pass farmland, through forests, and over several creeks along the way. It’s a relaxing and scenic ride in a lesser-known area of Tennessee. There’s no shoulder when you are riding through town (where 191 is also known as E. Lake Street), but once it turns into Highway 191/Eva Road, there is a shoulder for you to ride on.
When you get in the park, make your way up to the 656-foot Pilot Knob (via the road—no trails necessary), one of the highest points in western Tennessee. Once you reach the summit, it’s a great spot to take a break and visit the Tennessee River Folklife Museum to learn about the customs of people who once lived along the river, as well as the local fish and reptiles.
It’s also easy to split the route up between a couple of days and spend some time at the park. It’s located on Kentucky Lake, so you can swim, fish, or look for shorebirds. There’s also more than 25 miles of hiking trails around the park. They have rental cabins or you can pack a tent and set up shop on one of the primitive sites available for a night or two.
Who is Going to Love It
Cyclists, families, and camping enthusiasts will all enjoy this sweet ride. Once you get in the park, visit the Tennessee River Folklife Center for a glimpse into the colorful past of not only the park itself but the entire Tennessee Valley in the 19th and 20th centuries. There’s also hiking in the area, as well as plenty of fish to catch in Kentucky Lake.
Cyclists who like to be out on their own but don’t love unpaved roads will feel comfortable on Highway 191, and you’ll only gain about 112 feet throughout on this relatively easy ride.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Take off from Camden and make your way east along Highway 191 and follow signs until you reach the state park. Simply do the opposite on your way back—minimal thinking required!
Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park is located at 1825 Pilot Knob Road in Eva, and is open daily from 7 am to 10 pm. The museum and office is also open daily, but from 8 am to 4:30 pm. The park is on Kentucky Lake, so you can go swimming or fishing, and there are more than 25 miles of trails to explore on foot. Keep your eyes open for hawks and owls while you are visiting the park, as well as a variety of shorebirds.