Originally founded by the state as a recreation space for homesteaders in the late 193os, Cumberland Mountain State Park now attracts campers, hikers, swimmers, paddlers, and golfers alike. Sprawling across more than 1,700 verdant acres in east Tennessee, the park, which is formed in the shape of a backwards “C,” hasn’t lost one bit of its natural beauty in the near-century since its acquisition by the state, and its popularity among travelers seeking outdoor adventures has been steadily on the rise in recent years. With a restuarant onsite and camping accommodations for hundreds of guests—including a great number of rustic cabins—it’s a great place to gather or get away from it all.
What Makes It Great
Campers are rarely at a loss for options when visiting the park, given its wide range of lodging. In addition to the grills and picnic tables that have long been available at each site, recent improvements to its 145 tent and RV campsites include electricity upgrades and greater access to bathhouses. For those seeking more comfort than a tent or RV might offer, the park’s 37 cabins come in a standard or rustic format, sleeping up to 10 people apiece, and the Mill House Lodge accommodates up to 16, while on the other end of the spectrum, one additional campsite is available alongside the park’s eight-mile trail for backpackers.
Featuring six natural hiking trails, the park offers a variety of nature encounters to enjoy during the day, ranging from the easy Lake Trail, which runs just under three-quarters of a mile, to the moderately intense three-mile Pioneer Loop, taking hikers through a hemlock forest and along the bank of the manmade lake onsite. An 18-hole golf course awaits those who want to tee off during their stay, along with a pool (open only late May through Labor Day), a lake full of fish, and kayak and paddleboard rentals.
Who is Going to Love It
This park is an overall crowd-pleaser and a family-friendly destination due to its variety of lodging options and it’s easy trails. There is also a restaurant onsite, with a buffet-style lunch and dinner six days a week (but is closed on Mondays).
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Accessible via US-127, follow the signs into the park and toward the campgrounds. Up to two tents (or one RV in designated sites) and seven adults may inhabit each campsite.
Only certified heat-treated firewood and wood collected within the park is allowed—untreated wood is prohibited from being brought into the park.