Big Ridge State Park

The heavily forested, 3,687-acre park lies on the southern shore of TVA's Norris Reservoir approximately 25 miles north of Knoxville. Visitors to the park will find a wealth of activities to meet any interest from guided nature tours to backcountry camping.


Big Ridge State Park was one of five demonstration parks developed by the Tennessee Valley Authority in cooperation with the National Park Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as an example of public recreation development along TVA lakeshores. The structures on the park reflect the craftsmanship and stonework of the CCC, and along the trails you may see remnants of the homes and farms that existed here prior to the birth of the TVA. Before the park was created, the area was heavily populated and used for agriculture.

Other notable features of the park include: the Norton Gristmill built in 1825, remnants of Sharp's Station Fort construction in the late 1700's, and Indian Rock where a plaque commemorates the death of Peter Graves, a settler of Sharp's Station who was attacked by Indians at this spot. Also, the park has several notable structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

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Latitude: 36.26573 Longitude: -83.916193 Elevation: 1167 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Jane Polansky

Recreational Opportunities

Big Ridge offers biking, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, picnicking and swimming.  Over 15 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to very rugged. Trails travel along dry ridges, lush hollows, old roadbeds, lakeshores, and beside cemeteries and remnants of early settlements. Hiking is the only activity allowed on trails and restricted to horses and bicycles. Trails are open year round and overnight camping is allowed on designated backcountry campsites by permit only.

During the summer, Seasonal Interpretive Rangers provide free weekly activities for the entire family during the summer months including guided hikes, movies, campfires, arts and crafts, nature programs, and organized sports activities.

Seasons Accessible

Open Year Round

ADA Accessibility Notes

Accessible Visitors' Center with accessible sanitary facilities; Accessible Campsites with bath house; Accessible Picnic Shelter; Accessible Playground; Accessible Dining Hall at Group Camp Area.


This is an excellent place for a picnic, camping or hiking experience in Union County.

J. V. Waller, 7/11/2011

The cabins in Big Ridge are a great value. Rustic and peaceful, sited either on the lake or in the woods, they provide a full kitchen and bath with a lovely screened in porch. Great for a family vacation!

Beth W., 7/19/2011

I grew up until the age of 17 in Maynardville, which is a skip and a hop from Big Ridge State Park. We spent the summers there for years until my family moved away to Jefferson County. John Richardson was the Park Ranger during my time there. Rachel, Johns daughter was my best friend so we enjoyed all of the activities free of charge. I am so thankful that I was allowed to utilize all that this beautiful park has to offer! I have so many fond memories of the Richardson family and BRSP! I hope that the park hasn’t changed too much. I highly recommend this park to any family!!

Beth Amburn-Guillory, 10/14/2017

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