• Photo by Jason Barnett Photography

    Big South Fork

    National River & Recreation Area KY,TN

Frequently Asked Questions

Devils Jump Rapid
Devils Jumps Rapids on the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River.
National Park Service
 

Q. I'm planning on visiting Big South Fork, how do I get to the park?
A. Big South Fork can be easily accessed from both Interstates 75 and 40. For specific driving directions visit the directions page.

Q. Can I bring my dog to the Big South Fork?
A. Yes, pets are allowed in both developed areas and in the backcountry as long as they are restrained on a leash no longer then 6 feet.

Q. Can I hunt in Big South Fork?
A. Hunting is allowed in accordance with the laws for the state in which you are hunting. For further information visit the hunting page.

Q. I’m planning on hunting in Big South Fork, where are the safety/no-hunting zones?
A. Safety zones have been established in both Tennessee and Kentucky around areas of high visitor concentrations such as campgrounds and river access points. They are marked yellow signs mounted on trees which can be seen as you approach the safety zone.

Q. Do I need to wear orange during hunting season if I'm hiking on a trail?
A. No you are not required to wear orange while in the backcountry if you are not hunting. As a matter of safety, we do suggest that people going into the backcountry do wear brightly colored clothing or clothing that contains hunter orange.

Q. I’m wanting to visit Big South but don’t like to camp, what other facilities does the park have for overnight stays?
A. Besides camping, Big South Fork does have a concessions operated backcountry lodge known as Charit Creek. Many lodging opportunities ranging from motels to cabins do exist in the communities surrounding the park.

Q. What will the weather be like when I visit Big South Fork?
A. Weather on the Cumberland Plateau can be very different from near-by cities which are not on the plateau. Big South Fork is characterized by hot and humid summers, cool and damp winters and mild springs and falls. Check the local forecast and come prepared for weather which can change very quickly.

Q. If you are planning on camping in the backcountry, do you need any permits?
A. Backcountry permits are required for all visitors who will be in the backcountry for one or more nights. These permits are good for the length of stay, and fees range from $5.00 to $25.00 depending on group size. The permits may be obtained at either visitor center or online.

Q. We will be visiting the park with children, what is there for them to do in the park?
A. Big South Fork is an area with a wide range of outdoor activities available for children while they visit the park with their parents. You can ride a train at the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, in addition there are many easy and enjoyable hikes to take and even some ranger programs to attend. Children can even become Junior Park Rangers while they are in the park.

Q. Where can I go swimming while at Big South Fork?
A. The Bandy Creek Swimming Pool is currently closed for the 2013 season but Pickett State Park has a supervised swimming area at their lake. The park does not recommend swimming in the Big South Fork River. Rivers are inherently dangerous with drop-offs, currents and other hidden dangers. If you do swim in a river, please wear a life-jacket at all times.

Q. Can I ride my ATV in Big South Fork?
A. Following the development of a Special Regulation as required by Executive Order 11644, the only trails open to ATV use will be those marked as multi-use trails. These multiple-use trails will only be open to ATV use by licensed hunters while they are actively engaged in the legal hunting of either deer or wild boar. For the recreational ATV rider, there are no authorized ATV trails within Big South Fork at this time. There are, however, several areas near Big South Fork were a person may ride ATV's. Please contact either of the parks visitor centers for additional information on these areas or download the ATV Usage Within Big South Fork PDF (170kb).

Did You Know?

Horseback Riders in Big South Fork

With two equestrain campgrounds, a stable operation and over 180 miles of horseback riding trails, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is truely a riders paradise. More...