• Glowing sunset view from overlook - Photo by Jason Barnett Photography

    Big South Fork

    National River & Recreation Area KY,TN

Operating Hours & Seasons

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is open year round. Some facilities close during the winter, however. To get the most out of your visit, start at one of the park's visitor centers to chat with a ranger, pick up publications, purchase a gift at the Eastern National outlets, and find out about scheduled programs, and special events.

BANDY CREEK VISITOR CENTER (Tennessee)

Location: Adjacent to Bandy Creek Campground; approximately 15 miles west of Oneida and 24 miles east of Jamestown off Highway 297.

  • Exhibits: focus on the recreational opportunities found within Big South Fork and throughout the seven surrounding counties.
  • Facilities: Bookstore; park permits; restrooms; vending machines, and ice sales.
  • Hours: Open year-round except Christmas Day. Extended hours 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET daily Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. Winter hours: 9 a.m.to 5 p.m. ET daily.
  • Phone: (423) 286-7275

BLUE HERON INTERPRETIVE CENTER (Kentucky)

Location: Located in the Kentucky via Highways 1651 and 742.

  • Exhibits: The Blue Heron Mining Community can be visited at any time to view historic structures and listen to audio programs.
  • Facilities: Bookstore; park permits; restrooms; vending machines, and concession stand.
  • Railroad Ride: The Big South Fork Scenic Railway travels from the Stearns Depot to the Blue Heron Mining Community in a 45 minute trip. The train remains approximately an hour at Blue Heron before returning to Stearns.
  • Phone:(606) 376-3787 or (606) 376-5073

KENTUCKY VISITOR CONTACT STATION (Kentucky)

Location: Stearns, Ky., approximately one quarter of a mile west of U.S. Highway 27 just off Highway 92. Also located three miles south of Whitley City, Ky., and 18 miles north of Oneida, Tenn.

  • Facilities: Restrooms; park permits.
  • Phone: (606) 376-5652
  • Hours: Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

CROSSVILLE VISITOR CENTER (Tennessee)
Location: Crossville, Tn., just off exit 320 on Interstate 40.

  • Facilities: Restrooms; Park information.
  • Phone: (931) 787-1755
  • Hours: Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

RUGBY VISITOR CONTACT STATION (Tennessee)
Location: Rugby, Tn., off Hwy 52 approximately 17 miles west of Jamestown, Tennessee.

  • Facilities: Restrooms; park information; park permits.
  • Phone: (423) 628-2991
  • Hours: Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

Did You Know?

Archeology dig occuring at Big South Fork

In terms of total sites, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is the most important archaeological location in the Southeast Region of the National Park Service. The 1,335 documented archaeological sites at Big South Fork represent only 20% of the estimated total for the park. More...