Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
(BSFNRRA), is one of the best kept secrets in all of
Tennessee and Kentucky. But that is changing. Word is getting out
that this unspoiled park is a new jewel in the crown of Americas
National Parks. By word of mouth, a few good books and a bit of marketing,
Big South Fork is emerging as a mecca for the naturalist.
The BSFNRRA is ninety miles of river
gorges, rock faces, forest land and churning white watera perfect
environment for those who love nature and outdoor non-competitive
sports. For the lucky few that know about BSFNRRA, it is a favorite
fishing, mountain biking, white
water rafting, kayaking,
mountain climbing, trail
riding on horseback, and camping.
Located in northeast Tennessee and southeast
Kentucky, Big South Fork River and Recreation Area is maintained by
the National Park Service.
Actually, it has two. At Big South Fork's
visitor centers you can get backcountry permits, visitor information,
and helpful guide books.
Creek Visitor Center in Tennessee is open every day except Christmas.
During November through May their hours are from 8:00am to 4:30pm.
June through October the Brandy Creek Visitors Center is open until
6:00pm. You can reach them at 931-879-3625.
Kentucky BSFNRRA visitor center is open every day from 9:am to
5:30pm May through October. The schedule may vary at other times of
the year so you may want to call them. Their number is 606-376-5073.
The park is available for use all year,
but most prefer to plan their trips June through August while the
children are out of school or during October for Big South Forks spectacular
The climate in Big South Fork National
River and Recreation Area is typical of that of the south for each
season. That means springtime in BSFNRRA is a comfortable temperature.
Unfortunately, the gentle southern beauty of springtime inevitably
gives way to hot, humid summers and afternoon thunderstorms. Bring
is the favorite season of many that come to Big South Fork. It is
nearly always invigorating both in temperature and in natures
wonderful display of leaf color. The winters are quite tolerable and
Most of the precipitation in Big South
Fork National River and Recreation Area comes in the form of rain.
Nevertheless, BSFNRRA still manages to get 15-18 inches of snow a
year. Ice storms only hit the area every several years. It is a good
idea to check the weather here on Rods Guide before planning
Many have grown to love the Big South Fork
in springtime for its wild flowering trees and shrubs, such
as dogwood, laurel and red bud trees.
Horseback riding is a beautiful way to enjoy
mother nature and it is definitely permitted in Big South Fork National
River and Recreation Area. Call Big South Fork Horse Camps at (423)
If you are traveling south on I-75,
get off at KY 461 and turn south. Continue going south until you come
to KY 80. Travel west on KY 80 until you come to US 27. Go south on
US 27 to Oneida and take TN 297 west into Big South Fork National
River and Recreation Area.
If you are approaching BSFNRRA from
I-40 west, exit at US 27 and turn north toward Oneida. Take TN 297
west into the park.
If you are traveling to BSFNRRA on 1-40
east, exit at US 127 and go north to TN 154. Go north on TN 154 until
you come to TN 297. Travel east on TN 297 into the park.
Big South Fork is not a highly developed
area. The nearest large airports are in Knoxville and Nashville. The
nearest airport in Kentucky is at Lexington.
Stay in your own private, secluded cabin
overlooking the spectacular mountain and valley views from Covenant
Cliffs, an area vacation rental
If you are flying in, keep in mind there
is no public transportation in Big South Fork National River and Recreation
Area. The only way to get around is by a personal or rented vehicle,
bicycle, horseback or foot.
Park Headquarters - (423) 569-9778
Tennessee visitor center (Bandy Creek) - (931) 879-3625
Kentucky visitor center - (606) 376-5073
Blue Heron Mining Community - (606) 376-3787
Group Camps - (931) 879-4869
Bandy Creek Campground - (931) 879-4869
Camping Reservations http://reservations.nps.gov
Also visit: www.nps.gov/biso/home.htm
for more information about the Big South Fork Area.