The heavily forested, 3,687-acre park is located in the Appalachian Ridge and Valley range, characterized by narrow ridges flanked by fertile stream valleys. Big Ridge State Park’s topography is dominated by three of these ridge systems giving the area its beautiful lake and scenery.
Big Ridge State Park was one of five demonstration parks developed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) 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. Along the trails you may see remnants of the homes and farms that existed here prior to the birth of the TVA.
The park is home to a variety of activities for the whole family. Big Ridge State Park consists of more than 15 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to very rugged. Among these trails guests hike along dry ridges, lush hollows, old roadbeds, lakeshores and beside cemeteries and remnants of early settlements. The park has 50 campsites on or near Norris Lake to accommodate RV’s, trailers and tent campers. Each site offers amenities such as water, 50-amp electrical hookups and a picnic table with a grill. There is group camp which accommodates up to 120 people with 18 screened-in bunkhouses. Backcountry camping is also available at no charge, but requires a permit.
The park’s recreational activities are not limited to hiking or camping. There is a sandy beach next to Big Ridge Lake which provides swimming enjoyment equipped with a concrete-bottomed area for children. The park also offers sand volleyball, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, a basketball court and a softball field. Big Ridge State Park has a wheelchair accessible playground adjacent to the park office offering play experience for children of all ages and abilities.