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National Parks In Tennessee

Tennessee may be home to exciting cities such as Memphis and Nashville, it is a misnomer to think that you don’t get the well-deserved serenity and outdoor recreation here. It is one of the most well-known outdoor destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains. Tennessee offers you a wide array of the best national parks to check out next time you visit the state.


Are there any National parks in Tennessee?


There are 15 national parks, historical sites/parks/trails, and battlefields in the state.

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Description:Map shows all the major national parks located in the US state of Tennessee. Disclaimer
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Best National Park in Tennessee

S. NoNameAreaEstablishedLocation
1Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area125,310 acres (50,710 ha)Mar 7, 1974Tennessee & Kentucky, USA
2Great Smoky Mountains National Park 522,419 acres (816.280 sq mi; 211,415 ha; 2,114.15 km2) Swain & Haywood counties in North Carolina; Sevier, Blount, & Cocke counties in Tennessee, U.S.
3Stones River National Battlefield728.41 acres (2.95 km2)Mar 3, 1927Rutherford County, Tennessee, USA
4Shiloh National Military Park 3,996.64 acres (16.173 km2)Dec 27, 1894Hardin County, Tennessee & Corinth, Mississippi, USA

Best National Park in Tennessee


  1. Great Smoky Mountains (NC, TN)

    This is the most popular and visited national park not only in Tennessee but also in the entire US. The Great Smoky Mountains are situated in eastern Tennessee as well as the western part of North Carolina. The best thing about this park is that it remains open round the year and offers amazing wildlife views.

    Check out the historical buildings and view the epic wildlife including Black Bears. Witness the Southern Appalachian mountain culture’s remnants and know about the historical significance of this place. If you are a nature lover, you’ll be awe-inspired by the diversity of plant and animal life available in the Great Smoky Mountains.

    Enjoy hiking here because it houses some of the most popular hikes leading to Andrews Bald, Rainbow Falls, and Chimney Tops. This place is a great one for ranger-led programs, wildflowers, fishing, waterfall views, scenic drives, and biking. If you are looking for camping, it provides you with the best backcountry campsites, group campgrounds, and horse camps.


    1. Best National Historical Park, Site, Battlefield, Parkway, and Military Park in Tennessee


      1. Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Greeneville, TN

        This historic site is situated in eastern Tennessee, around 55 miles (89 km) east of Knoxville. It remains open across the year. However, winter conditions may affect your travel. Andrew Johnson became the US President after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Learn more about this life from this historic site.

        He had an interesting and controversial political career. He was impeached, tried, and acquitted on charges related to violation of the Tenure of the Office Act. Andrew Johnson grew up in Tennessee’s Greeneville. Throughout his life, he maintained houses in this area. He went on to become a wealthy businessperson despite having gone to school. He started his career with his tailor shop.

        Andrew Johnson National Historic Site offers you the opportunity to see the tailor shop of Andrew Johnson, two houses where he lived with his family, and a visitor center.

      2. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Middlesboro, KY, TN, VA

        This historical park is situated in the western part of Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. This was the first gateway to the west. If you are a modern-day explorer, you’ll stand in awe at this great gateway of Cumberland Gap. The long miles of trails coupled with scenic features of the park will make you marvel. This great gateway was traveled by the Native Americans, the pioneers, the long hunters, the buffalos, et al. There is an 80 mile (129 km) long trail within this historical park, multiple visitor centers, and an overlook drive for you to explore.

      3. Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, Fort Oglethorpe, GA, TN

        This is the perfect place for the history buffs to unwind. The Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is situated in Fort Oglethorpe and displays a wide array of monuments and exhibits from the time of the Civil War. Don’t forget to check out the Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain Battlefields. It will take you a few hours minimum to explore the military parks as there are hundreds of monuments and battlefield sites. On a clear day, the view of the Tennessee River from Lookout Mountain is simply amazing. They were established in 1895, the first officially established National Military Park in the USA.

      4. Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Dover, KY, TN

        This battlefield is situated in north-central Tennessee, around 80 miles (129 km) northwest of Nashville. It remains open round the year. You can take a driving tour of Fort Donelson National Battlefield. In 1862 this battlefield became the first significant Union victory site in the Civil war.

        On the Tennessee River, Fort Henry was captured by Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant, assisted by Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote. After this major capture, the union forces went on with renewed vigor. As Fort Donelson had better defenses, Confederates gave them greater resistance. However, confederates got baffled after hearing that a greater number of Union troops were approaching. They escaped to the southeast. The Confederates withdraw behind their previous battle lines.

        Realizing their hopeless position, Confederate Brigadier General Simon Buckner offered to surrender and asked for the terms from General Grant. When General Grant offered “unconditional and immediate surrender”, 12,000 Confederate troops surrendered. They were immediately taken as prisoners. Nashville soon became the strategic spot for Union activities.

      5. Manhattan Project National Historical Park, NM, WA, TN(H3)

        The Manhattan Project, which saw the creation of the atomic bomb, is spread across three US States. It is situated in Tennessee’s Oak Ridge, Washington’s Hanford, and New Mexico.

        The visitors can learn about the Clinton Engineer Works, which is situated in Oak Bridge. This has now become the Oak Ridge Reservation. It used to be the project’s administrative and military headquarters. This site includes a pilot nuclear reactor called X-10 Graphite Reactor National Historic Landmark. It used to produce small quantities of plutonium.

        At the Y-12 complex, you’ll find the 9731 and 9204-3 buildings. This is where the electromagnetic separation process for uranium enrichment took place. The gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment technology was pioneered in the K-25 Building site. All these three sites (9731, 9204-3, and K-25) together enriched the uranium bomb’s material.

        You can take a bus tour to see the place and experience the history of those tumultuous bygone years. When you enter the American Museum of Science and Energy, the price of admission includes the Oak Ridge Reservation bus tour.

      6. Shiloh National Military Park, Shiloh, TN, MS

        Witness the most epic struggles in the Western Theater of the Civil War by visiting Shiloh National Military Park. This park showcases the bloody war between 110,000 American troops, which resulted in the death of 23,746 American lives. Explore, discover, and feel the impact of this struggle on soldiers and on the country. Include Shiloh National Military Park in your itinerary when you visit Tennessee.

      7. Natchez Trace Parkway, AL, MS, TN

        It is a picturesque 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through 3 US states including Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. This parkway roughly follows the historic travel corridor called "Old Natchez Trace". Natchez Trace Parkway was followed by American Indians, "Kaintucks", future presidents, soldiers, European settlers, and slave traders. You can not only enjoy the scenic beauty during your drive but also horseback riding, biking, and hiking. Don’t forget to check out the camping facilities available along the parkway.

      8. Stones River National Battlefield, Murfreesboro, TN

        It is yet another important battle site from where the Union soldiers started to make important military and political gains. This battle began on the last day of 1862. Stones River National Battlefield saw one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War. It changed the lives of those Union leaders and soldiers who fought and lived to see another day.




      Best National Scenic Trail, National River, & Recreational Area


      1. Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Maine to Georgia, CT, GA, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV

        It is a trail that extends for more than 2,180 miles (3,508 km). This public footpath traverses the lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Feel the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of these lands. Private citizens conceived the idea in 1921 and they completed it in 1937. National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, many state agencies, and volunteers manage the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

      2. Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, Oneida, KY, TN

        Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area is spread over 125,000 acres. It includes the Cumberland Plateau and the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. It protects the Cumberland River’s free-flowing Big South Fork along with its tributaries. Rich with natural and historic features, this vast area boasts scenic gorges and sandstone bluffs. Enjoy a wide array of outdoor recreational activities.

      3. Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, Tupelo, AL, MS, TN

        The Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail was established in 1983. It is spread across 60 miles (97 km) and runs parallel to the Natchez Trace Parkway. Explore hardwood forest, swamps, wetlands, rock outcroppings, and overlooks along the trail.

      4. Obed Wild & Scenic River, Wartburg, TN

        If you want to go back in time to experience the late 1700s, visit Obed Wild and Scenic River. This meagerly populated place was best for fishing and hunting for trappers and pioneers. Today, the place offers you a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.

      5. Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, NC, SC, TN, VA

        Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail stretches 330 miles (531 km). It goes through Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. This trail follows the campaign launched by the patriot militia in 1780 during the pivotal Kings Mountain campaign. There are 87 miles of walkable pathways along the trail, which utilizes a Commemorative Motor Route.

      6. Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail, AL, AR, GA, IL, KY, MO, NC, OK, TN

        The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail tells the heartbreaking story of the forcible removal of Cherokee people from their homelands in the 1830s. They moved westward from the southern Appalachian mountains. The 17 different groups of Cherokee people passed through nine US states to live in the Indian Territory. Remember and commemorate the survival of the Cherokee people who during the great 1838-1839 exodus traveled by feet, horses, wagons, or steamboats.



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