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Cumberland Plateau Region
Rock Island State Park
Rock Island State Park Rock Island State Park © Tim Gillahan
I captured this photo at the bottom of a spaghetti-junction type trail. The trails start off as one but turn into many because of the rocky environment. the hike to this spot in particular was a little challenging due too the slick rocks along the way. Rock Island is one of the more impressive state parks in Middle Tennessee. Trail Rating Easy to Moderate. Taken 06/18/2015
Mockingbird ©
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82 Beach Road
Rock Island, Tennessee   38581

Phone: 931-686-2471
Rock Island State Park is an 883 acre park located on the headwaters of Center Hill Lake at the confluence of the Caney Fork, Collins and Rocky Rivers. The rugged beauty of the park includes the Caney Fork Gorge below Great Falls Dam.
Park Overview (pdf)
History of the Area
Great Falls is a 30 foot horseshoe cascading waterfall, located below the 19th century cotton textile mill that it powered over 100 years ago. Rock Island became a Tennessee State Park in 1969.
The park features 10 cabins located a half-mile from natural sand beach along the Caney Fork River. The three bedroom, two bath cabins are completely equipped for housekeeping including appliances, coffee pot, microwave, cooking utensils, dishes, and linens. Each cabin also features a fireplace with gas logs seasonal, television, DVD player, and a charcoal grill.
Rock Island has 60 campsites, each equipped with electrical and water hookups, grill, and picnic table. Three modern bathhouses with hot water showers, lavatories, and commodes are located in the camping area. There is a dump station at the far end of the campground for the convenience of self-contained camping rigs. Campers must register at the park office. Maximum stay limit is two weeks. This facility is open year round. Campsites should be reserved in advance by calling the park office.
The park's natural sand beach is located on the headwaters of the beautiful Center Hill Lake. Adequate parking space and a modern bathhouse are provided. No lifeguards on duty. Always use caution in the gorge. Water may rise rapidly. Monitor your surroundings. Leave the gorge immediately if water begins to rise or you hear warning sirens. Watch for slick rocks and swift currents. Do not jump into water of unknown depths. Swimming or wading is not allowed in all areas from TVAs powerhouse downstream all the way down to the main beach boat ramp including by the powerhouse, Twin Falls and Blue Hole due to hidden and deadly currents.
The launch ramp on Center Hill Lake and other ramps closeby on the Caney Fork and Collilns Rivers offer access for great recreational boating. Rock Island is known for it's whitewater kayaking and has hosted international freestyle kayaking events. Some areas of the park are for experienced whitewater kayakers or canoeists only and can be dangerous.

Use extreme caution in all gorge areas. Water levels and currents can change quickly downstream of TVA's powerhouse, or dam without notice. Large amounts of water may be released at any time without warning. Exit immediately if you hear warning sirens or notice changes in conditions. Always wear your PDF and check both generation and dam daily water release schedules for TVA Great Falls prior to visiting.
Boating and fishing are very popular on Center Hill Lake as well as on Great Falls Lake. There is a free public launching ramp on Great Falls Lake. The Blue Hole, on Center Hill Lake, lies adjacent to the park shore and is the spawning ground for the walleye in Center Hill Lake. It is considered one of the finest fishing places in the state. It is accessible via a boat launching ramp located in the park. Fishing is best in the spring, but visitors enjoy boat riding and skiing well into the fall. Catches include bass, muskellunge, bluegill, walleye, crappie and catfish. Valid TN Fishing license is required.

Rock Island State Park is located near Mcminnville, Smithville and Sparta

There are four picnicking areas within the park. All are equipped with tables, grills, and drinking water. All have restroom facilities.

Four picnic pavilions that can accommodate 30-100 people each can be reserved for group use. Reservations may be made up to a year in advance.
The park has nine hiking trails with the Caney Fork Gorge area located below the dam being a very popular area for rock hopping, swimming and fishing. This beautiful limestone gorge runs between the Great Falls Dam and the Twin Falls. The area is populated with Great Blue Herons, wildflowers and waterfalls. The Caney Fork Gorge may be accessed via the Old Mill Trail or the Upstream Trail.

Collins River Nature Trail 3.0 Miles Natural Moderate

Eagle Trail 1.4 Miles Natural Moderate

Moonshine Trail 1.0 Miles Natural Moderate

Bluff Trail 1.7 Miles Natural Moderate

Downstream Trail 1.7 Miles Natural Moderate

Upstream Trail 1.0 Miles Natural Moderate

Blue Hole Trail 0.5 Miles Rocky Strenuous

Collins River Connector Trail

Old Mill Trail 1.0 Miles Rocky Strenuous
Birds such as Osprey, Belted Kingfisher, Black-crowned Night Herons can be seen along with Great Blue Herons which have a rookery nearby.

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Area Cabins and Lodges
Fairfield Resorts
1964 Hennessee Bridge Rd
Rock Island, TN
(931) 686-2034
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