Guide to Rock Island State Park, Tennessee
As we were on our way to Fall Creek Falls I decided to do a quick stop at Rock Island State Park. It was on our way there and I just couldn't help but take advantage of the opportunity that it was so close to our destination. Off we went searching for the Twin Falls which is the iconic waterfall of Rock Island.
OUR TRIP TO ROCK ISLAND STATE PARK
Our first stop was the campground area. We drove around scoping out the area before heading off to the visitor center for more accurate directions on how to get to the Twin Falls. The staff was very friendly and super helpful when it came to explaining exactly how to get to Twin Falls.
Once we had our map with directions we headed off to Twin Falls. We passed the Spring Castle area before crossing the Great Falls Dam. The route there was absolutely beautiful.
As we were arriving we couldn't help but be amazed by the view at the parking spot we chose. It looked perfectly out to Twin Falls. My daughters were absolutely ecstatic about the view. We went down the stairs and chose a spot close to the Downstream Trail trail head to snap some photos.
** Rock Island State Park is about 30 miles away from Fall Creek Falls.
HIKING AT ROCK ISLAND STATE PARK
Rock Island is known for Twin Falls mostly. At least on social media that is what I knew it for. The breathtaking Twin Falls. There several trails that lead to it or overlook it from above. I personally haven't taken these trails yet but figured I'd go in to as much possible details I can on here to help guide you better to the Twin Falls. You can read more about their hiking trails here as well as their precautions for swimming in these areas.
We only watched the falls from the trail head at Downstream Trail. You can park at the parking lot found at the end of Power House Road. There are two parking lots. A small one towards the stairs at the very very end of the road and a larger parking lot right before getting to this one. They are both right next to each other which is perfect in case the smaller one is full. There are only a handful of parking spots on the smaller one.
The Downstream Trail is a loop trail reaching 1.55 miles with a total of 1.7 miles. It is not a very long hike and I saw many children leaving the trail content.
Distance: 1.55 miles loop trail
The Upstream Trail is another moderate hike that an be found at Rock Island State Park. This trail is a 0.5 miles one way trail totaling out to 1 mile. This trail starts at the parking lot at the end of Power House Road going east. It reaches to the upper gorge area which give access to some swimming spots. These include "Ice Hole" and "Warm Hold".
Distance: 1 mile total - in and out
Related Article: Must Haves When Hiking With Kids
The Moonshine Trail is located near the campground area. It is a short 1 mile hike that runs by the base of an old moonshine still. It begins by the tennis court parking lot and ends next to campsite number 39.
Distance: 0.35 miles one way
Right next to the Moonshine Trail is the Bluff Trail starting at the tennis court parking lot as well. This 1.95 mile trail leads to a bench overlooking Center Hill Lake below.
Distance: 1.95 mile total - in and out
Close to the Badger Flat Picnic Area you can find the Eagle Trail. This trail is a 1.5 mile trail that runs all the way to Blue Hole picnic area on the other side. It is a moderate trail and also close to their natural sand beach on Center Hill Lake. Perfect to go for a swim after your hike.
Distance: 1.5 mile total - in and out
BLUE HOLE TRAIL
The Blue Hole Trail is a very short 0.5 mile hike located at the Blue Hole Picnic Area. You can do the Eagle Trail and Blue Hole Trail to add some extra distance to your hiking trip. It is considered to be a strenuous hike due to it's windy slope that extends downward. It does have many steep steps so please proceed with caution and watch your step.
Distance: 1 mile total - in and out
Related Article: Baby Hiking Essentials
COLLINS RIVER NATURE TRAIL
The Collins River Nature Trail is a 3 mile loop trail that runs along the outer edge of the Collin's River. It is considered to be a moderate leveled trail. If you are looking for either a historical trail or a Halloween trail then this is perfect as it runs by two cemeteries of the first settlers of this area.
Distance: 3 mile loop trail
COLLINS RIVER CONNECTOR TRAIL
This connector trail can be found along the Collins River Nature Trail. While it does shorten your route of the Collins River Nature Trail by almost 0.5 miles, it does run by three cemeteries instead of two.
Distance: 0.8 mile connecting trail with Collins River Nature Trail
Related Article: How to Choose the Best Hikes for Your Kids
OLD MILL TRAIL
Looking for another challenging trail? Old Mill Trail is a 1 mile rocky and strenuous trail that is found in the Old Mill picnic area. It has access to the gorge from the Warren County side.
Distance: 1 mile total - in and out
Difficulty: Rocky - Strenuous
You can learn more about their hiking trails here.
Check out their map here for more information.
CAMPING AT ROCK ISLAND STATE PARK
Rock Island State Park has two campgrounds. The campsites range from $32 to $35 per night. Their main campground has about 50 campsites that are perfect for bigger vehicles such as RV's and trailers as well as tents. They do close some of the campsites during the month but always leave 20 campsites available year-round. These campsites are sites #31 - #50.
The tent only campsites have a lower fee of $21 - $25 per night. There are only ten campsites that are strictly for tent camping. These sites are #51 - #60 each with electric and water. This campground however is closed from November 2nd through March 15th of each year.
To learn more about their campgrounds or to make reservations click here.
Related Article: Camp Kitchen Essentials and Organization
OTHER THINGS TO DO
Rock Island State Park has more to offer as well besides hiking and gorgeous waterfalls. They have a natural sand beach located at Center Hill Lake as well for swimming. You can also go picnicking at their multiple picnic areas. Fishing and birding are also other outdoor activities that you can do while at Rock Island State Park.
They also have a launch ramp on Center Hill Lake, Caney Fork, and Collins Rivers that offer boating options to you. Rock Island State Park is greatly known for it's whitewater kayaking but please be careful as the currents can be strong at times.
82 Beach Road
Rock Island, TN 38581
Well I hope to have covered everything I could so you can better plan for your trip to Rock Island State Park. I can't wait to go again and explore more of this Tennessee gem. As a quick tip I do highly recommend making your camping trip reservations one to three months in advanced to make sure you reserve a good spot.
Has Rock Island State Park made it to your Tennessee bucketlist? Have you been here before? Let me know what your experience was like?
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