Today marks week three of our Middle Tennessee Parks blog series! This week we’re featuring a state park located in (and named after) Rock Island, Tenn. You guessed it–Rock Island State Park!
Rock Island State Park is located in Warren and White Counties and named after an island on the Caney Fork River. The state park itself is centered around a peninsula created by the confluence of both the Caney Fork and Collins Rivers.
Today, Rock Island State Park is a popular site for camping, boating and kayaing and hiking. The park currently maintains 10 cabins, 60 campsites and a boat ramp. The section of the park on Center Hill Lake contains a natural sand beach and is a popular area for fishing–dubbed the ‘Blue Hole.’ Hiking trails include two trails that access the north and south banks of the Great Falls Gorge (more on that below), along with a 3-mile trail that runs along the Collins River.
The park features several natural features including the Great Falls Gorge, which includes a series of plunge and cascade waterfalls that spill into the Caney Fork when the river’s water levels are low. (When water levels are high, the gorge complete fills up, submerging the waterfalls.) Twin Falls is another cascade waterfall found at Rock Island. It spills down from an underground cavern into the Caney Fork and was created by the Great Falls Dam, which was built in 1916 and is located along the Caney Fork near the park’s entrance.
History buffs can also find entertainment at Rock Island State Park. The Great Falls Cotton Mill, built in 1892 and operated until 1902, is located on the bluffs above Great Falls. The mill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Also in the state park is the Spring castle, which is located adjacent to the cotton mill and was used by workers for refrigeration. Historian’s believe it was built in the 1890s.
Activities offered at Rock Island State Park:
For more information about Rock Island State Park, visit its website here.