Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville, Tennessee has more than 1,700 acres with endless recreational options to explore. The park also has an Olympic-sized pool, several picnic shelters, campgrounds, playgrounds, courts for volleyball, tennis, basketball, badminton and other sports and games, a golf course, and a restaurant onsite.
My song for this entry is “Explore” by Sundara Karma”
Entering the park, walk or drive across the dam and see the sparkling Byrd Lake to your left. Visitors enjoy fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, strolling, or relaxing around the water.
Bear Trace Golf Course is an award-winning 18-hole, par 72, Jack Nicklaus Signature course and is a huge attraction to the park, as well as the Homestead Harvest Restaurant. The restaurant overlooks Byrd Lake and offers the standard Southern American fare like burgers, dumplings, meatloaf, banana pudding, fried fish and vegetables.
Camping options are abundant with nearly 150 campsites and 50 cabins/lodges in varying sizes including the Mill House Lodge, and another more primitive site along the Overnight Trail.
I came for the hiking trails and chose the one-mile Cumberland Plateau Trail that loops around the bridge.
The Byrd Creek Trail (2.1 miles) that extends from the Cumberland Plateau Trail, the Cumberland Overnight Trail (5 miles) that extends from the Byrd Creek Trail, and the Pioneer Trail (5 miles) are next on my list.
Check out these trail maps for more info.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt started a series of New Deal initiatives to restabilize the economy. One of these projects was the Subsistence Homesteads, and the US Government provided loans and other resources to help financially devastated families relocate to more fertile lands.
27,000 undeveloped acres just south of Crossville was one of these target sites, and nearly 250 families were moved in. The Civil Works Administration put them to work clearing the land for their new Homesteads and farms, and were able to provide jobs to many families already living in Crossville.
Soon, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration were enlisted to build a recreational park for the Homesteaders. Both organizations were created as part of the New Deal to delegate ideas and provide labour to support the initiatives. The National Park Service aided in building the Byrd Lake Dam, the largest CCC project in history, and the man-made Byrd Lake was formed.
A statue near Homestead Harvest Restaurant stands in honour of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
The Mill House Lodge below the dam was intended to be a gristmill for the Homesteaders but locals felt the government-backed mill would give Homesteaders an unfair advantage over them. As a result, the mill’s waterwheel was never finished. This is the largest cabin/lodge available for overnight stays in the park and availability can be rare.
Visit the Cumberland Mountain State Park between 7 am and 10 pm each day. Dogs on leashes are welcome, and there were no access fees or parking fees as of May 2021.
In the area for a while? Follow me to Crossville!
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