Big Ridge State Park
Big Ridge State Park is located close to Norris, TN. This is a heavily forested, 3,687-acre park which is on the southern shore of TVA's Norris Reservoir approximately 25 miles north of Knoxville.
Along the trails you will see remnants of the homes and farms that existed there prior to the birth of the TVA. Before the park was created, the area was heavily populated and used for agriculture.
Other features of the park include: the Norton Gristmill built in 1825, remnants of Sharp's Station Fort construction in the late 1700's, and Indian Rock where a plaque commemorates the death of Peter Graves, a settler of Sharp's Station who was attacked by Indians at this spot. Also, the park has several notable structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corp.
The park has 19 one-bedroom rustic cabins available from April 1 through October 31 which accommodate up to six persons. Bedrooms contain two double beds and a sofa sleeper in the living room. Cabins have hardwood floors and screened-in porches. There is no air-conditioning. Five cabins are located on the lakeside; fourteen sit on the ridge. Cabins are fully equipped with linens, stove, refrigerator, kitchen hardware, and grill. Fireplace is available, and firewood is provided seasonally. There are no televisions or phones.
Big Ridge has 50 campsites on or near Norris Lake to accommodate RV's, trailers, and tent campers. RV campsites have a soft gravel pad will accommodate a unit up to 65 feet. Each site has water and 30-amp electrical hookups, picnic table and grill. A dumping station is provided, as well as two bathhouses with restrooms and hot shower facilities. Bathhouses are closed during the off season from November 1 to March 31.
The group camp can accommodate up to 120 people and has 18 screened-in bunkhouses, sleeping 6 to 8 each. The group camp is open from April 1 through October 31, and reservations are required. The dining hall contains a commercial kitchen facility. The group camp includes 2 bathhouses with hot shower facilities. No linens are provided. No RVs or tents are allowed at the group camp.
Overnight backcountry camping is allowed at 3 designated campsites. Backcountry camping is free, but a permit is required. Pets on a leash are allowed. Pack animals are prohibited.
A coin-operated laundry is open from April 1 to October 31.
22-foot x 40-foot recreation hall can hold up to 70 people, depending on seating arrangement. The hall has a small kitchen with a stove/oven and a refrigerator.
Big Ridge has 3 covered picnic shelters, each capable of accommodating 25 - 30 people. The shelters may be reserved for a fee. If not rented, shelters may be used free of charge, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each shelter is equipped with a grill and picnic tables. Waters spigots are located conveniently nearby. Open picnic areas with tables and grills are also available free to charge. The Recreation Hall also provides a picnic area and accommodates 70 people and is available to rent. Each shelter is equipped with a grill and picnic tables. Water spigots are located conveniently nearby.
Big Ridge State Park hosts three special events each year. On the day before Easter big Ridge hosts the annual Easter Egg Hunt. The event is free and many prizes are available for children 10 and under. On the third Friday in august the annual Bluegrass Music Festival is held from 7pm to midnight. Ten local bands play bluegrass, country and old-time country music. The event is free. On Friday and Saturday nights in October, Big Ridge park rangers conduct guided night hikes to tell ghost stories from the park's past. For more information on these events, call the park office.
The park offers sand volleyball, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, basketball court and softball field. A new wheelchair accessible playground is located next to the park office and offers play experiences for children of all ages and abilities. Big Ridge offers many activities including: badminton, basketball, horseshoes, playground, softball, tennis Courts (2 courts, no lights), volleyball (2 sand courts, one at the swimming beach) and board games. All equipment may be checked out at the park office/interpretive center at no charge.
Bicycles may be used on the park's roads and parking areas, but not on the trails. Bicycle riders under 16 years of age must wear a helmet.
Over 15 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to very rugged. Trails travel along dry ridges, lush hollows, old roadbeds, lakeshores, and beside cemeteries and remnants of early settlements. Hiking is the only activity allowed on trails and restricted to horses and bicycles. Trails are open year round and overnight camping is allowed on designated backcountry campsites by permit only.
The boat dock at Big Ridge Park is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The boat dock is closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Canoe, paddleboat and rowboat rentals are available on the 49-acre Big Ridge Lake. Visitors may use their own electric trolling motors on park rowboats. Gasoline outboards are not allowed on Big Ridge Lake. Fishing boats, ski boats and wave runners can be launched at the boat ramp on Norris Lake. No access to boat ramp at Norris Lake during winter months.
Enjoy lake fishing year round anywhere from the shore of Big Ridge Lake except the swimming beach. Expect to catch a variety of fish such as bluegill, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and crappie. The boat dock at Big Ridge park is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Canoe, paddleboat and rowboat rentals are available on the 49-acre Big Ridge Lake. Visitors may use their own electric trolling motors on park rowboats. Gasoline outboards are not allowed on Big Ridge Lake. Fishing boats, ski boats and wave runners can be launched at the boat ramp on Norris Lake. No access to boat ramp at Norris Lake during winter months.
A sandy beach next to Big Ridge Lake provides swimming enjoyment from Memorial Day through Labor Day, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. daily. An enclosed, concrete-bottomed area is provided for children. Swimming is free of charge. There is no lifeguard on duty; swimming is at your own risk.