There is currently thirteen National Park Service Site in Tennessee and three associated sites.

Official National Parks of Tennessee

  • Andrew Johnson National Historic Site
  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail
  • Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
  • Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
  • Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
  • Fort Donelson National Battlefield
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Manhattan Project National Historical Park
  • Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail
  • Natchez Trace Parkway
  • Obed Wild and Scenic River
  • Shiloh National Military Park
  • Stones River National Battlefield

Associated sites of Tennessee

  • Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
  • Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area
  • Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
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Tennessee

Tennessee National Parks

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Depending on where you are from, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail either starts in Mount Katahdin, Maine and ends in Springer Mountain, Georgia or starts in Springer Mountain, Georgia and ends in Katahdin, Maine. The Appalachian Trail is 2,181 miles long and passes thru 14 states.

There is 71 miles of trail in the state of North Carolina and about 200 miles that runs along the Tennessee/North Carolina border.  At Fontana Dam, the trail enters Great Smoky Mountains, National Park.

Every year several thousand people attempt to thru-hike the trail.  Tens of thousands of people will hike sections of the trail each year.  The trail was officially completed in 1937 but the improvement has been ongoing since then.  The trail is maintained by 31 different trail clubs and other partnerships.

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Fort Donelson National Battlefield

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Manhattan Project National Historical Park

Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail

The Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail is a 444-mile long route through Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. The trail follows sections of the historic Natchez Trace, an ancient path that began as a Native American and wildlife trail.

There are five segments of the trail that are over 60-miles in length, primarily developed for hiking and horseback riding. The trail relies heavy upon volunteers to maintenance and construction.

The Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail was established in 1983.

Things to do in Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail: The Alabama portion of the scenic trail is 33-miles in length. Located in northwestern Alabama, it is considered part of the original middle section of the Natchez Trace spanning from milepost 341.8 near the Tennessee state line to milepost 308.9, the Mississippi state line.

How to get to Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail: The Alabama portion of the trail is located near the city of Florence near State Highway 20.

Where to Stay in Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail: There is no lodging available within the trail, but the city of Florence to the east has multiple options available.

Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail Entrance Fee: Free

Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail Official Website: Click Here

Map of Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail: Download

NPS Photo

Natchez Trace Parkway

Stretching 444-miles from Natchez, MI to Nashville, TV, the Natchez Trace Parkway preserves sections of the original Natchez Trace. The trail was created by the Native Americans and later used by early European and American settlers and immigrants between the late 18th century and early 19th century. Goods were transported as the easiest way to connect the frontier with New Orleans, until the creation of steamboats along the Mississippi River.

During the War of 1812, General Andrew Jackson utilized the trail heading south to defend against the Red Sticks and British army from invasion. One of the first examples of land-based organized-crime in the US occurred through the actions of John Murrell and Samuel Mason. It is also along the trace in October 1809 where Meriwether Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition died and is buried near the town of Hohenwald, TN

The Natchez Trace Parkway was established on May 18, 1938.

Things to do in Natchez Trace Parkway: Colbert Ferry, Rock Spring Nature Trail

How to get to Natchez Trace Parkway: The parkway is accessible from Highway 72 near Cherokee, AL.

Where to Stay in Natchez Trace Parkway: There is no lodging available along the parkway. The city of Florence is several miles to the east of the parkway with lodging available.

Natchez Trace Parkway Entrance Fee: Free

Natchez Trace Parkway Official Website: Click Here

Map of Natchez Trace Parkway: Download

NPS Photo

Obed Wild and Scenic River

Shiloh National Military Park

Stones River National Battlefield

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail is primarily an auto trail thru Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  The trail is operated in cooperative effort by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, and local efforts.  The trail is a 330-mile corridor.  The trail follows the route American patriots traveled during the Revolutionary War to the Battle of King’s Mountain.

These men hike and road from all over the Appalachian mountains to join the militia and fight for American’s independence.  Today the trail is 330 miles long and follows many of the original roads used by the men marching.  Important sites along the trail include the Fort Watauga Monument, Dunn’s Meadow, Roaring Creek, and Bedford’s Hill.

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail was created in September 1980.

Photo Credit – DM

Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail follows the different routes members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Ponca, and Ho-Chunk/Winnebago nations were forced to march for resettlement as part of the Indian Removal Act.  The Trail of Tears follows the four main routes from Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas on their way to Oklahoma.

The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail stands as a reminder of the horrific treatment the American Indians suffered at the hands of the U.S government.  It is estimated between 2,000 – 8,000 Cherokee died along the trail (that doesn’t include deaths of any of the other tribes or deaths in the Seminole wats).

Today, visitors to the Trail of Tears can drive any one of the four main autoroutes and visit sites such as the Cherokee County Historical Museum, Brainerd Mission Cemetery,  Cherokee National Museum, and Fort Payne Cabin Site to learn more about the journey the American Indians were forced to make and the challenges they faced.

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail was created in 1987.

Things to do in Trail of Tears National Historic Trail: Historical Sites, Museums, auto touring, walking

How to get to Trail of Tears National Historic Trail: The trail follows several routes as it pass through Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma

Where to Stay in Trail of Tears National Historic Trail: There is no lodging on the trail itself, but multiple options are located along the route the trail.

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail Entrance Fee: Free

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail Official Website: Click Here

Map of Trail of Tears National Historic Trail: Download

View all the National Park Service Sites in neighboring states: