(Last Updated On: March 2, 2023)

long exposure shot of a waterfall at Frozen Head State Park

Hidden away in the mountains on the Cumberland Plateau near Wartburg, this Tennessee state park is one of the best outdoor destinations. It’s only an hour west of Knoxville which makes it an excellent weekend getaway for anyone in the East Tennessee area.

This park covers an expanse of 24,000 acres of wilderness making the park one of the best natural areas to visit. The park is covered in densely forested areas seemingly unspoiled by human interference or nature. An entrance into the park feels like stepping into some green wonderland straight out of a movie scene.

If the promise of breathtaking dense forest isn’t tempting enough, then come here for camping. The park has an amazing campground with great hiking trails and phenomenal scenes of Flat Fork Creek. The general feel of the park is an added temptation to visit. It has such a beautiful family-friendly feel to it made even better by the amazing staff.

Although its location is off the beaten track, it tends to be less crowded than other parks nearby. This essentially makes it one of the quietest parks in the area. The campgrounds are very comfortable with plenty of spots for kids and adults to have fun. On a hot summer day, you can swim to cool off while the children entertain themselves at splash spots.

The 360-degree lookout tower is absolutely incredible, especially in the fall when the colors are just splendid. Dog parents can bring along their best friend since the trails are pet friendly.

The state park is named after Frozen Head Mountain which is 3,324 feet above sea level. The park has several other peaks of 3,000 ft and higher. Just as its name suggests, the peaks are mostly shrouded in fog and ice in the winter.

aerial photograph of Frozen Head State Park

The Frozen Head Mountain tip has a phenomenal observation tower.

Flat Fork Road is the only road running through the park and ends at the trailhead for Panther Branch Trail. You can access most of the activities and locations in the park on this road including the Visitor Center, the primitive campground, the front-country campground, the picnic area, and most of the trailheads for the main trails.

Camping in this park is a fantastic experience. The front campground is cozy and there are 10 backcountry sites. The camp also has a creekside campground. Hikers will definitely love this park with 50 miles of trails and one for bikers.


If you are out for a family getaway with kids there are plenty of activities for them to enjoy. The park has two large playgrounds and lots of opportunities for rock hopping and splashing at Flat Fork Creek. Other activities in the park include birding, picnicking, trout fishing, and wildflower spotting mainly in the spring.


Fork Head State Park is lauded for its amazing camping facilities. There are three camping choices; Big Cove Campground, Flat Fork Primitive Campground, or the 10 backcountry sites.

picnic tables under fall foliage at Frozen Head State Park

Big Cove Campground

This is the front-country campground with 20 campsites but doesn’t have water, sewer, or electrical hookups. There’s no dumb station either. On the other hand, it has a nice bathhouse with free hot showers and flush toilets. This campground is small and feels very cozy. It is very family-friendly in nature and has many fun activities within a walking distance such as playgrounds, picnic areas, hikes, and the creek.

The campground allows a maximum of 6 people per site with the exception of two group sites that can hold 15 and 20 people each.

The bathrooms are nice and clean and have been recently renovated. There is a water spigot here and a nice dishwashing station.

Flat Fork Primitive Campground

There are 8 primitive campsites spread out along Flat Fork Road. Each site has a stone fire ring and a picnic table and can hold up to 15 people. The campsite has a port-a-potty and bear-proof trash cans. You can find some hot showers and flush toilets at the nearby Big Cove Campground and Old Mac Trailhead.

Backcountry Campsites

Frozen Head State Park has 10 backcountry sites scattered throughout the park. Some are nearby while others require a strenuous hike. You will need to make a reservation for the backcountry sites. Plan to get to the park on time since it closes at sunset. If the campsite is far, you also need to get there before sunset since the trails will be closed.

stream in the woods at Frozen Head State Park


Fishing is done at Flat Fork Creek which flows through the park. The seasonal river is well stocked with Rainbow Trout in the spring and trout from February to March.


Frozen Head State Park is an excellent habitat for high-breeding species of Neotropical migrant birds including the rare cerulean warbler. You can also spot blue-gray gnatcatcher, Acadian flycatcher, northern parula, Louisiana waterthrush, and the yellow-throated warbler in the spring and summer along the creek.

In the fields and along the edges, one can spot the American robin, brown thrasher, and the Eastern bluebird. The roadside forest is packed with red-eyed vireo, wood thrush, easter wood pewee, yellow-throated vireo, ovenbird, scarlet tanager, and black-and-white warbler. The hiking trails provide some excellent opportunities for birding.

The park boasts a wide variety of breeding populations such as black-throated blue warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, Blackburnian warbler, veery, rose-breasted grosbeak, and Canada warbler. These are more easily observed at higher hiking elevations. Frozen Head is a rewarding place to do birdwatching. There are over 130 species of birds to be observed in the Cumberland Mountains.

road through the forest at Frozen Head State Park


With 50 miles of trails in the park for walking, running, biking, and hiking. Only one trail is dedicated to hiking alone. The popular hiking trails are; Chimney Top Trail which leads to CHimney Top Mountain, Lookout Tower Trail which climbs to the summit of Frozen Peka and the Bird Mountain Trail which summits Bird Mountain.


Biking can be done at the West Lookout Tower Trail and East Lookout Tower Trail. These two trails are however not for beginners due to the length and inclines. The trail length is 9 miles and is rated as advanced.

Park Location

Frozen Head State Park
964 Flat Fork Road
Wartburg, TN 37887
Phone: 423.346.3318

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Frozen Head State Park: