Have you been to Rock Island State Park in Tennessee?
I had no idea Rock Island State Park even existed and may not have ever seen it had we not just happened upon it. We stopped in Cookeville, TN for the night and before we continue on our adventure, I really wanted to see something in the area. There were so many State Parks and different places to see around Cookeville, I had a hard time deciding which place to stop along the way. I finally picked Rock Island State Park. However, I want to go back to see all the parks and attractions around the area. Seriously.
Anyway, Rock Island State Park is an 883 acre park located on the headwaters of Center Hill Lake where the Caney Fork, Collins and Rocky Rivers converge. The rugged beauty of the park includes the Caney Fork Gorge below Great Falls Dam.
Great Falls is a 30 foot horseshoe cascading waterfall, located below the 19th century cotton textile mill that it powered over 100 years ago.
Closed Cotton Mill
Directly across the overlook and cotton mill is the Spring Castle. I loved this! It looks like a little fairy house doesn’t it? Well, maybe fairies live in there now, but the Spring Castle was previously used for much more important reasons! The Spring Castle was built while the mill was in operation. The reservoir behind the wall contains water from a natural spring. This provided water to the mill and surrounding houses for everyday use as well as fire protection for the machine shop that once stood across the road that was attached to the mill. Interesting right? (I bet fairies do live there now though!)
While we only viewed the waterfalls from the overlook, the Caney Fork River Gorge contains not only overlooks and waterfalls, but deep pools and limestone paths that are great for hiking, swimming, fishing, and exploring. The park even has white water sections that attract professional kayakers from around the world! They even have a natural sand beach and boating access on Center Hill Lake.
You can even rent a cabin in Rock Island State Park all year round or use one of their campgrounds.
The gorge area is beautiful to explore, but please remember, the water levels in this area can change rapidly as we were so warned by the sign! Yikes!
Even though we were only there a couple of hours, Rock Island State Park was absolutely beautiful and I definitely want to return and explore the entire area more!