NEW - Campsite Reservation System
Online reservations for campsites are now available. This service will offer visitors more ease and convenience when it comes to their park stay.
» Nathan Bedford Forrest Campground Reservations
The park was named for General Nathan Bedford Forrest, the intrepid Confederate cavalry leader, who on November 4, 1864, attacked and destroyed the federal supply and munitions depot at (Old) Johnsonville at the mouth of Trace Creek. His operations were concentrated along the river in the vicinity of the park and the town of Eva.
In 1929 the park was dedicated to Nathan Bedford Forrest on land acquired in part from Benton County. Forrest was one of the greatest military tacticians and leaders of the American Civil War.
Boating, skiing, and fishing are very popular activities on 200,000-acre Kentucky Lake. Commercial marinas and public boat docks are located nearby. Three boating accesses are available in the park and there is no fee required.
Tennessee Boating Regulations (exit TDEC)
Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park features 8 cabins. Six cabins feature 2 bedrooms with 2 full size beds in each room and 2 full baths. One cabin is accessible to persons with a disability and features 3 beds and 2 accessible bathrooms. Each cabin has a fully furnished kitchen, air conditioning, gas log fireplace, satellite television, phone and outside grill. Bed and bath linens are provided although there is no maid service. There is a two night minimum for advance reservations and a three-night minimum on holidays. Also, one Rustic Log Cabin is available. It is located on a secluded ridge overlooking Kentucky Lake. The Rustic Log Cabin is a renovated 1930’s log cabin that features a full-sized bed, pullout couch, a wood burning fireplace, a full bathroom, full kitchen and a covered back porch complete with a glider and rocking chairs with a view of Kentucky Lake. Make your reservations early as this is the park’s most popular cabin. All cabins can be reserved up to 2 years in advance.
NEW – Nathan Bedford Forrest Campground Reservations are now available online.
The park has three campgrounds, two of those being primitive. Happy Hollow camping area has 37 sites, each equipped with tables, grills, water and electrical hookups. This area is served by a playground and a central bathouse with hot showers. A dump station for self-contained trailer rigs is available.
The second campground is primitive camping with 13 available sites. Water is available, but not at each site; and there is a central restroom.
The third campground is available for supervised youth groups such as scouts, etc. This campground is available upon request and is located on Kentucky Lake near the park office. The area is served by porta-johns and water is located nearby. There is no charge for use of the area, but adult supervision is required.
Fishing is very popular on 200,000-acre Kentucky Lake. Commercial marinas and public boat docks are located nearby. Large catches of smallmouth, largemouth, striped bass, sauger, crappie, bream, and catfish are not uncommon on Kentucky Lake. Three boating accesses are available in the park and there is no fee required.
A valid Tennessee fishing license is required.
Tennessee Fishing Regulations (exit TDEC)
Tennessee State Parks fishing policies
This modern group lodge has a maximum capacity of 64 persons.This facility features a large commercial kitchen, dining/meeting hall, and two bunk units, each with toilet and shower facilities. It is completely equipped for food preparation and serving, but no linens are provided. The kitchen is equipped with 2 commercial ovens, stove with 10 burners, a large commercial refrigerator and an 18 cu. ft. freezer.
Reservations for this facility should be made well in advance by calling the park office.
There are over 25 miles of hiking trails in the park. 5-mile has orange markings; 10-mile has red markings and 20-mile has blue markings. Several shorter trails ranging from .25 miles to 2 miles are also available. Two backcoutry shelters are availabe for overnight hikes and can be reserved with a permit issued at the park office. Trail maps are available at the park office and museum.
From The Tennessee Conservationist's Great Hikes With Fran Wallas
Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park – A Colorful Woodland Loop
The park has two picnicking areas. Each area has tables, water spigots and grills. Restrooms and playgrounds are located nearby.
Five picnic pavilions are available for group use, and may be reserved by calling the park office. Pavilions may be reserved up to two years in advance.
Interpretive Center and Museum
Pilot Knob, the highest point in West Tennessee, houses the Tennessee River Folklife Interpretive Center and museum. The center features the life, ways, and customs of folks on the Tennessee River and includes musseling, crafts, commercial fishing, and more. Several videos on park history, Civil War history, and river life are shown upon request. Visitors can also enjoy browsing the gift shop that offers a large variety of TN State Park souvenirs and other items. Live animal exhibits are located at this facility as well.
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 7 days a week
The museum is closed for lunch each day from 11am-12pm CT.
Phone number: (731) 584-2128
The park has a full-time ranger-naturalist who conducts regularly scheduled programs throughout the summer months and special programs on request the rest of the year. Programs include campfires, movies, slide shows, guided tours, demonstrations, and arts and crafts, canoe tours, hay rides, hikes, outdoor games, and more. Several interesting natural and cultural exhibits are featured at the park office.
Programs that are offered year-round and travel to schools include: Birds of Prey, Civil War History, River Culture, Native Plants & Animals, Nature Films and Indian Life.
Seasonal programs include: Hay Rides, Owl Prowl Program and Campfire Programs.
Dragonfly and Damselfly Checklist
Easter Egg Hunt - Usually in April, one week before Easter on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT at Eva Beach.
A prize egg is awarded in each age group. Age divisions are: 0-3 years, 4-6 years, 7-9 years and 10-12 years. Be sure to bring your cameras for a picture with the Easter Bunny.
Eva Beach Music Festival and Car Cruise-In - 3rd Saturday in September, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT.
This family friendly event has something for everyone. Enjoy the craft sale and a variety of craft demonstrations including basket weaving and Tomahawk throwing, etc. Local classic cars will be cruising throughout the day. Jumpers for the kids and games for all ages. Bands throughout the day playing bluegrass, gospel, rock and southern rock music. Vendors selling food of all varieties including fried Oreos, Bar-B-Q, burgers, and hot dogs. View
Flyer. For more information call 731-584-6356.
Monsters Cafe - Last Saturday in October
Join us at 7 p.m. CT at the park office for a half-mile hike of creepy crawly things and ghosts along the trail. The Monster Cafe will be in full swing at Shelter #1 for the kids with all kinds of food, games and treats. For more information call 731-584-6356.
NSSA Skirmish - 1st weekend in November
Target competitions with soldiers dressed in Confederate and Union attire. Set up will be at the Ball Field. The Friends of Nathan Bedford Forrest will be selling snack and drinks. Bar-B-Q will also be available for purchase. For more information call 731-584-6356.
Lighting of the Knob - November 24 (always the 1st Saturday after Thanksgiving)
Join park staff and the Friends of Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park as we kick off the holiday season with the Lighting of the Knob. There will be visits with Santa, festive music, food and fellowship. The knob will be officially lit at 6 p.m. CT and transportation will be provided. For more information call 731-584-6356.
Recreation equipment may be checked out free of charge at the park office. Recreation activities include softball, volleyball, horseshoes, and badmiton. There are also four playgrounds and a large playfield with a backstop.
Tour buses are welcome.