Franklin State Forest

Franklin State Forest Reclassifies Designated Use Areas

Following months of restoration of damaged roads and trails in Franklin State Forest, motorized activity is now allowed on three unpaved forest roads.

In March of 2023, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry instituted temporary restrictions to assess the damage caused by off-road vehicles driven in restricted areas. This practice jeopardized the health of the forest and the safety and welfare of visitors.

Division staff rehabilitated more than 23 miles in Franklin State Forest, which is located in Franklin and Marion Counties. Workers restored primary forest roads, drained and filled mudholes, sowed seed, and installed cables and gates to designate closed areas.

The Franklin State Forest Recreation Use Map shows trails and roads designated for hiking (foot traffic only), non-motorized use (hiking, biking, horseback riding), and motorized traffic.

  • Hiking trail use (foot traffic only) represents 30.7 miles of activity.
  • Non-motorized use (hiking, biking, horseback riding) represents 11.5 miles of activity.
  • Motorized use is designated on 6.1 miles of unpaved forest roads.

In all other State Forests, the use of motorcycles, trail bikes, all-terrain vehicles, bicycles, and other off-road vehicles in any area of the forest is strictly prohibited, except on designated roads or trails maintained by the Division of Forestry. Damage to forest resources from motorized vehicles is not limited to Franklin State Forest, and the Division is determining measures to correct abuses across the forest system.

  • Motorized use is limited to vehicles and operators that are in compliance with motor vehicle laws of the state of Tennessee.
  • Activity is accessible from the parking lot in the middle of the forest off State Highway 156 and adjacent to the old fire tower.
  • Access is from the fire tower parking area north on Brewer Bypass to and along junction with Sweden Cove Overlook Road terminating at the Perimeter Trail junction.
  • Access is also from the fire tower parking area south on Brewer Bypass to and along junction with Turkey Hunters Road terminating at the Perimeter Trail junction.
  • The Perimeter Trail is NOT within the designated use for motorized traffic, so this path DOES NOT create a loop.
  • Nearby Remington’s Trail and Remington’s Loop are NOT designated for motorized use.
  • Traffic is both directions on designated road segments.
  • Activity is restricted to daylight hours
  • Motorized use in non-designated areas is prohibited.
  • Unlicensed OHVs are restricted to routes specifically designated as open to such vehicles.
  • Tampering with posted signs or barricades, traveling on closed or restricted roads, and/or driving around or through signs or barricades marking closed or restricted areas is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable as provided by general law. Violators will be cited.

Size:  8,836 acres / 3,576 ha.

Located in Franklin and Marion Counties in south-central Tennessee on the Cumberland Plateau, the initial land for Franklin State Forest was acquired in 1936 from the Cross Creek Coal Company. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Forestry Division assumed management of the area in 1940 and began restoration of the degraded property. The larger northern section of the forest was obtained in a land swap with The University of The South in 2008. Additional acreage in the southwest portion was purchased from the Sherwood Mining Company to complete Franklin State Forest.

Nearly all of the land is now forested with approximately 90% in hardwood forest types, both young and mature. About 10% of the forest is pine.

The area has a history of timber abuse by diameter-limit cuts and uncontrolled wildfires. Silvicultural prescriptions are focused on timber stand improvement, management of wildlife habitat, and age class structure and diversity.

It is home to numerous wildlife species. The forest has been traditionally used for hunting, hiking, horseback riding, and backcountry camping.  

GPS Coordinates of Main Entrance/Parking Area:  35.118191, -85.864990

Franklin State Forest Road Use Map  

Franklin State Forest Firewood Collection Map


There is no designated camping area at Franklin State Forest. Backcountry camping requires a written permit from the District Forester.