Franklin State Forest
Temporary Use Restrictions Amended and Extended
Franklin State Forest is open during daylight hours to non-motorized use (hiking, hunting, horseback riding, mechanical bicycles) through January 4, 2024
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry (TDF) is amending and extending the temporary restrictions of Franklin State Forest located in Franklin and Marion Counties. Public motorized vehicle use and camping will continue to be prohibited while non-motorized traffic, such as hiking, horseback riding, and mechanical bicycles will be allowed during daylight hours through January 4, 2024.
“Damage from motorized vehicles, especially in non-designated areas, is extensive at Franklin State Forest. We have been assessing conditions since March and have determined significant impact to erosion control, water quality, forest health, and other forms of recreation. This extension of some restrictions will provide our forest staff time to make repairs and consider future use on all forest roads and trails to adequately protect, conserve, and enhance this public forest for future generations.”
- State Forester David Arnold
Under the amended restrictions for Franklin State Forest, all motorized vehicle use including, but not limited to, motorcycles, dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles, and off-highway vehicles is prohibited. Non-motorized recreation is limited to hiking, horseback riding, and mechanical bicycle within the visiting hours of thirty (30) minutes before sunrise and thirty (30) minutes after sunset. Several trails remain foot-traffic only (refer to Use Restriction Map). Motorized vehicles must be parked in designated parking areas and exit the forest once visiting hours end. Hunting will be allowed on foot and in accordance with existing Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency rules.
This restriction is mandated pursuant to Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 0080-07-01-.05 for the protection of Franklin State Forest and the safety and welfare of visitors. Motorized vehicles are allowed to access the three designated parking areas on the forest.
Failure to comply with this use restriction is a violation of state law and may result in civil penalties and/or criminal charges. This order expires on January 4, 2024, unless extended or otherwise rescinded by the State Forester.
Concerned visitors are encouraged to send comments and questions to State.Forest@tn.gov
Size: 8,836 acres/3,576 ha. The land was acquired in 1936 from the Cross Creek Coal Company and was highly degraded. Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division assumed management of the area in 1940. The larger northern section of the forest was obtained in a land swap with The University of The South in 2008. Additional acreage was later obtained in the southwest portion of the forest through purchase from the Sherwood Mining Company. The Forest is on the Cumberland Plateau and located in south-central Tennessee, in Marion and Franklin Counties. The forest is 35-40 miles west of Chattanooga. About 99% of the land is forested and about 90% of the land is 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 geared towards timber stand improvement, management of wildlife habitat and age class structure and diversity. It is home to a diverse number of wildlife species. The forest has been traditionally used for hunting, hiking, horse riding, off-road and ATV riding, and in designated areas camping.
GPS Coordinates of Main Entrance/Parking Area: 35.118191, -85.864990
Franklin State Forest Road Use Map (2 Mb pdf)