Franklin State Forest
Beginning Friday, May 22, camping will reopen at Franklin State Forest. This is in addition to the reopening of camping at Prentice Cooper State Forest. All state forests will then be fully open for public use.
The health and safety of Tennessee citizens is our top priority. As the Tennessee landscape continues to green-up, and counties are reopening, our public lands are experiencing a surge in visitor traffic, including from out of state visitors. While normally desirable, this increased visitation can make it difficult for visitors and staff to maintain safe distances from each other. This is especially true on state forests where we have limited staff and resources.
We will continue to monitor activity for good health practices and physical distance to ensure visitor and employee safety. We urge the public to do their part to stay apart, and maintain proper social distancing and personal hygiene. As with the recently reopened Tennessee State Parks, we expect our visitors to follow CDC recommendations for visiting public lands. This includes:
🌳 Don’t visit if you’re sick or were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19.
🌳 Practice social distancing. Maintain at least six feet of separation between you and other visitors.
🌳 Don’t travel long distances to visit. Look for public lands that are a short drive from your house.
🌳 Don’t visit crowded areas. If an area is full, consider coming back at a different time.
🌳 Only park in designated areas. Please do not park along the shoulders of roads. If a parking area is full, please adjust your plans and find another area to visit.
🌳 Follow all forest rules and regulations.
🌳 Plan ahead. There are no public facilities on the Forest.
🌳 Masks. We recommend that you bring a mask and wear it when around other people.
🌳 Pack out your trash. When it’s time to leave, please clean up after yourselves. Carry out any trash or dispose of it in the appropriate containers.
See more for CDC Recommendations for visiting public lands.
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)
For More Information
Spencer Shebesta, State Forest Forester
310 Fire Tower Road
Sewanee, TN 37375