Frozen Head State Park and Natural Area encompasses more than 24,000 acres of wilderness area and is named for a 3,324-foot peak in the Cumberland Mountains, the top of which is often shrouded in ice or snow in the winter months. The impressive entrance leads visitors into a vestige of densely forested, unspoiled mountain splendor — once common throughout the Cumberland Plateau.
There are 20 primitive tent campsites within the park. Fifty miles of backpacking and day-hiking trails provide wildlife viewing opportunity. Many of the trailheads are located near the park office, with lesser-used trailheads located at Armes Gap and just off Highway 62 to the south. Most of the trails are open only to hiking, although mountain biking is allowed on the Lookout Tower Trail, which leads to the summit of Frozen Head.
In 2006, the park replaced the aging CCC fire tower at the summit of Frozen Head with an observation deck. There is scenic seven-mile trail leading to the observation deck. The observation deck rises just above the treeline and allows for a 360-degree view of the surrounding terrain. The Great Smoky Mountains and the Tennessee Valley span the eastern horizon. Walden Ridge— where the Tennessee Valley meets the Cumberland Plateau— is visible to the south.
The Audubon Society recognizes Frozen Head as part of the South Cumberland Mountains Important Bird Area. Important Bird Areas, or IBA’s are sites that provide essential habitat for one or more species of bird.
The park features over 50 miles of foot trails that meander by waterfalls, rock shelters and giant mountaintop cap rocks. A portion of the Cumberland Trail passes through the park.
The parks trail system is for hikers only but a nine mile fire road offers a great view of the park all while climbing to the parks high point.
Trail Length: 9 miles
Trail Rating: Advanced
We are happy to report that we have received the first stocking of trout in Flat Fork Creek!
BIG COVE CAMPING
Twenty rustic campsites are scattered throughout the Big Cove Camping area. Visitors will find a modern bathhouse that provides hot showers. A centrally located water faucet is provided for drinking water and a sink basin behind the bathhouse is provided for dish washing. Each campsite is equipped with a parking slip, picnic table, grill, lantern hanger and fire ring. Electricity, water hookups and dump stations are not available at Frozen Head.
Two group sites, #5 & #18, with a capacity of 15 to 20 people are available in the Big Cove Campground and may be reserved on-line or by calling the park office up to a year in advance.
Eight primitive group campsites are located in the Flat Fork Primitive Group Site Area located on Flat Fork Rd. Each of these sites holds up to 15 people. Flat Fork Primitive Group sites are located on the northern edge of the road between the Shelter A Picnic Area and the Panther Branch Trail Head. The sites are linear and located between the road and Flat Fork Branch. Flat Fork Creek can be dry during dry conditions.
One parking space per campsite. For additional parking, use the picnic area parking and/or the Panther Branch Trail Head parking area. Please pick up a campsite parking tag for additional vehicles parked in areas other than Flat Fork Primitive Group Sites.
Frozen Head State Park boasts over 50 miles of backpacking trails with 10 designated backcountry campsites – 4 of which are group sites. Park Management encourages campers to reserve their campsite early to ensure they have a site upon arrival. Reservations must be made no later than 4:00 PM on day of planned stay. Multi-night camping in different locations is permitted with one reservation. Remember to follow all park rules.
Site capacity information and description can be found under site features on the backcountry camping reservation page. Please look closely at the campsite’s capacity when reserving; we encourage our campers to adhere to the minimum capacity for the group sites.
Hiking is required to reach each site. The mileages are listed with the campsite descriptions. No hiking is allowed on trails after dark. Please allow ample daylight hours to reach your designation. Each site has a designated fire ring. Check fire index sign in the Visitor Center parking lot. Levels 1 and 2 indicate backcountry fires are allowed. Levels 3 to 5 indicate no fires are permitted. Water must be filtered from the natural sources or carried in. Please plan your water needs in advance. Not all the sites have a dependable water source and availability is seasonal.
Please help us keep the backcountry clean for all our park visitors and follow the Leave No Trace policy. What you take in, you take back out.