3 Favorite Water Activities at the Big South Fork

Beat the heat and enjoy our 3 Favorite Water Activities at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area:

1) Swimming


The park recommends that swimmers use the Bandy Creek Pool (open Memorial Day through Labor Day). Though the pool is a great way to refresh on a summer day, a lot of people opt to swim in the river. If you are looking for a place to start, check out the Leatherwood Ford Bridge, a popular swimming spot during the summer months. If you choose to swim in the river, the park recommends wearing a personal flotation device and reminds people to be extremely careful of its hazards; deep holes, submerged rocks, tricky currents, and ledges, which can entrap feet and legs.

If you do not want to swim in the river or hit up the Bandy Creek Pool then you should check out the nearby Pickett State Park! There you will find a 12 acre lake with a roped off swimming area. This area is surrounded by beautiful sandstone bluffs and one of the most picturesque beaches in the south (open Memorial Day through Labor Day).

2) Paddling

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The Big South Fork Cumberland River, Clear Fork, North White Oak Creek and New River offer visitors a huge variety of paddling opportunities; from beginners to experts there is something for everyone! Paddling can be dangerous along certain stretches and conditions may change, so please research your river run before you head out.

During the summer at nearby Pickett State Park, canoes and fishing boats can be rented starting Memorial Day weekend. You may also bring your own canoe or kayak and paddle the 12 acre lake, known as Arch Lake.

3) Fishing

Fishing is very popular activity on the Big South Fork Cumberland River! According to the National Park, there is 138 miles of streams and the river is home to 79 different species. Out of those 79 species, 15 are classified as game fish. Altogether, the fish population contains a total of 12 different families, including lampreys, darters, shiners, minnows, suckers, and bass (fishing license is required). You may fish off the banks or paddle a boat up stream and fish as you float back down. One of the best places to fish is up stream of the Station Camp River access point!

The nearby Pickett State Park features a 12 acre lake which is stocked with trout (note: a trout stamp is required with a normal fishing license). During the summer, you may rent a boat or you can bring your own kayak or canoe.

Big South Fork Lodging Options at Laurel Fork Rustic Retreat

If you're looking for a place to stay while visiting the Big South Fork, then look no further than Laurel Fork Rustic Retreat! With many cabins options and access to the park's greatest outdoor activities you'll never want to leave! Check availability and book your stay today!