Cooling Off at Bledsoe Creek State Park
The first thing that happened after we stopped at the boat ramp at the south end of Bledsoe Creek State Park was Jake, our golden retriever, jumped out and ran into the water. He immersed himself in the relatively cool Old Hickory Lake. Cathy and I would have too if we had swim suits. Man, it was hot!
Jake also got excited walking Birdsong Interpretive Nature Trail that began (or ended, depending on which way you’re going) at the public boat launch site. Had he not been on a leash, he would have tried to follow the deer he sniffed and headed pell-mell for the woods. Luckily for us, he’s a water dog.
The woods along the lakeshore are home to many critters – deer, turkeys, ducks, squirrels (that we saw) – and many more that wear fur and feathers that we didn’t see but evidence thereof, scatologically speaking. The shoreline is also where humans camp in RVs and tents.
The 164-acre park is positioned on the north side of Bledsoe Creek embayment of Old Hickory Lake. There are two boat launch ramps: one inside the park for registered campers only and the other is just outside the park on Ziegler’s Fort Road for the general public.
A long hunter, Isaac Bledsoe (c. 1735-1794), discovered the creek and a salt lick before the American Revolution. After returning from the war in the early 1780s, he built Bledsoe Station, a small fort to protect early Middle Tennessee settlers.
Bledsoe Creek State Park was designated in 1973. It is primarily a campground and a recreational area for boating, fishing and hiking.
The park has developed about six miles of hiking trails and provides environmental programs throughout the year. A mile-long paved trail called Mayo Wix is accessible to all. Mulch covers the other trails and some have covered bridges. Birdsong Trail runs from the public boat ramp, where Jake swam, for about a mile to join the Shoreline Trail. Shoreline Trail joins High Ridge Trail to encompass the park. The trek is rated easy to moderate. The short Owl Ridge Trail connects Woodchuck Hollow Trail to the High Ridge Trail.
Since 2003, park employees and volunteers have worked to catalogue various plant and animal species in the park. Funds from Tennessee’s Iris License Plate project have helped with re-vegetation and tree planting.
The park provides 57 paved campsites with amenities to make camping comfortable, including bath houses. Forty-three campsites have 50/30 amp service and 14 have 30 amp service. Recent improvements also make the campsites compliant with the American Disabilities Act.
Now for the important stuff – fishing. Bledsoe Creek leads to Old Hickory Lake where you can catch bass, stripe (“stripe alley,” THE place for catching these string-stretchers), stripers, bluegill, catfish and crappie. Oh, yeah, this quiet, no-wake cove is a terrific place for children to learn water craft skills and fishing.
Call 615-452-3706 or click here for more info on Bledsoe Creek. The park is open year-round for fishing, camping, hiking and picnicking, and, like Jake, cooling off in the lake. Try it!