Stargazing and Hiking at Bledsoe Creek State Park
Tennessee’s abundance of state parks offer quick getaways, no matter where you live. This weekend some friends and I headed 20 minutes east of Gallatin to explore Bledsoe Creek State Park. We were amazed at what we’d been missing all these years.
Hiking trails ramble through the woods, up and down hills and wind along the shoreline of Bledsoe Creek, a finger of Old Hickory Lake. The 164-acre forested state park is surrounded on three sides by water and filled with a variety of wildlife. We spotted deer, snakes, ducks and heard all kinds of songbirds. Campgrounds are scattered through the park, with open or secluded spots, but the park is also popular with day visitors.
If you’re looking for a great place to take your dogs hiking, this is perfect. We met many other walkers with leashed dogs on the trail. Everyone can enjoy a good workout! The park has six miles of relatively easy trails over a mixture of terrain. Old Hickory Lake is a fisherman’s paradise, filled with bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie and walleye. There are two boat launch ramps, or a couple of docks where you can drop a line. Make sure you have a valid Tennessee Fishing License. Picnic pavilions and picnic sites are equipped with grills, just right for cooking up your catch of the day!
The area is rich in history, once a prime hunting ground for the Cherokee, Creek, Chickamauga and Shawnee Indian tribes, when great herds of buffalo and deer followed trails looking for salt licks and mineral springs. The historic sites of Wynnewood, Cragfont, Bledsoe Fort’s Historic Park and a Mississippian-period mound complex are all within a fine-mile radius. If you visit the Sumner County Museum in Gallatin you can see an extensive array of exhibits that showcase the area’s early history.
Bledsoe Creek State Park was originally developed by the Corps of Engineers as a recreational area for camping, boating and fishing after the Cumberland River was flooded to create Old Hickory Lake and dam. It was established as a state park in 1973.
Friends of Bledsoe Creek State Park offer a number of programs throughout the year. Anyone is invited to come out and enjoy the night sky at their stargazing parties held once a month in collaboration with the Cumberland Astronomical Society. The next stargazing event will be on Saturday, Oct. 12. Meet at the big shelter at dark.
On Sept. 28, Tennessee Naturalist Susan Alsup will be leading a hike from noon – 2 p.m., then demonstrating how pioneer ladies cooked their food. Bring a chair and meet up at Shelter 2 for an time of educational fun. Flat Broke will be providing musical entertainment during the afternoon.
Next time you’re looking for a weekend getaway, pack up the family and head to Bledsoe Creek!
How many State Parks in Tennessee have you visited? Share your favorites!