The Gems You Uncover in Tennessee's Rural Scott County

The Gems You Uncover in Tennessee's Rural Scott County

See why Scott County is considered the "Adventure Tourism Capital of Tennessee."

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The folks at Discover Scott County have dubbed themselves "the Adventure Tourism Capital of Tennessee" which, in a place East Tennessee makes them interconnected to other parts Tennessee's wondrous landscape.  

There's the Great Smoky Mountains and Chattanooga and nearly 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail to contend with, all true giants of the Southeastern outdoorsmen's lexicon. So, what lures outdoor enthusiasts to Scott County?

One of the answers is the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

(Credit: Chuck Sutherland

Like the rest of Southern Appalachia, Scott County is a place of astounding natural beauty. In this particular slice of the Cumberland Plateau, there are several state and nationally protected areas, including Scott State Forest and Twin Arches State Natural Area. But it is the approximately 125,000 acres of the Big South Fork that is undoubtedly the most renowned - a massive swath of which is located in western Scott County.

(Credit: Chuck Sutherland

Some of what folks remember most about Big South Fork are its impressive geological formations.

Over the eons, the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River carved a magnificent gorge through the wilderness, one that is walled in by picturesque rocky bluffs. But there are also formations here that are more common to the national parks of the west, including the incredible arches - or natural bridges, if you'd prefer - and the peculiar yet beautiful hoodoo spires.

(Credit: Chuck Sutherland

But it doesn't just come down to what you can see. It's also about what you can do. Out on the water is some of the Southeast's best whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing, offering runs for paddlers of all skill levels. Hiking the park can range from a leisurely nature stroll to a multi-day backcountry backpacking trip. They also contain more miles of designated mountain biking trails than any other national park in the continental U.S.

Another answer is Brimstone Recreation, that's home to 19,196 acres and miles of ATV adventure. ATV enthusiasts can bring their gear or rent a vehicle to explore the untouched lands of the Cumberland Mountains.

During the summer, off-road enthusiasts flock to Brimstone for the White Knuckle Event that features 300 miles of OHV riding and live music from artists like David Allan Coe, Dustin Lynch, Sam Hunt, Brantley Gilbert, Rhett Atkins and many more. It's two days of adventure, demo rides, mud bogs, sled pulls and a moonshine run.

Lastly, Historic Rugby sits adjacent to The Big South Fork but also is home to the new Rugby State Natural Area, a 667-acre area that has an interpretive experience of the rest of Rugby's founding as an 1880's village and has spectacular views of the Cumberland Mountains from the circa 1860s homestead built on top of a ridge.