Tennessee State Parks offer a great alternative to the frenzy of shopping on Black Friday by hosting the annual Day After Thanksgiving hikes at parks across the state.
The guided or self-directed hikes on Nov. 24 are for all ages and abilities and range from easy strolls to rugged excursions.
Big Cypress Tree State Park in Greenfield is joining the Tennessee state parks system in hosting a day-after-Thanksgiving hike from 9-10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 24. Guests are asked to meet at the park office, located at 295 Big Cypress Rd., Greenfield, Tenn.
“Join us to burn off some of that Thanksgiving dinner on a short 0.75 mile hike down our boardwalk into the Obion River Bottomlands. This trail starts behind our park office with a sidewalk going down to the boardwalk. This trail is wheelchair accessible. Dress appropriately for the weather. Closed-toe shoes are recommended,” Big Cypress representatives noted on the state park’s website.
The park’s ranger is Michael Hudson. He may be contacted by calling 731-257-0386 or by email to email@example.com. Be sure to bring sturdy hiking shoes, a daypack, water, and snacks to eat on the trail. Parks staff will hand out granola bars, which have been donated.
Big Cypress Tree State Park is named for the national champion bald cypress tree that once lived in the park. The tree was the largest bald cypress in the United States and the largest tree of any species east of the Mississippi River. In 1976, during a lightning storm, a strike caused the tree to die after living for more than 1,350 years.
The park is a quaint, clean and relaxing spot to enjoy nature’s purity and beauty. A variety of native wildflowers and trees may be seen such as showy evening primrose, black-eyed Susans, yellow poplar, bald cypress and dogwood. Along with plant life there is an abundance of wildlife at Big Cypress and the park is a popular location for birdwatchers. The park hosts several Boy Scout camporees each year as well as individual troop camping trips.
Among the many other options at Tennessee state parks the day after Thanksgiving are a hike to the beautiful Crystal Falls at Pickett CCC Memorial State Park. Learn about Red Clay’s role in the story of the Cherokee people and the Trail of Tears at Red Clay State Historic Park. Take a two-mile hike at Bledsoe Creek State Park with multiple stops that highlight the impactful wetland, fossils, and wildlife. Take a vigorous hike through ancient oak forests of the Woodland Ridge Trail at Warrior’s Path State Park. Take a three-mile moderately difficult round-trip hike to Benton Falls at Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park.
Hikers may also want to support the state parks’ Trail Pack program. Each $25 Trail Pack donation provides direct funding to the Tennessee State Parks trails program. For more information, visit tnstateparks.com.