Noteworthy Hike in TAG: Franklin State Forest, Franklin & Marion, TN
Activities: Hiking, Photography, Nature Appreciation, Camping, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Four Wheeling
The land in the Franklin Marion State Forest was acquired in 1936 from the Cross Creek Coal Company and at that time was highly degraded. In 1940, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division assumed management and its current size is 7,737 acres.
The Forest is on the Cumberland Plateau and located in south-central Tennessee, in Marion and Franklin Counties. About 99% of the land is forested and about 96% of the land is in mature hardwood saw timber and pole timber. Only about 3% of the Forest is pine. The area has a history of timber abuse by diameter-limit cuts and uncontrolled wildfires. Current silvicultural prescriptions are geared towards timber stand improvement and management of wildlife habitat, so the area is sure to provide some opportunities to see native wildlife in the region. Over the years, the forest has been traditionally used for hunting, however other recreational uses include hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, four wheeling and camping. There are several areas for picnicking, primitive camping, and approximately 20 miles of marked trails for hiking.
Some of the more well known trails in the forest are Tom Pack Falls and the West Rim Trail which takes you along the top of Swedens Cove.
Access: The forest is approximately 40 miles west of Chattanooga and is located off Highway 156. Access from the South is through South Pittsburg, TN and access from the North is through Sewanee, TN.