Frozen Head State Park is a hidden gem among the Tennessee park system. This 24,000 acre park offers the dramatic landscapes and elevation change often associated with the nearby Smokey Mountains, but does not experience the crowds and congestion of some of the more heavily trafficked parks. With over 50 miles of interconnected trails and 10 back country campsites, Frozen Head has something for hikers of all skill levels.
Getting there: Frozen Head State Park is easily accessible from Interstate 40 and Interstate 75. For driving directions to the park, visit this page .
Frozen Head is open year round, with fall and spring being the busiest seasons. Even during peak visitation periods, there is typically ample parking at the visitor center and trail heads. A well planned parking lot and trail head system typically accommodates all traffic, even during the fall color and spring wildflower crowds. All roads and parking lots are paved or well maintained.
Frozen Head State Park offers an impressive variety of attractions, especially considering the relatively small size of the park. Perhaps most notable is the 3,324 foot Frozen Head Mountain peak which is often covered in snow or ice during winter months while the surrounding lower elevations remain below freezing. The lookout tower and observation deck on top of this peak offers 360 degree views from which the Great Smokey Mountains are visible to the east on clear days.
The spring wildflowers at Frozen Head are considered some of the best in the region with abundant displays of trillium, phlox, wild iris and nearly 100 other species. The park offers a wildflower checklist which can be found here
Fall foliage at Frozen Head is as impressive as the spring wildflower show, especially when viewed from the lookout tower. Mountain views, waterfalls, trout filled streams and a dramatic mountain landscape also provide something for every nature enthusiast.
Picnic pavilions and heated bathrooms with running and potable water are available at several trail heads including Old Mac, Big Cove and the visitor's center.
When to Go
Fall is the most popular time for visitors at Frozen Head with the spectacular autumn foliage drawing the largest crowds. Spring wildflowers are also a big draw for the park. Summer and winter are the best seasons for those who want to avoid the crowds and find solitude on the trails.
There are no fees to enter Frozen Head, but front country and back country camping do require paid permits. For information on fees or to purchase a permit online, click here .