22 Jul Unicoi County’s Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park
Our region has long been celebrated as an area of immense beauty and natural resources. The Rocky Fork State Park has been one of the jewels in the Unicoi County outdoor adventure crown. The park officially opened in May of 2015, and was renamed to the Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park (LARFSP) in January 2019 to honor Senator Lamar Alexander. The park covers over 2,000 acres of scenic wilderness in the southern Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee. Just 10 minutes from the town of Erwin, this state park is a great place to bring family and friends to enjoy many days enjoying your favorite outdoor activities.
Single Day Excursion Activities
There are a host of great activities available at LARFSP for all ages to enjoy and expand their outdoor knowledge and skills. It’s a great place to plan an educational field trip for school classes, youth groups, or adults learning about the outdoors. The park rangers are happy to help you craft a curriculum that best fits with your group.
This park offers some of the best rock climbing cliff faces conveniently accessible in all of East Tennessee. Just minutes away from the trial head, there are multiple granite and quartzite faces that have been groomed to provide a great climbing experience. Currently, the park only allows approved climbing areas in the Whitehouse Cliffs, which are maintained by Carolina Climbers Coalition and the LARFSP staff. The Whitehouse Cliffs are a 200+ foot mainly quartzite cliff face that provides nearly 40 routes currently developed. The face provides single and multi-pitch climbing routes with difficulties ranging from 5.5 to 5.12. Please note that a climbing permit is required for every individual member of your climbing group. For more information about the rock climbing programs at LARFSP, click here!
Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park is home to nearly 15 miles of marked mountain biking trails and access to 8,000 acres of remote, unmarked and unsigned logging roads. The mountain biking trails offer a variety of terrain and wilderness views.
Both the Blockstand and Rocky Fork Creek wind throughout the LARFSP landscape which are both favorites for local and visiting fly fishing aficionados. These waterways provide incredible trout fishing for all skill levels. Wild rainbow trout are readily available in the lush native vegetation in the park, and LARFSP is listed as one of the top three brook trout fishing areas in the entire state of Tennessee.
If you are looking for some great hiking and backpacking trails to explore in the Unicoi County area, Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park should be high on your list. With nearly 20 miles of marked trails within the state park boundaries, you have a ton of options for great views of the Southern Appalachian Forest that includes direct access to the legendary Appalachian Trail.
There are also Ranger-led guided hikes for those that want to learn more about the history and features of the park. You can also find very informative trail maps to help you plan your hikes at this link!
If one day is just not enough to get the most out of all the fun, Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park has three (3) primitive backcountry campsites available upon reservation. Each site is limited to two adults and up to two children (ages 13 and younger), and provides a 6’x6’ tent pad and fire ring. You can learn more about camping within the park by visiting this page.
There are also several great options for overnight stays within minutes of the park, including hotels and the very popular USA Raft campground–offering tent, cabin, and glamping options for guests. You can learn more about all the amazing adventure excursions available through USA Raft by reading this article we recently published.
The Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park is also host to a wide range of great outdoor events ranging from bird watching excursions to snorkeling. So, be sure to check the park’s event calendar for options available for your next visit. We’re sure you will find a great activity or two to enjoy with other outdoor enthusiasts so you can meet new friends and learn more about the wilderness beauty in Unicoi County!
LARFSP has recently completed the Silver Recognition Level of the Tennessee State Park’s “Go Green With Us” initiative and guidelines. The program provides standards in environmental sustainability including education and outreach, water conservation, energy efficiency, waste and recycling programs and much more. We’d love to have you partner with us as we continue to protect these beautiful wild lands and preserve them for future generations.
If you are interested in learning more about Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park, their ranger team is eager to help you find the programs and excursions that best fit with your outdoor adventure needs. Below is their contact information, and we look forward to hosting you on your next adventure here in Unicoi County and our Real.Wild.Outdoors!
Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park Address
501 Rocky Fork Road
Flag Pond, TN 37657
Phone: (423) 271-1233
P.O. Box 22
Flag Pond, TN 37657