Rock Island State Park, TN

March 8, 2017

Situated in the southeastern region of the U.S., Rock Island State Park in Tennessee is home to gorgeous lakes, beautiful trails and amazing gorges and slopes. Covering 883 acres, it has plenty of space for everyone to enjoy. Three rivers flow together in this park, namely the Rocky River, the Collins River and the Caney Fork River. Another key water based attraction of the park is the tranquil Center Hill Lake.

center hill lake

One of the main places of interest within the park is the Caney Fork River Gorge, which is located along part of the length of the aforementioned Caney Fork River. This gorge features some highly atmospheric limestone trails which are perfect for hiking, some fairytale waterfalls and several pools sunk deep into the rock. Opening out onto Center Hill Lake, this gorge also boasts a natural sand beach along which visitors can walk or sunbathe.

sand beach

An old dam, an historic old Mill and plenty of comfortable rustic cabins situated close to the Gorge make it one of the park’s focal points. Almost everyone who visits ends up at the Gorge, keen to experience its majestic beauty for themselves. The Dam itself is home to a waterfall known as the Great Dam Fall. Other key waterfalls in the region of the gorge include the Twin Falls, which are absolutely stunning, though it is dangerous for visitors to swim or wade near them due to their strong currents.

rock island

Kayaking in Rock Island State Park: A Popular Pastime

Kayakers come from all over the country, indeed from all over the world, in order to experience the wonder of kayaking in Rock Island State Park. There is a fantastic variety of different kayaking experiences. There is also a white water section of the park for experienced kayakers along the Caney Fork River Gorge and it is truly memorable. The Gorge can be accessed via Center Hill Lake, and the lake itself is a calm place for beginners to practice their kayaking skills. If you need to look for a kayak to have this adventure, check out


Visitors can bring their best inflatable kayak if they prefer, but it is also possible to rent equipment (including life jackets) from the park itself. Kayaking lessons are also regularly available. Swimming and fishing are other popular water related pastimes here, though some areas of the park (including the Gorge itself, where water can rise rapidly and flow very swiftly) are not suitable for swimming. Spacious and conveniently situated parking lots make it easy to get trailers and equipment to and from the lake and the gorge.

rock island falls

In conclusion, Rock Island State Park is an extremely popular kayaking destination, and with good reason. There are stretches of water suitable for kayakers of all levels here, and the white waters that rush along the gorge draw professional kayakers from across the globe all through the year. Make sure to read some inflatable kayak reviews before you go. The combination of beautiful scenery and plenty of space makes this park a highly desirable place to engage in any kind of water sports.