Montgomery Bell State Park in Dickson, TN
Montgomery Bell State Park’s 3,782 acres of rolling hills and scenic backdrops offer a wealth of ways to enjoy the outdoors.
“I may be biased, but I think this is the best of Tennessee’s state parks,” says Pat Wright, park manager at Montgomery Bell State Park. “You can enjoy all kinds of recreational activities in a quiet, serene setting, and there’s lots of wildlife like deer, turkey and squirrels. The park is safe and friendly – a hidden jewel. It invites people to escape from the hustle and bustle and enjoy our good nature.”
And they do. Roughly one million people flock to the park each year to camp, hike, mountain bike, fish, swim, golf, boat, picnic and simply relax.
“Camping is a big draw, and so are our 12 miles of hiking trails,” Wright says. “All of them are fairly easy walking, but there are some hills.”
The park’s 20 miles of mountain biking trails are another draw and range in difficulty from easy to expert.
“They’re really popular and getting bigger every year,” Wright says.
The Park's Lakes
Water enthusiasts are in seventh heaven at Montgomery Bell, thanks to the park’s three lakes, all of which are open for fishing. Bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish are common catches.
The scenic Lake Acorn also offers swimming and has a sand beach for relaxation. Visitors can even rent paddleboats, canoes and flat-bottom boats from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Events at the Park
“In spring and summer, we also have free ranger programs that focus on environmental education,” Wright says.
Program topics may include the iron ore history of the park, birds of prey, aquatic ecosystems, amphibians and reptiles, nature games, recycling, fossils and mammals of Tennessee, and wildflower walks.
“We always have a great turnout for our spring Wildflower Weekend in April,” Wright says. “Our rangers lead walks and identify spring-blooming plants and flowers.”
With so much to do and see, one day isn’t enough to explore Montgomery Bell State Park. But that’s no problem, thanks to the park’s 120-room inn and conference center, which invites guests to book a room a stay awhile. Dining is also conveniently located on site. A full-service restaurant adjacent to the inn offers impressive views of Lake Acorn.
“The restaurant serves home-style buffets every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and one of its specialties is catfish,” Wright says. “We get a lot of people who come out from Dickson every day just to eat lunch here.”
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