Get Out & Play: Cove Lake State Park

Carol EvansUncategorized

Only 35 minutes from Knoxville lies the 717-acre Cove Lake State Park, situated in a beautiful valley of the Cumberland Plateau. You can take advantage of the adventure opportunities on trails, on the water, on a crag, or simply embrace the panoramic views of the Cumberland Mountains and unique sandstone formations.


The beautiful 210-acre lake that resides in the heart of the state park makes a good habitat for bass and bluegill, and crappie are abundant, too. Fishing is allowed from any bank along the lake, so find your spot and cast your line. The park also offers jon boat rentals if you want to explore the deeper fishing waters.

Hiking is another popular activity within the park. It contains an 11-mile section of the Cumberland Trail that stretches almost 300-miles from Cumberland Gap in the north to the Tennessee River Gorge in the south. Scenic nature trails lead through a diversity of wetlands and woodlands offering wildlife viewing for the nature enthusiast. The wooded sections of trail boasts mountain laurel, rhododendron and blueberry bushes. The southern sections promise cascading waterfalls and the pools under these waterfalls look ideal for summer swimming holes.  This weekend, you can join Ranger Rooker for an easy-moderate 1.5-mile hike around Cove Lake’s Volunteer Loop Trail. More details here.

A well-kept secret among climbers is the Devil’s Racetrack formation which offers Knoxville’s nearest multi-pitch climbs and quality trad routes. The climbing conditions are suited more for experienced climbers. But if you are willing to make the climb, the dramatic valley views from the overlook will not disappoint. Curious about the name? It’s believed that the Devil’s Racetrack was formed some 250 million years ago during a period of mountain building caused by the collision of North America and Africa. The resulting compression created numerous faults and as Cumberland Mountain formed, layers of sedimentary rock – sandstone and shale – were tilted 90 degrees from horizontal to vertical. At the southwest end of Cumberland Mountain, the exposed outcroppings formed the Devil’s Racetrack. The formations are so fascinating that they are frequently visited by geology students who want to inspect the vertical flakes of sandstone that make up the Devil’s Racetrack formation.

Find more information about upcoming events and all that Cove Lake State Park has to offer at outdoorknoxville.com.

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