Big Hill Pond State Park

Big Hill Pond State Park lies in the southwestern part of McNairy County, Tennessee and encompasses approximately 5,000 acres of magnificent timberland and hardwood bottom land. Cypress Creek and Tuscumbia River border the property. Several oxbow lakes and sloughs add to the waterway. The flood plain adjacent to both the Tuscumbia River and Cypress Creek contains small oxbow lakes and swamp areas which are desirable habitat for waterfowl, wildlife and fishing.

Big Hill Pond Highlights

Park Highlights: The Boardwalk and Dismal Swamp–eight tenths (.8) of a mile long, through the scenic Dismal Swamp. The Observation Tower–70 feet tall, this refurbished fire tower offers a panoramic view of Travis McNatt Lake and Dismal Swamp Civil War Earthworks–railroad guard post built by Union Soldiers Nature Watching–waterfowl, including osprey, migrations in spring and fall, some year round residence, abundant wildlife.

The park derives its name from Big Hill Pond which was created in 1853 when dirt was scooped from a borrow pit to build a levee across the Tuscumbia and Cypress Creek bottoms for the Memphis to Charleston Railroad. Over the years, a great stand of cypress trees has grown in and around the 35-acre pond. The Pond is accessible by four wheel drive.

Big Hill Pond Biking

Mountain bikes are allowed on the same trails as horses, but please be considerate of one another when meeting or passing.

Big Hill Pond Boating

Some light vehicles do have a problem getting up the steep boat ramp. Ramp can accommodate boats as big as a 20 ft. bass boat as long as your vehicle is large enough to pull up the steep ramp.

Boats need to use electric motors only.

Tennessee Boating Regulations (exit TDEC)

Big Hill Pond Camping

No backcountry camping allowed. However, backpackers may hike in to four different camp shelters, three of which are very remote.

Shelters are on a first come basis.

When staying at shelters, if you do not check in with the office or park ranger, please leave a note on your dash as to which shelter you are staying and how long so the ranger will know why your vehicle is parked overnight.

How many people may stay at one site? From one person to as many as ten may stay in the shelter. Shelters have six bunks, however, four or more persons may sleep on the floor.

No pets inside the shelters.

Four scout camps are available, one in the campground area and three down the gravel road past the park office. Site 19 is the designated scout camp in the campground.

Quiet time in the campground is 10:00 p.m. Because the campground is small, there is no generator operation after 10:00 p.m.

Big Hill Pond Fishing

The old Big Hill Pond is accessible by four-wheel drive, the fishing and the view are great. This lake was created in 1853.

Travis McNatt Lake is 165 acres and is spring fed year-round, fishing is good for bass, bream, and catfish. A valid State of TN fishing license is required. TWRA rules and regulations apply to hunting and fishing at the park.

Tennessee Fishing Regulations (exit TDEC)
Tennessee State Parks fishing policies

Big Hill Pond Hiking Trails

Thirty miles of overnight and day use trails with four backpack trail shelters can be found on the park. Five miles of hiking trail and two trail shelters lies south of railroad. This is within our hunting area.

From The Tennessee Conservationist’s Great Hikes With Fran Wallas:
Wetlands, Wilderness and Wildlife at Big Hill Pond

Big Hill Pond Horseback Riding

Big Hill Pond park has approximately 14 miles of horse trails. The trail is blazed in red. horse trail is shared with mountain bikers. Please read rules upon entering park.

No horses are allowed on hiking trails. No horses are allowed on the back or the front of the Lake Dam. Horse trail is shared with mountain bikers. Please read rules upon entering park.

Horses must stay on the red trail and fire roads. Most of the fire roads are double back roads. The horse trail is shared with mountain bikers. Please read rules upon entering park.

Big Hill Pond Picnic Facilities

You may picnic in the campground or the chimney area across from playground. The picnic area down by the lake has 22 sites, two of which are wheelchair accessible. First-come, first-serve basis.

Big Hill Pond Programs

Reptiles (available to schools, seasonal)

Summer Camp (seasonal)

History of Big Hill Pond (year round and available to schools)

Log Rolling (seasonal)

Backyard Wildlife (seasonal)


The history of Big Hill Pond includes tales and stories of long ago. Read the stories of this state park before you witness them.

Tour Buses

Tour buses are welcome on the paved roads in the park.

***This information has been copied from this website. More information can be found on the park by clicking on the link.***

4 Responses to Big Hill Pond State Park

  1. Phyllis thomas says:

    Can one acess observation tower and board walk by vehicle….husband vision impaired..unable to walk trails


  2. Bill says:

    What type bait is used for bass and bream


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