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Exploring an Abandoned Camp at Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park


Once a year, Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park rangers treat visitors to a unique glimpse of the park's past with a hike to an abandoned camp. The camp, originally run by the Boy Scouts, is usually closed to the public. On Saturday, I joined 11 other hikers eager to explore these ruins for themselves.

Following an old road on the 5-mile trek, we had a great mix of level stretches and steep hills. About half-way through our hike, we arrived and found the camp's cafeteria and three cabins still overlooking Kentucky Lake. Despite the dilapidation, it was easy to see how beautiful and peaceful a stay at the camp must have been.

From left to right: First row - 1) The cafeteria on the ridge 2) The inside of the cafeteria Second row - 3) Two of the cabins where campers stayed 4) The inside of one of the cabins 5) A third cabin overlooking Kentucky Lake

After we left the camp, we hiked through an area damaged by the March 2020 tornado. Even though it's been almost a year, this stretch of trail looked like it had just been hit by the storm.

Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park tornado destruction on trail

Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park tornado destruction on trail

We stopped for a break at the site of an old homestead. The foundation of the house was surrounded by a bright green carpet of moss that almost glowed in the winter landscape.

The day was a great opportunity to see areas of the park that aren't usually available to the public and to appreciate nature for both its beauty and destructive power.


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