Frozen Head State Parkand Natural Area
Consisting of over 24,000 acres, with all but 330 acres classified as a state natural area, Frozen Head is truly a beautiful place to explore! The park’s terrain varies from 1,300ft to over 3,000ft, in fact, there are over 14 peaks within the park that are over 3,000 feet!
Frozen Head mountain, for which the park is named, is the highest peak in the park at 3,324 feet. During the winter months, the mountain is routinely has a snow-capped appearance which earned the park it’s name of Frozen Head.
Frozen Head is well known for it’s wild flowers and bird watching. The spring wildflower display rivals that of the Smoky Mountains. Guided wildflower walks take place on the weekends in April.
Hiking is a big part of the park, with over 80 miles of hiking trails, no matter your skill level you will have a good time here! All of the trail heads are easily accessible, and most are located near the park’s main office and visitor center. At the top of Frozen Head mountain there is a observation deck which rises above the tree line to give unparalleled views (360 degrees) of the surrounding area. The Great Smoky Mountains and the Tennessee Valley span the eastern horizon, while you overlook the Cumberland Plateau. Nearby, and clearly in view, is Fork Mountain and the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Buffalo Mountain Wind Park. The view from the observation deck allows clear view of the Wind Park’s windmills, towering 360 feet in height.
There is so much more to see and experience at Frozen Head, so make plans to visit today!
The observation deck on top of Frozen Head mountain in Frozen Head State Park offers unbelievable views of the area!
History of Frozen Head
In the early 1800’s, settlers from the mountainous regions of Scotland and Wales moved into the area and built homesteads in the high mountains. The German settlers established the nearby town of Wartburg. The mountains were rich in natural resources and after the Civil War, land speculators and northern industrialist began buying land for its valuable timber and coal reserves.
In 1894, the state acquired a large area in Morgan County as a location for the Brushy Mountain State Prison. The coal was deep mined using convict labor and the forest area supplied the timber for the mine props.
Between 1911 and 1915, the forest was heavily cut over in a steam skidder operation. The timber was sold and the Emory River Lumber Company built a railroad from the mill site at Gobey over which the logs were hauled. In later years, portable sawmills re-worked the area, cutting practically all of the merchantable timber. Logging was completed by about 1925.
In May of 1933, Governor McAllister proclaimed a large part of the prison lands as Morgan State Forest to be managed by the Forestry Division. Shortly afterwards, a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was established on the Forest. Inasmuch as forest fires and trespass protection was of primary importance, a lookout tower was erected on Frozen Head Mountain. Fire control roads and trails were constructed, the boundaries surveyed and marked and a ranger’s headquarters was built along Flat Fork Creek. The CCC camp disbanded in 1941 at the onset of W.W.II.
In the fall of 1952 the entire state forest was burned by the worst forest fire season in state history. The forestland was transferred to the Parks Division in 1970 and the area was designated as Frozen Head State Park.
In 1973, an additional 2,650 acres were transferred from the remaining acres at Brushy Mountain Prison. In recent years, two other small land acquisitions have brought the total to 13,122 acres. In 1988, all of the Frozen Head State Park acreage except approximately 330 acres was classified as Natural Area. The 330 acres lie in the Flat Fork and Judge Branch watersheds below the 1600-foot elevation contour line, and all present and future park developments will be limited to this recreation area. In 1894 the state acquired a larger area in Morgan County for the Brushy Mountain State Prison. Coal was deep mined by convict labor and the trees were harvested to supply timbers for the mines. The land was transferred to State Parks in 1970 and became Frozen Head State Park. In 1988 most of the state park acreage was classified as a State Natural Area.
Location of Frozen Head
Frozen Head State Park is located on Flat Fork Road in Morgan County, TN.
Directions coming from Knoxville, TN: Take Pellissippi Parkway toward Oak Ridge. Stay on Hwy 62 through Oak Ridge to Oliver Springs, in Oliver Springs Hwy 62 will take a right toward Wartburg. Stay on Hwy 62, take a right at Flat Fork Road, follow Flat Fork Road to the end (at the gate of the Park).
Coming from I-40 at Harriman: Take Hwy 27 North to Wartburg, take a right on Hwy 62, turn left onto Flat Fork Road. Follow Flat Fork Road to the end (at the gate of the Park).