Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park, Manchester

#20 of 103 in Wildlife in Tennessee
Must see · State Park · Historic Site
The Old Stone Fort was built during the Middle Woodland Period, 1,500-2,000 years ago. Native Americans used this area continuously for about 500 years, eventually leaving it abandoned. By the time European settlers arrived, it was unclear of what the area had been used for which resulted in it being misnamed as a fort. In 1966, the state of Tennessee purchased 400 acres of the Chumley estate as the core of what is now Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park.

The park is home to an abundance of activities for guests to enjoy. The main hiking trail follows the wall of Old Stone Fort which was used by the Native Americans as a ceremonial gathering place. The trail threads through dramatic scenery where you can see the original entrance of the fort which was designed to face the exact spot on the horizon where the sun rises during the summer solstice. Visitors can learn about the Old Stone Fort on this hike with twelve interpretive panels as well as enjoying the areas graceful waterfalls.

The Old Stone Fort attracts history enthusiasts from all over. The park’s museum consists of displays of prehistoric Native American replicas as well as dioramas and photos. The exhibits provide information on the theories regarding the enclosure’s builders, archaeological excavations at the site and the culture of its builders. There is also a small theater for viewing an orientation film and other videos as well as group presentations. The museum also houses the welcome center, park office and gift shop.
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Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
260 reviews
  • The original settlers knew a special setting when they found it. Ancient Native Americans made this a sacred place for ceremonies thousands of years ago. It still offers fantastic scenery and...  more »
  • We came on a road trip break. Could have spent more time, but would say an hour is a minimum to gain an appreciation of the settling. True, the free museum is small, but also very good. The...  more »
  • This was a beautiful place. We camped for 2 nights. Campsites are clean and somewhat secluded. Showers were hot and clean! Trails were marked well, and the scenery is awesome. there are a few waterfalls to see, as well as an abundance of wildlife. Friendly and super knowledgeable staff, a museum and recreation area. We had a wonderful time, we can't wait to come back!!
  • One of the absolute best places to spend the day in Tennessee. The state has done an excellent job in preserving the heritage of this land, and the surrounding waterfalls are some of the most serene in the south. The museum is informative and up to date, and the staff has done a great job keeping it clean & inviting. As rare as it is to see native american history so well preserved in the southeast, we were beyond thrilled to experience this incredible landmark and all it has to offer.
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