Fort Pillow State Historic Park

Quick Facts

Fort Pillow State Historic Park

Tennessee

(731) 738-5581

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Fort Pillow State Historic Park is located in Lauderdale County on the Chickasaw Bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. It is rich in both historic and archaeological significance. In 1861, the Confederate Army built extensive fortifications here and named the site for General Gideon J. Pillow of Maury County. After the confederate soldiers abandoned the fort, remains of the earthworks were preserved. The 1,642-acre park has been designated as a Wildlife Observation Area by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Interpretive signs identify certain species and their habitat. The park provides sanctuary for deer and turkey and is frequented by bird watchers. The park features restored fortifications, a living history encampment, and cannon firing events. In addition to the historical attractions, the park has a rustic campground and backpacking opportunities. A lake gives visitors the opportunity to canoe and fish, and the views of the lake and the bluffs make great picnic spots.

Map of Fort Pillow (TN)

Latitude, Longitude: 35.640286, -89.836516

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Activities

  • Boating

    Only fishing boats and canoes are allowed on the lake. A boat ramp is available to the general public, but the park does not offer boat rentals. Electric trolling motors are allowed on the 25-acre lake; gas motors must adhere to a "no wake" policy.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Contact park regarding auto/motorcycle touring oppurtunities.

  • Camping

    The rustic campground has 38 campsites and is designed primarily for tent camping. None of the sites are equipped for RVs. There are no electrical or water hook-ups, but water is available at water stations in the campground. Tent campsites can accommodate small pop-ups, and RVs may park in front of the site. Each campsite has a grill/campfire pad, a picnic table, and pea gravel for tent set-up in a roomy forest setting. There are two full-service bathhouses. Campers register at a self pay station located inside the Family Campground. Visitors can collect dead and down wood for fires. Backcountry camping is allowed with a permit required.

  • Fishing

    Fort Pillow Lake is stocked with bass, bream, and crappie. A valid Tennessee fishing license is required. Motorboats must adhere to the "no wake" policy.

  • Hiking

    There is a five-mile trail to a backcountry camping site. The trail is hilly and moderately difficult. Backcountry camping is allowed with a permit.

  • Historic Sites

    The park's Interpretive Center and Museum is open-year round with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. The museum has interpretive displays about the Civil War. There is a twelve-minute video on the 1864 Civil War Battle of Fort Pillow that can be shown by request. Tours of the museum and restored fortifications are also available upon request.

    Most of the interpretive programs at the park are developed to enhance visitors' understanding of the American Civil War as it relates to the occupation of Fort Pillow by both Confederate and Union forces. In addition to the video, the museum features weapons of the Civil War and information about soldiers' lives. The park also has restored fortifications, a living history encampment, and cannon firing.

  • Picnicking

    A picnic area overlooking Fort Pillow Lake provides visitors with tables, grills, restrooms, and a playground. There is one centrally located picnic pavilion that is ideal for family reunions. The pavilion may be reserved up to one year in advance.

  • RVing

    The rustic campground is designed primarily for tent camping. None of the sites are equipped for RVs. There are no electrical or water hook-ups, but RVs may park in front of the tent sites.

Seasonality/Weather

The park is open year-round, as is the museum and visitor center. Summer temperatures can be as high as 90 F. Winter lows can be as cold as 28 F.

Directions

Driving

Turn west off of I-40, Exit 66 onto US 70. In Brownsville, turn right on State Highway 19. Follow Highway 19 into Ripley to State Highway 51. Turn South on Hwy. 51 to Henning, turn west onto Highway 87. Turn right on State Highway 207 East onto Park Road.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(731) 738-5581

Links