Tims Ford State Park, Winchester

#1 of 6 in Things to do in Winchester
Q: Why is the park called Tims Ford?

A: Before the development of Tims Ford Reservoir, the Elk River main channel was used by several families for farming, recreation, milling and more. However, the river was difficult to cross at points. Many families designed their own “fords,” or ways to cross people and equipment over the river. These fords often became family businesses just like that of Abner Mansfield Tims, an early Franklin County settler. The location of this ford was near what is now the Tims Ford Dam and was used until 1885 when the Tims Ford Bridge was installed. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) decided to use that ford as the namesake of the reservoir and thus the park also used that name.

Q: What is the history of the park?

A: Many families and businesses residing along the Elk River Valley formed the Elk River Development Association in the mid 1950’s. Their goal was to bolster the economic growth in the region. They partnered with TVA in 1966 and contracted to make the reservoir for the purpose of “providing a source of water for municipal, industrial, agricultural and domestic use and as a recreational resource”. In 1969, the partnership decided to set aside approximately 1000 acres of land on the most scenic part of the lake to form a public park. Because communities were relocated during construction of the lake, the area is also a huge historical resource.

Q: What is your parks mission?

A: To plan and manage for the protection and interpretation of the natural, cultural and scenic areas that are found within Tims Ford State Park, and to provide the opportunity for a variety of outdoor experiences for the park’s visitors.

To Share the stories of the relationship between the Tennessee Valley Authority and those families affected by the inception of Tims Ford Dam.

To reveal the history of the Elk River Valley and its use across the ages. To interpret the flora and fauna found across the region and how Tims Ford State Park works to conserve and protect it.

Q: Is there any other interesting history about this area?

A: Plenty; long before the inception of the reservoir, the Elk River served as a trading and hunting ground for the Creek and Cherokee tribes of Native Americans. It was also one of the many old roads moving north to what is now Nashville, another trade center.
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Tims Ford State Park Reviews
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153 reviews
  • We were interested finding a scenic drive with lake views. Tims Ford State Park fit the bill for us. Stop at the Visitor Center/Park Office for a map. There are several miles of roads that give...  more »
  • Very beautiful cabin! From the outside it didn't look like much, but just as soon as you stepped inside it was amazing. They had everything all you need to bring is a toothbrush. Small problem with a....  more »
  • Gorgeous Lake! Large lake with many private channels to chill in. Always clean with beautiful views. Has about 4 marinas with restaurants at each end of the lake. There is a really cool cave that the lake flows into in one of the channels. The only downside would be the traffic at times, especially when they are being reckless or not paying attention so please be careful and conscious of others.
  • First visit to Tim's Ford State Park, it was AWESOME! Camped primitive on Big Island, peaceful. Island hopped the other 5 primitive sites and now having a hard time deciding which one is next. Lakeview Grill at the Marina, very pleasant operators, really good cheeseburgers! Can't wait to go back.

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Duration:1​h 30​min