Cozy rustic and historic 1930s cabin or modern and roomy deluxe cabin? We’ll help you decide which cabin to pick in beautiful Pickett State Park.

Let’s start off by saying I think Pickett State Park is a hidden gem of a Tennessee State Park and my family and I love going there. It’s got so much to do packed into its relatively small size, from scenic hiking trails to kayaking and swimming in picturesque Arch Lake. And I think its campground is pretty great as well.

But sometimes you don’t want to camp- the weather is bad or you randomly strained your back reaching for your coffee (hello fun 40s). Or sometimes, you want a weekend away without having to pack up all the things needed for a camping trip with the family. Enter Pickett State Park cabins.

There are several types of cabins to choose from, all in good locations, and all great choices – it just depends on what you are looking for. Lots of room? Go deluxe. Cozy and historic? Go for a CCC cabin built in the 1930s. Near the lake? Go for a standard cabin.

I’ll cover all of those options and more in detail in this blog to help you figure out the perfect Pickett State Park cabins for your getaway. I’ll even throw in some options outside of the park and the nearest hotels too. I spend a lot of time in this part of the Cumberland Plateau because of its scenic beauty and great hiking spots, of which Pickett is one of my personal favorites.

A small stacked stone rustic cabin with a chimney in the middle and 2 sets of 3 part windows is typical of the historic CCC cabins which are part of the Pickett State Park cabins for rent
One of the historic CCC Pickett State Park cabins. These cabins are my favorite to stay in but any of the cabins in the park are a great choice for a family weekend getaway.

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History of Pickett State Park

A brief history of the park is in order here because it has a lot to do with why the park’s official name is Pickett CCC Memorial State Park, why you can rent historic CCC cabins in Pickett, and also answers the burning question of what the heck is the CCC?

The CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) was a New Deal project during the Great Depression to put unemployed men back to work, eventually employing 3 million men from 1933- 1942. The park itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because so much of it is a legacy of this Great Depression project- the dam, lake, telephone lines, fire tower, roads, trails, plus several of the cabins, the boathouse, and the beach were all built by CCC workers.

Definitely stop by the CCC Museum located near the Visitor Center and main park entrance. It is only 2 rooms and you have to get a key from the park office to enter, but it is pretty interesting for its small size and worth the effort. Good pictures and exhibits tell the story of the men who enlisted in this peacetime army.

The volunteers were taught practical skills (such as masonry and carpentry) while working to improve the lives of the people around them with fire prevention, erosion control, and building parks for recreation. The men also had classes in the evenings to improve their literacy or to take more advanced subjects. 17 state parks in Tennessee trace their origins back to the hard work of the CCC.

Planning A Vacation Getaway To Pickett State Park?

Check out these other resources to help you plan your trip:

12 Fun Things To Do In Pickett State Park

My Favorite Hiking Trails In Pickett State Park

Camping In Pickett State Park

Map Of Pickett State Park

A map showing the different locations of the three types of Pickett State Park cabins. The Historic CCC cabins and the standard cabins are along the lake while the deluxe cabins are grouped together across the street from the main entrance to the park.
Map of Pickett State Park cabins, courtesy of https://reserve.tnstateparks.com/pickett/cabins with my own additions.

General Info About Pickett State Park Cabins For Rent

There are 3 types of Pickett State Park Cabins:

  1. Historic CCC Cabin – 1 BR/1 BA, sleeps 2-4
  2. Standard Cabin – 2-3 BR/1 BA, sleeps 4-6
  3. Deluxe Cabin – 3 BR/ 2 BA, sleeps 8

There are 5 cabins of each type, e.g. 5 CCC cabins (either wood shingle or stone), 5 standard cabins, and 5 deluxe cabins. So there are 15 cabins total in the park.

There are two ADA cabins- 1 Standard and 1 Deluxe Cabin and they are noted on the map above. And there are 5 dog friendly cabins, also marked on the map above.

*You can see cabins #11-15 on the map above that I have labeled chalets. These are 1 BR/1 BA connected cabins that have been rentable previously but they are not listed this year for rentals so I wonder if they are being refurbished. Hopefully they become available again sometime later this year.

What each cabin in the park has (and doesn’t have):

All cabins have included WiFi, heat and AC, an oven, refrigerator, cooking utensils, and linens (towels and bed sheets).

Only some of the cabins have microwaves, dishwashers, decks, wood burning or gas fireplaces, screened porches, dining tables, or televisions. If any of these things are important to you, please read descriptions carefully.

None of the cabins have a washer/ dryer but there is a coin laundry at the campground.

Can I Bring My Dog To Pickett State Park?

Yes! Like all TN State Parks, Pickett is dog- friendly so go ahead and bring your fur baby. My dog loves Pickett – not the paddleboarding around the lake so much but the hiking trails she adored.

There are 1-2 cabins of each type (CCC, standard, and deluxe) that are labeled as pet- friendly, making a total of 5 overall in the park. A pet fee of $20/per night will be added to your reservation.

The Three Kinds Of Pickett State Park Cabins You Can Rent

1.Historic CCC Cabins

  • 1 BR/ 1 BA, sleeps 2-4 people
  • Cabins #1-5 on the map
  • Avg $127- $281 a night
  • Wood burning fireplace

There are actually two types of historic CCC Cabins: 2 wood shingle cabins that sleep 2 people (# 1 and #4) and 3 stone cabins that sleep up to 4 people (#2, #3, #5).

The wood shingle cabins have a king bed in one large room and are 755 sq ft. The stone cabins have 1 double bed in the bedroom and 1 double bed in the living room and are 1326 sq ft. There is a small kitchen in both types, with a stove, refrigerator, and sink.

The historic CCC cabins are the only cabin types that have a screened porch but otherwise they are lacking many of the amenities that the other cabins have, such as a dining table, a microwave, television, or toaster. They do have outside picnic tables and charcoal grills.

Regardless of the small size of the CCC cabins, these are the ones I would pick first. There is a charm to their rustic nature and I like the history. #3 is my cabin of choice because of its privacy and proximity to the lake. #1 is probably my least favorite as it is not as near the lake and is close to the road.

*The CCC Cabins went through a pretty major renovation in 2019- 2020, adding AC/ heat, WiFi, and completely new furnishings. They did a great job and the cabins look spiffy and comfy.

2. Standard Pickett State Park Cabins

  • 2 – 3 BR/1 BA, sleeps 4-6 people
  • Cabins #6-10 on maps
  • Avg $100- $239 a night
  • Wood- burning fireplace

Like the historic CCC cabins, the standard cabins also have a great location near the swimming hole and boat dock. These are my next favorite places to rent after the CCC Cabins, although I really wish they had a screened porch or really any kind of porch you could sit out at.

The 2 bedroom standard cabins (#8 & #10) have a double bed in each bedroom and are 1088 sq ft. The 3 bedroom cabins (#6, #7, #9) have a king bed in one bedroom and then a double bed in each of the other 2 bedrooms to make 3 beds total in the cabin. The 3 BR standard cabins measure about 1364 sq ft.

Each cabin has an outside picnic area with a table and charcoal grill. Each cabin also has a full kitchen, complete with stove, fridge, microwave, toaster, and coffee maker. The 3 BR cabins (#6, #7, #9) have a dishwasher while the 2 BR cabins (#8, #10) do not.

Remember! Every standard cabin only has 1 bathroom, regardless of the number of bedrooms.

I would pick Standard Cabins #6 or #7 if I needed a 3 BR cabin or Standard Cabin #10 if I needed a 2 BR. Almost all of the standard cabins are near the lake, except the ADA accessible Standard cabin #9 which is around the corner on a flatter piece of land. (All of the standard cabins are situated on a hillside, meaning there are stairs up or down to all of them except #9 which is why it is the ADA accessible cabin.)

Standard cabin #10 is the closest out of all the Pickett State Park cabins to the lake.

3. Deluxe Cabins At Pickett State Park

  • 3 BR/2 BA, sleeps 8 people
  • Cabins #16-20 on maps
  • Across Hwy 154 from the main part of the park
  • Avg $157 – $284 a night
  • Gas burning fireplace

The fanciest of the Pickett State Park cabins, the Deluxe Cabins are in a group together across Hwy 154 from the park office. That does make them a little quieter than the other lodgings but also makes them a long walk to the trailheads and to the lake. It is doable though, just annoying and not fun with kids. Most people just drive across the street and down to the lake. There is plenty of parking there.

The 3 bedrooms in each cabin contain a King bed, a King bed, and then two Double beds in the last bedroom. The cabins are all 1428 sq ft and come with a full kitchen.

The Deluxe cabins are the only cabins with two bathrooms and they also have a nice covered deck off the back, although it is not screened. These are also the only cabins that have gas fireplaces instead of the wood burning fireplaces that are found at the other cabins in the park. (Could be a bonus or a negative depending on how you feel about hauling in your own heat-treated wood.) And you get TWO TV’s with streaming cable. Talk about Deluxe!

The Pickett State Park website has great descriptions of each cabin type along with a detailed list of the kitchen utensils, linens, and kitchen amenities each cabin has (such as dishwasher or toaster). Definitely check there for the most up to date list as well as recent photos of the interiors.

Reserving A Pickett State Park Cabin

General Info About Reservations

You must be 18 to rent Pickett State Park cabins and have a valid ID with you.

All cabins reservations have a 2 night minimum which becomes a 3 night minimum on the most popular days, which are generally holidays like Labor Day and 4th of July.

*Rarely, you can get a cabin for just one night at the last minute if you call or ask in person at the Visitor Center the day of. Call 931-879-5821 to speak to the Pickett State Park office directly. It probably won’t work but can be worth a try. It does need to be last-minute though.

You can reserve up to a year in advance on the website or up to 13 months in advance if you call the park in person.

Summer rentals are more expensive than winter rentals and weekdays are generally cheaper than weekends as well.

Reservations Website

https://reserve.tnstateparks.com/pickett/cabins

If your dates are flexible, use the “Calendar View” so you can see what cabins are open on what date. It gives you availability for 2 weeks at a glance and you can slide forward and back 2 weeks as needed. This is the best if you have a specific cabin you want and can change dates to accommodate.

If your dates are not changeable, then use the “Map View” to put in your date and then see what’s available.

Reservations Policies

  • You pay a deposit and a non-refundable $5 reservation fee at the time of reservation. The rest of the fee is due when you check- in.
  • If you are checking in after the park office is closed, email them and make other arrangements to pick up your key.
  • If you don’t show up for your reservation by the next morning, they will cancel it and make the cabins available for rent. If something happens, call them!

Discounts

  • TN State Residents get 10% off while active military and TN State employees get a 25%- 50% discount with some stipulations (see reservation policies for details).
  • You must bring valid ID for any of these discounts which are applied at check-in.
  • You have to be staying in the cabin (ie- can’t get the discount for multiple cabins in the same reservation if only 1 of you is active military).
  • I would call the park to ask for more exact details about the discounts if you are planning on using them.

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be made over the phone to a real person (no emails or social media DMs). Call Pickett State Park office at 931-879-5821 or the main reservations line at 888-TNPARKS (888-867-2757).

  • Full refund of deposit– 30 or more days in advance, minus $10 cancellation fee and the $5 reservation fee
  • Partial refund of deposit – 15 to 29 days in advance, minus 1st night’s stay and $5 reservation fee
  • No refund of deposit– 14 or less days in advance

Tip- If you call them and reschedule your reservation at least 14 days beforehand, you can avoid any cancellation fee.

Other Important Info To Know About Pickett State Park Cabins

  • There is No Smoking inside any cabin.
  • You must use heat- treated firewood in the fireplaces to prevent bringing invasive pests into the park. You can buy this type of wood at the Visitor Center in the park or at most general stores in the area.
  • No pets in a non-designated pet cabin. There is a big fine for this.
  • There is a recycling drop-off area in the park for glass, plastic, and aluminum as well as small recycling bins in your cabin.
  • There are bears in Pickett. Please do not leave any food stuff or residue outside, including picnic tables and porches. And lock up your cars!
  • You can do a group reservation of 4 or more cabins but you need to call the park to do that.

Where To Stay Outside Pickett State Park

Cabin Rentals

In case you can’t get one of the Pickett State Park cabins, I listed some others very close by. This is a wonderful area for the outdoors with Big South Fork and Pogue Creek Canyon also in the immediate vicinity of Pickett as well as a couple of other parks within an hour and half drive. For this reason, you will find a fair number of cabins and lodges for rent on sites such as VRBO.

Beautiful and Serene getaway- trail ride or hike directly into Big South Fork

A lovely 2 Br/ 2 BA cabin in Spruce Creek Acres has lots of charm and relaxing views of the woods from its deck. The bedrooms each have queens and the loft has 2 twins plus the house has a queen sleeper sofa to sleep 8 people max. Has WiFi and a washer/dryer. The hot tub on the back deck will be a kid favorite I am sure. It even has 4 horse stalls so bring them too (if you have some). Averages $140 a night with a $80 cleaning fee. 2 night minimum. You can bring a pet for $25. Lots of very happy reviews.

Pickett State Park is 3.7 miles away.

Cozy Cabin, Big South Fork, Horse property/ hiking/ kayaking

If you are looking for something a bit smaller (and cheaper) check out this cute little cottage with 1 bedroom (full) and loft with queen mattress. 1 bathroom and a nice deck overlooking the woods plus a kitchen and living room round out this cute and cozy place. Has WiFI and also has room for horses. Averages $95 a night and $40 cleaning fee. 2 night minimum stay. No pets.

Pickett State Park is 6 miles away.

Charit Creek Lodge

Located in the Twin Arches area of Big South Fork, Charit Creek Lodge is a hike-in lodge with rustic cabins and lodge rooms in a gorgeous setting in a valley tucked along a creek. It’s a wonderful place to unplug as there is no electricity. The folks there manage to cook up delicious meals on gas stoves and the kids have a blast chasing lightning bugs and toasting s’mores around the campfire. There is running water and showers so not totally roughing it. I love this place and go every year.

The shortest trail into Charit Creek is 1.3 miles long with a significant elevation drop down to the lodge. So I maybe wouldn’t stay here if you were planning on spending 2-3 days in Pickett but you could stop by on your way home from Charit Creek and spend the day.

Hotels Near Pickett

This isn’t a densely populated area so there aren’t a lot of hotels in the area. The nearest chain hotels are going to be found in Cookeville or Crossville, both about an hour away. My personal choice would be the Holiday Inn Express Crossville because I like that chain. I think the rooms are a good size and the kids like the included breakfast buffet.

Things To Do In Pickett State Park

Now that you have your cabin all picked out, what will you do with your time in Pickett State Park? Luckily, you have lots of options.

The hiking trails in Pickett are fantastic – mostly easy trails to impressive geologic features like caves or rock arches, perfect for families exploring with kids or people who want to get out in the woods without packing a big backpack. Or you can do one longer day hike that is well worth the couple of hours it will take you.

Other activities include kayaking and paddleboarding in Arch Lake, swimming, fishing, ranger- led activities such as finding the rare glow worms of Pickett, and enjoying the magnificent star- gazing at this certified Dark Sky Park. There is a lot of fun possibilities packed into this small but mighty state park.

2 girls on paddleboards under a massive rock arch in a lake

12 Fun Things To Do At Pickett State Park

Posted on
Everyone in the family will like Pickett CCC Memorial State Park because it has something for everyone – hiking, canoeing, camping, fishing, playgrounds, amazing star-gazing, museums, and cabins for rent….

Nearby Parks And Tourist Sites You Can Visit Easily From Pickett

Big South Fork

2 miles/4 minutes away from Pickett

This is one of my favorite places in East Tennessee with hiking, paddling, and mountain biking adventures all found in this large and gorgeous national recreation area.

The Twin Arches section of Big South Fork is just across Hwy 154 from Pickett. You can reach the entrance to this section on Divide Rd, which is just 4 minutes down the road from Pickett.

Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area

2.7 miles/ 5 minutes away from Pickett

Just 2 miles down the road from Pickett is this pretty park that I bet you have never heard of before- Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area. Which is reasonable because it was only sold by The Nature Conservancy to the state in 2006. Since then, several trails have been blazed to some fantastic overlooks, rock shelters, and waterfalls.

The trailhead is in a field off Highway 154 that also doubles as Pickett State Park’s astronomy field. You can take a fairly easy 1.8 mile Overlook Trail that loops past some huge rock shelters and to an overlook of the canyon from the trailhead here.

If you want a longer hike, you can connect to the Upper Canyon Trail from the Overlook Trail to explore more for a 6-7 mile hike, depending on how far you go. Read Independent Herald Oneida’s article about it or see AllTrails for good descriptions and pictures of the trails.

A rock outcropping with a scrubby tree is perched out into Pogue Creek Canyon.
The view of Pogue Creek Canyon from the overlook at the end of the creatively named “Overlook Trail.”

Alvin York State Historic Park

19 miles/ 30min away from Pickett

One of the most decorated soldiers in WWI, Alvin York is famous for his capture of 128 German soldiers in the Argonne Forest. The Alvin York State Historic Park includes a Visitor Center modeled after his general store, a grist mill, the York home, and a recreated WWI trench. You can hike 0.5 miles to York’s burial site by way of a neat swinging bridge over the Wolf River.

The park is free to visit but the 45 min guided tour of the York home costs $5 for adults (free for 12 or younger). You can book a spot online.

Historic Rugby

30 miles/ 45 min away from Pickett

Founded in 1880 by second sons of Britain’s landed gentry as a kind of agrarian utopia, Historic Rugby is a beautifully preserved Victorian village. You can watch the documentary and walk around free of charge or take the guided tour ($7 adults, $4 kids). I always find it surprising to find a little bit of Britain in the middle of the Cumberland Plateau and think the place is fascinating.

Obed Wild And Scenic River

47 miles / 1 hr 10 min away from Pickett

The Obed Wild And Scenic River, like Big South Fork, is another parcel of land managed by the National Park Service without actually being a national park. But you can stop by the Visitor Center in Wartburg, TN and talk to the NPS rangers to find out all the things you can do around the Obed. The most popular activities are kayaking/ rafting and rock climbing but there are some nice hiking trails as well.

The hikes around Lily Bluff area and the old Nemo train bridge are must do’s for first time visitors to the park.

Frozen Head State Park

55 miles/ 1 hr 15 min away from Pickett

About an hour away from Pickett State Park is another hidden gem of a state park – Frozen Head State Park. Tucked into the Cumberland Mountains, this neat state Park has some great hiking trails, pretty waterfalls, and one of my favorite frontcountry campgrounds in East Tennessee.

And if you like your parks with a side of fascinating trivia, then read about the Barkley Marathons, the annual ultramarathon held every spring in Frozen Head and reputed to be the hardest race in the world.

Adjacent to the park is historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, a former maximum security prison, now a distillery and museum. Take a guided tour from a former guard or inmate and learn the compelling history of this place.

Final Thoughts

I hope you get a chance to stay in one of the wonderful Pickett State Park Cabins. It really is a wonderful family getaway to an amazing state park that is jam- packed with fun activities. We think it is great!

Happy Trails!- Amanda

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