Located in Coffee County, Old Stone Fort is one of Tennessee’s great archaeological mysteries. It’s not really a fort at all, but rather a series of walls that most likely had some ceremonial or religious significance to early residents of the region. Scientists have determined that the structure was built over the course of several centuries, beginning between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago, and that Native Americans occupied the surrounding area continuously for a half century. By the time Europeans arrived, however, Old Stone Fort had been abandoned, thus launching the mystery of its provenance and use.
Today, the fort is the centerpiece of a popular state archaeological park. A main hiking trail winds through the 400 acres, leading to informative panels that detail what the fort once looked like, how it was constructed, and what it might have been used for throughout the ages. Hikers can also look forward to dramatic scenery, including several cascading waterfalls.