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Reelfoot Lake State Park

2595 TN-21, Tiptonville, TN 38079, USA
| +1 731-253-9652
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Reelfoot Lake State Park Tiptonville Tennessee United States

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Sun - Sat 8am - 4:30pm

Reelfoot Lake State Park

Tucked away in the northwest corner of the state, Reelfoot is the only natural lake in Tennessee. However, the body of water was formed in a quite unnatural way, when the great New Madrid Earthquake of 1812 caused the Mississippi River to flow backward and flood a low cypress swamp. Today, the shallow 15,000-acre lake is still filled with cypress trees, which serve as home to all manner of aquatic life. Hunters and fishermen flock to the area, while birders come to see and photograph regular visits by bald eagles. Surrounding the lake are several small towns and seafood restaurants, where you can dig into platters of fried catfish and crappie. A modern state park on the southwest shore offers campsites and seven premium cabins for more luxurious accommodations.

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During the winter of 1812 a number of severe earthquakes rattled the New Madrid fault, turning nearby swampland into the the largest natural lake in Tennessee, Reelfoot Lake. The nutrient rich lake supports an incredible amount of life, from algae to fish, on up the food chain to several kinds of birds of prey. Dozens of bald eagles nest near Reelfoot each winter, and the park rangers at Reelfoot Lake State Park know just where to find them. On weekends in January and February, you can take an eagle tour, boarding an old school bus and spending a few hours traveling around the lake with a couple of park rangers. They stop at several nesting sites around the lake, breaking out telescopes to show you the eagles keeping their eggs warm. The nests are cone-shaped and can reach eight feet in diameter.