This 330-acre natural area lies in the floodplain of the Middle Fork of the Obion River in West Tennessee.
Visitors to the 330-acre Big Cypress Tree State Park in the natural area will find a clean and peaceful park where they can relax and enjoy nature. Having a picnic in the picnic shelter is a popular activity. A variety of plant life ranging from native wild flowers to native trees may be seen here. Examples are showy evening primrose, Black-eyed Susans, yellow poplar, bald cypress, and dogwood. Wildlife seen at Big Cypress includes bluebirds, doves, hawks, owls, deer, squirrels, butterflies, bats, and many others. During the Fall Festival, held each fall during the month of September, visitors may see up close several birds of prey including a bald eagle.
Big Cypress is a popular park with the boy scouts and usually hosts several scout camporees each year as well as individual troop camping trips. Boy Scout leaders have used Big Cypress as a training site for new scout leaders, churches use the park and its picnic shelter for special services and cookouts, families host family reunions and area schools find the park popular for field trips.
The park is host for the annual Big Cypress Fall Festival that attracts large numbers of visitors who enjoy arts and crafts, birds of prey programs, and musical entertainment. For additional information about the festival, contact the park.
The park is named for the national champion bald cypress tree that once lived on the park. The tree was the largest bald cypress in the U.S.A. and the largest tree of any species east of the Mississippi River. The tree's diameter was 13 feet and its circumference was 40 feet.
The tree lived to be 1,350 years old before lightning struck and killed the tree in 1976. The lightning knocked the top out of the tree and the tree smoldered for two weeks. The tree is no longer standing at this time and cannot be seen from the two mile long bottomland trail that once led visitors to a place where the tree could be observed. The trail itself is now closed.
Camping is not allowed at this park with the exception of Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups who have special permission to camp, conduct scouting events, and do scout projects.
Picnicking is a popular activity at Big Cypress Tree State Park. The park offers a peaceful, quiet setting with plenty of shade. Many area churches enjoy outings here along with family reunions and birthday parties. There is one large picnic shelter that can accommodate up to 35 people. The shelter is equipped with grills, water, and electricity and may be reserved up to one year in advance. One picnic shelter with five tables, two grills, electricity, water, and restrooms is available. No charge for use. May be reserved for large groups by calling the park office, otherwise it's first-come first-serve. Ten other picnic tables on concrete pads with grills are available.
Programs are available on request from the park's manager. During the Fall Festival the last weekend in September, several park programs are scheduled including birds of prey, storytelling, and plant or tree identification.
The park has one play structure for young (10 and under) children and a basketball goal. A playground with swings is available for the 5 to 12 age group as well. A ball field with backstop for softball or any other activity requiring an open area is available.
One tree identification trail .3 miles long is available. This educational and informative trail is marked with tree identification markers. It is dry all year, easy to walk and handicap assessable. The trail starts in the picnic area, goes around the ball field and ends back in the picnic area.
Big Cypress Tree is a 270-acre natural area in Weakley County. It is a bottomland hardwood and bald cypress forest that occurs along the old river meanders and the channelized Middle Fork of the Obion River (MFOR). A bald cypress forest is present in the many sloughs and the depressional areas along the river. This forest is comprised of bald cypress, river birch, sweet gum, sycamore, overcup oak, water oak, willow oak, and cherrybark oak. The bottomland hardwood forest that occurs at higher locations includes green ash, swamp chestnut oak, red maple, and slippery elm with some white oak.
For more information, visit the Natural Areas web site.
Thanks to the Iris Fund, a beautiful plant garden featuring native Tennessee wild flowers, shrubs, and
trees was added to the park in 2007. The garden is located adjacent to the paved walking trail and adds
beauty to the park. Identification signs identify the plants for educational purposes. The garden is a
magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies.
Tour buses cannot be accommodated at this park.
Fall temperatures: warm to cool and dry
Winter temperatures: cool to very cold, usually wet
Spring temperatures: rainy and cool