Located on the western edge of Tennessee, approximately 40 miles north of Memphis, Fort Pillow State Historic Park is rich in historic and archaeological significance. Steep bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River made this area a strategic location during the Civil War. The fort was originally built by Confederate troops in 1861 and named after General Gideon J. Pillow of Maury County. It was abandoned in 1862 due to the Union Navy’s advancement along the Mississippi River. The area became a state park in 1971.
The 1,642 acre Fort Pillow is known for its well-preserved breastworks and reconstructed inner fort. The park’s museum offers Civil War artifacts including a canon and interpretive displays relating to the history of Fort Pillow. There is a 12 minute video on the 1864 Battle shown by request as well as tours of the museum and restored fortifications. The museum is open from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Fort Pillow State Historic Park was designated as a Wildlife Observation Area by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and is frequented by bird watchers.
The family campground features 32 sites, six of which will accommodate RVs. There is a moderately difficult five mile hiking trail to backcountry camping. Fort Pillow State Park also has a picnic area overlooking Fort Pillow Lake providing visitors with tables, grills. There is one centrally located picnic pavilion that may be reserved and is ideal for family reunions. Restrooms and a playground are nearby.
A variety of watercraft can be rented for use on Fort Pillow Lake. Visitors may bring personal canoes, kayaks and SUPs.
The Sullivan's Lake boat ramp will accommodate any size boat. The boat ramp just received a 16 foot extension and the sides were widened. Sullivan's Pond is a no wake lake. All TN boating regulations apply.
There are approximtely 20 miles of hiking trails at Fort Pillow, many of those miles paralleling the earthwork fortifications at the site. Trail maps are available at the park office.
Sullivan’s Pond (27 acre) is located within the park and is stocked with bass, bream and crappie.
The Family Campground has six campsites that accommodate RVs and campers with 20, 30, 50-amp electrical and water hookups. The six sites accommodate rigs up to 60 feet. There are 15 sites with 20-amp electrical hookups and water stations in close proximity to each site.
The campground is trashcan free and has a dump station, a dumpster, recycling bins, and a spot for gray and black water. The dump station and dumpster are conveniently located at the entrance to the campground.
The park sells firewood and campers may also use dead wood that has fallen near their campsite.
Also located in the Family Campground are nine primitive campsites. There are no electrical or water hookups, but water is close to each site. Each campsite has a grill/campfire pad, a picnic table, lantern holder, and pea gravel for tent set-up. The area consists of a roomy forest setting and two full-service accessible bathhouses.
A group campsite is located on the Red Historic Trail. This site is has a large pavilion equipped with full bathhouses, picnic tables, grills, and fire rings. It has a large open area to set up tents. There is a small parking lot prior to reaching the campsite and overflow parking is at the butterfly garden. This site accommodates up to 200 people. Please call the park office for more information and to make your reservation.
There is a designated backcountry site located on the Blue Chickasaw Bluff Trail. The hike in is a little less than one mile. The closest water source is in the family campground about one half-mile away. There are benches and a fire ring. The newly built outhouse is the result of an Eagle Scout project.
The trail to backcountry camping is hilly and moderately difficult. Please check in at the park office or museum prior to heading out.