Franklin State Forest
Temporary Use Restriction
Franklin State Forest is open only for hiking and hunting beginning March 11, 2023.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry (TDF) is instituting temporary restrictions for 120 days to assess the damage caused by off-road vehicles driven in restricted areas. This practice has jeopardized the protection of the forest and the safety and welfare of visitors. Once the assessment is complete, TDF will determine a course of action to protect the integrity of the forest and its natural resources.
Under these temporary restrictions, recreation at Franklin State Forest will be limited to people on foot and only within the visiting hours of thirty (30) minutes before sunrise and thirty (30) minutes after sunset. Motorized vehicles must be parked in designated parking areas and exit the forest once visiting hours end. Hunting will be allowed on foot and in accordance with existing Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency rules. No off-road vehicle driving, biking, horseback riding, or camping will be allowed during this assessment period.
Failure to comply with this use restriction is a violation of state law and may result in civil penalties and/or criminal charges. This order expires on July 8, 2023, unless extended or otherwise rescinded by the State Forester.
Concerned visitors are encouraged to send comments and questions to State.Forest@tn.gov
Size: 8,836 acres/3,576 ha. The land was acquired in 1936 from the Cross Creek Coal Company and was highly degraded. Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division assumed management of the area in 1940. The larger northern section of the forest was obtained in a land swap with The University of The South in 2008. Additional acreage was later obtained in the southwest portion of the forest through purchase from the Sherwood Mining Company. The Forest is on the Cumberland Plateau and located in south-central Tennessee, in Marion and Franklin Counties. The forest is 35-40 miles west of Chattanooga. About 99% of the land is forested and about 90% of the land is in hardwood forest types both young and mature. About 10% of the Forest is pine. The area has a history of timber abuse by diameter-limit cuts and uncontrolled wildfires. Silvicultural prescriptions are geared towards timber stand improvement, management of wildlife habitat and age class structure and diversity. It is home to a diverse number of wildlife species. The forest has been traditionally used for hunting, hiking, horse riding, off-road and ATV riding, and in designated areas camping.
GPS Coordinates of Main Entrance/Parking Area: 35.118191, -85.864990
Franklin State Forest Road Use Map (2 Mb pdf)
Franklin State Forest Firewood Collection Map