This 330-acre natural area lies in the floodplain of the Middle Fork of the Obion River in West Tennessee. It consists of bottomland hardwood forests including species like bald cypress and tupelo, beaver and fox squirrel.
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 hosts family reunions and area schools find the park popular for field trips.
History of the Area
The natural area is named for a champion bald cypress tree that was located on the area. The tree was once the largest and oldest bald cypress tree in the United States and the largest tree of any species east of the Mississippi River. However, a severe thunderstorm in July of 1976 produced a lightning bolt that struck the tree killing it.
The tree was once 175 feet tall, taller than any other tree in the bottomland forest. The circumference at the base was 40 feet, while the diameter measured thirteen feet. The age of the tree was estimated by the U. S. Forest Service as being 1,350 years old when lightning killed it.
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.
Picnicking is a popular activity at Big Cypress Tree park. 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. The park offers a peaceful, quiet setting with plenty of shade. The park has an educational and informative Tree Identification Trail that is about 3/10th of a mile long, with tree identification markers. It is dry all year and easy to walk. The trail starts in the picnic area, goes around the ballfield and ends back in the picnic area.
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.
Big Cypress Tree State Natural Area is located in Northwest Tennessee in Weakley County seven miles from the town of Greenfield, and may be reached by following the signs beginning at the junction of Highway 45E and Hwy. 445, just north of Greenfield.