Montgomery Bell State Park
1020 Jackson Hill Road
Burns, Tennessee 37029
Montgomery Bell State park is located in Tennessee approximately 45 minutes west of Nashville. The entire park is about 4,000 acres including a campground, villas, cabins, inn, conference center, picnic areas, golf course, and 12 miles of hiking trails. Three lakes are scattered throughout the park.
There is a modern campground as well as back-country camping (back packing). The modern campground consists of 116 sites. All sites are 20,30,50 amp and include water as well. The exception are the tent sites that have no utilities. Forty sites are full hookup. This was a pleasant surprise to have so many full hookups at a state park. We stayed on site #115. Sites range from $11-25/night. Back-country camping is free, however, you must make a reservation and obtain a permit from the park office. There are three back country shelters available. Three modern bathrooms are situated within the campground. Laundry facilities are centrally located in the campground. The washing machines cost $2.50/load and the dryers were .25 per 8 minutes. There was no Wi-Fi nor cable and local antenna channels were very limited. A small camp store is located within the campground and is run by the camp host. Firewood, ice, snacks, souvenirs, and a limited number of supplies are available.
The campground is typical of most Tennessee state parks; It was taken care of yet nothing too elaborate. There were no flower beds or special landscaping features. Yet, the park had tall trees and shady campsites. There were dumpsters in the campground, however we were a bit confused… signs indicated that as of spring 2016, Montgomery Bell would be trash free. We can only presume that at some point the dumpsters may be removed and what is brought in, must be taken with you.
Most sites were decent sized and level, though some had inconvenient locations for their fire pit.Some locations had the firepit very near the road, or very close to the neighboring sites.
Rating: (One to five lanterns with five being the highest)
Most likely, if you choose to camp at Montgomery Bell State Park, you are seeking some peace and quiet hiking the multiple trails or fishing one of the three lakes in the park. There are also canoe/paddleboat/kayak/fishing boat rentals. A ball field is located adjacent to the campground. The park has almost 24 miles of mountain bike trails. The swim beach on Lake Acorn is free and open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., May 15 through Labor Day Weekend. The park inn has an indoor and outdoor pool for inn and cabin guests only. A restaurant is located in the Inn. The dining room can seat 180 and has a beautiful view of Lake Acorn. The back dining room can seat 60 and has a panoramic view of the cove side of the lake
There is not a whole a lot to do outside of the park. There are a few restaurants located in town as well as a grocery store. None seemed too spectacular as we drove through town. Although Nashville is 45 minutes to the east of the park, it is a bit of drive to use Montgomery Bell State Park as a base camp for Nashville attractions.
Being dog owners, we were a bit discouraged that this state park, as large as it is, does not include a fenced-in dog park. They certainly have the space to host one. On the positive side, there are 12 miles of hiking trails and roads throughout the campground and park for walking the dog. The creek along the perimeter of the campground provides a nice way for the dogs to cool off.We enjoyed hiking the trails and found most areas to be flat and well blazed, although there were also many areas with roots and rocky areas, as well as parts that were close to steep drop-offs. Overall, we enjoyed the hiking experience and were happy at the amount of trails available.
There are paved roads throughout the park so kids can bike. There is a campground next to the ball fields. There are quite a few picnic areas and shelters.
Bathrooms and Showers
There are three restrooms/shower houses located throughout the campground. We felt this was adequate for this size of a campground. Each included 4 shower stalls, including a dressing area with 2 hooks. The condition of the shower houses were ok. There is a newer shower house (not pictured) and two older facilities. One of the older shower houses had a camp sink, as well as washers and dryers. The water was hot and some of the stalls had what we call “bullet” spray. The toilet paper was ridiculous! It was so thin and wound so tightly on the spool that it would break off after every few inches. The state should consider investing in more quality toilet paper for its camping guests.