Rustic and rugged Standing Stone State Park
Country roads can take you home, but they can also take you to some amazing parks. Rustic and rugged are the two words that best describe Standing Stone State Park along the Cumberland Plateau. State highway 136, the main route through the park, winds past small farms, forgotten crossroads and eventually into the forest surrounding this surprising state park just a few miles west of Livingston.
The park was created back in the 1930’s as part of a New Deal effort to improve soil conservation efforts in the region. The Civilian Conservation Corps, a group responsible for park building efforts across the country, were the primary builders of the park and its landmark stone dam which holds back the water for Kelly Lake. Today, this small body of water is a popular spot for canoeing, pedal boating, kayaking and fishing.
Just below the dam as Mill Creek makes its run down the narrow valley you’ll find a swinging bridge. It’s a popular attraction in this relatively small park and definitely a great place to take photos with the water on the dam falling over the beautifully cut stones. And while there’s not much on the other side of the bridge, it’s fun to cross if you’re up to it. Equally fun, is the quick drive along the top of the dam where Highway 136 crosses.
According to the park’s website, the Standing Stone was a 12-foot high ledge used in the area as marker for the boundary between two Native American nations. Eventually the stone fell and part of what remains of it is now on display in the town of Monterrey about 30 miles away.
History is made at the park each year as players head there for the National Rolley Hole Marbles Tournament, going strong now for more than 30-years. Held each September, this competition is serious business with vendors, concerts and multiple competitive events spread out through the park.
Standing Stone State Park’s remote location makes it great for relaxing. Although I have only spent a few afternoons in the park, it is certainly evident you can spend much longer enjoying the natural surroundings. The park’s rustic cabins and secluded campground make this a great place to getaway or use as a home base as you explore other attractions in the area, including Dale Hollow Lake, Cookeville, and Cummins Falls.