Loading Trips

« All Trips

Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, TN – Volunteer Vacations 2023

June 4 @ 2:00 pm - June 10 @ 10:00 am

Trip Navigation

Calling all bridge builders! Join us at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area to restore historic bridges among a peaceful area with wildlife, wildflowers, and starry night skies. The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is 125,000 acres, and boasts miles of scenic gorges and sandstone bluffs, and is rich with natural and historic features and has been developed to provide visitors with a wide range of outdoor recreational activities. The Twin Arches Trail is designated as a Natural-Scientific State Natural Area. There are four bridges in the Jakes Place (Historic) landscape which were built several years ago, and they are in need of being removed and built. Jakes’s Place is off the Twin Arches Trail but also connects to the Charit Creek Lodge (Historic). Volunteers will be replacing one of these bridges during the week of service. There are no buildings left standing at Jakes Place other than the remnants of an old fireplace. Volunteers will be driven to the trailhead but will have to hike approximately 1-2 miles to the actual work site. The terrain is steep and moderate in difficulty for hiking.

With the beginning of summer, the area is abundant with wildlife, wildflowers, birds and lush green trees. It is an area for foot traffic only and it is truly a peaceful area to visit, even if only for one day. In the evenings, star gazers can look up and see a beautiful display of stars.

There is no experience needed to join a Volunteer Vacation! Your expert hosts will provide detailed instruction, tool demonstrations, and project oversight throughout the week. All you need is a willing attitude and to be in good physical condition to participate in moderate physical activity for approximately 6-8 hours a day with plenty of breaks, at your own pace. Find out more about what it’s like to join a Volunteer Vacation and other frequently asked questions here.

AHS acknowledges with gratitude that this project takes place on the traditional lands of the Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East), S’atsoyaha (Yuchi), and Shawandasse Tula (Shawanwaki/Shawnee) peoples past and present. We honor the land itself, the Indigenous communities who have stewarded this land for generations, their deep and sacred connection to these lands, and those who continue to steward these lands today. We offer this land acknowledgement as the first of many steps to stand as an ally and amplify Indigenous voices. We invite the American Hiking Society community to join us through continued efforts to support Indigenous communities and learn more about the history of the lands on which we live, work and recreate.


National Park Service


Car Camping Tent Sites


Day hiking up to 2 miles each work day.

Project Rating


Minimum Volunteer Age


Maximum Group Size


Area and Attractions

Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area is located in a rugged gorge area of the Cumberland Plateau. The area offers fishing, swimming, and paddling in addition to over 400 miles of hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and multi-use trails. The area is home to several arches, beautiful overlooks and geological wonders. Horseback trips into the park are offered by vendors from outside the park. Although somewhat remote, the nearest towns are Oneida and Jamestown. Each town is about 15-20 miles driving distance away from the campground. Pickett State Park adjoins the Big South Fork National River & Recreation and offers a lake with fishing and canoe rentals.

Accommodations Description

Volunteers will be staying in a group campground with a covered pavilion. The pavilion is on a concrete pad and is screened in with picnic tables, fireplace and cooking grill inside. Hot showers and bath houses are within a short distance from the pavilion. The group campground is large and there is plenty of room for social distancing. Volunteers should bring their own tent and personal camping gear, sheets / bedding or sleeping bag, towels, personal cup / bowl / mug / eating utensils. Contact volunteer@americanhiking.org for assistance with gear needs.


McGee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, TN is the closest major airport. Airport pick up and drop off is not available and volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to and from the project location. Carpooling can be arranged upon confirmation of the project.


Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
4564 Leatherwood Road, Oneida, TN 37841 United States + Google Map