Just north of the Tennessee and Mississippi border you will find Big Hill Pond State Park. The entrance to the park is right off Highway 57. If you are looking to get away for a day or even a weekend, this is the perfect spot for many outdoor activities. The park has 4,138 acres to its name, and it was named after the man-made 35-acre pond that is located in the southeast corner of the park. In 1853, the soil where the pond is now was shoveled out to build a levee across the Tuscumbia and Cypress Creek bottoms for the Memphis to Charleston Railroad.
There are several hiking trails throughout the park that lead you to different areas of interest. One of the best places to hike to is the old fire tower. It's a sturdy metal tower where you can see for miles across the treetops. If you are hiking from the boat launch area heading toward the tower, you will pass through the Cypress Dismal Swamp on the elevated boardwalk which stands seven feet above the swamp. You will likely see a wide variety of wildlife, such as whitetail deer, barred owls, egrets, and maybe even a snake or two. The end of the boardwalk is just under three-quarters of a mile from the tower. Once you reach the tower, take the steps to the top. If you are lucky, you might see a bald eagle or two soaring through the sky once you reach the top.
After you have stepped back down the tower you can either continue back the way you came or take the Dry Ridge Trail north around the west side of Travis McNatt Lake, which will take you back to the boat launch area. Starting from the tower the Dry Ridge Trail is 2.85 miles back to the boat launch area. While taking the Dry Ridge Trail you will likely encounter some horseback riders from time to time. The summer and fall in Tennessee can be humid, so make sure you are prepared for the heat with plenty of water.