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We were passing through Memphis and stayed overnight at Fort Pillow. The staff in the office were not super friendly or helpful. I had to ask for everything, like a campsite map to my site, a trail map, and buying firewood. Nothing was offered, so definitely ask. The layout is also backwards. You have to drive all the way to the back of the park to get to the museum visitors center. I am sure there is a practical reason for this, but it wasn’t fully transparent. I always check in to campsite to introduce myself and get a lay of campsite from the people who work there. They just were not very social or helpful.
We stayed in campsite 4 which is more or less a walk-in type site. You park and then have to haul your gear about 15 yards to your site. The privacy and cliff side campsite is worth it, but there again was no one warning. We were only staying one night and the site was a little impractical for our needs. If you are staying 2-3 nights then grab campsite 4, in the winter months after the leaves have fallen this site would be stunning. It is basically a private overlook to the Mississippi. Only thing that would’ve made this campsite perfect would be running water. Instead you have to walk to the bath house to snag water.
There was electrical hookup at site but no water. (Was not able to locate communal water) Bath house cleaned daily and was a private set room style. Tent pad and campsite is pebbles to allow for moisture/bring long stakes or expect to not to be able to stake in your tent.
We camped here right after we got our Jayco 2012 travel trailer. It was our inaugural trip. Campground is small but well maintained. The inner loop of the primary campground has been updated with new concrete and gravel and 2 sites (I think 6,8) are ADA accessible.
We enjoyed the hikes around the Civil War historic area and the nature center was very interesting as well. There is a nice raised walking area there as well. Nice playground area for the kids!
If it doesn’t creep you out that there is a penitentiary <2 miles from the campground (and you have to drive past it to get there), Fort Pillow is a great park for a quick weekend getaway.
We ended up camping here after another campground didn't work out. We arrived without reservation and didn't know much about the park, so we needed a little help from the rangers when we were choosing a spot. The campground seems to have been renovated in the last few years. The sites are all mixed together. You have a handful of RV sites with 50 amp, a couple of 30 amp sites and then lots of tent sites that have 20 amp or no power at all. The problem for us was that the leaves have fallen, so we couldn't even see where the parking pads were and all of the different sites were mixed together. I think it would be easier to sort it out via the website that has info listed for each site.
Ranger Tyson informed us that they were doing a night hike to the Fort and they would be serving Gumbo for dinner around the campfire at the Fort. Sign me up! It was one of the fee based activities, but for $5 per person, it was totally worth it! Tyson and Matt were awesome and the evening hike was surprisingly very cool!
As for the park itself, they don't have a huge "tourist attraction" like some parks, so it was very peaceful and not overcrowded. They work hard to offer great ranger lead programs. You can tell right away that the staff really does care about this park.
The bathhouse was newer and clean. Each bathroom was private in that you had your own suite style bathroom with toilet, sink & shower. The only drawback is that the bath house building (2) only had (1) mens suite and (1) womens suite each. I could see a line forming during warmer months, especially if there were lots of tent campers.
The park had a really nice day use area with a new playground, pavilion area and picnic tables. There is also a basketball goal/court area near the day use area. The visitors center/museum was a bunker style building built into the side of the hill. Great exhibit and lots of info on the battle and fort at Fort Pillow. There is also a small fishing lake with a boat ramp and pier.
This description really needs to be updated. They are not just an historic area but an Historic State Park. They have about a dozen RV sites plus another 20 tent sites. Facilities are very nice and include showers. They have really worked hard to improve the entire park in the last 3 years or so and have really turned this into a hidden gem. The historic site of Ft Pillow from the Civil war is on one of the hiking trails. The trails also go along the Mississippi river and provide some beautiful views. They also have a small lake and available canoes/kayaks for rent. The staff is very attentive and provide a variety of programs.
We went here pretty much because of the name and because my nephew was in an American history interest phase. Lots to explore here. Most of the family camped in RVs on the main site, which were very nice. I backpacked into the backcountry along the bluff trail (which requires a permit). Easy to moderate hiking terrain, views of the lake. Nice little escape.