Big Hill Pond State Park is located at the junction of the Tuscumbia River and the Hatchie State Scenic River in southwest McNairy County. Containing over 4,200 acres and featuring scenic wetlands, timberland, hardwood bottom land, the park centers on the Big Hill Pond, which dates to 1853 when work crews of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad scooped out a huge pit to build a levee across the Tuscumbia River and Cypress Creek bottoms for the railroad. In time, water filled the borrow pit, creating the present lake.
Although initially developed as a natural area and recreational park, Big Hill Pond also has significant historical associations. Woodland Period sites exist along the Tuscumbia and Hatchie Rivers; the Chickasaws lived there until the Jackson Purchase. Since the Memphis and Charleston Railroad was a key transportation route for the Confederate and Union armies during the Civil War, the land around Big Hill Pond became contested territory. In October 1862 the armies fought the battle of Davis Bridge, an engagement of some eighteen thousand combatants that left an estimated one thousand Union and Confederate casualties. A portion of this battle site–the second largest in West Tennessee–has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Afterwards, the Union army built earthworks to protect the railroad route and manned them, in part, with soldiers from the United States Colored Troops.
Big Hill Pond became a state park in 1973. It contains hiking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, camp sites, boat launch ramps, and a visitor’s center.