Though Tennessee is famous for its country music roots and mouth-watering spicy chicken, its brilliant outdoor scene doesn’t get enough credit. With over 600 trails throughout the state, there’s no lack of exquisite beauty and adventure. If you’re a local Tennessee resident or a Music Row visitor, take a peek at the top must-do hiking experiences.
Easily accessible and renowned for its family-friendly environment, Radnor Lake boasts four 1200 acre trails. Visitors will enjoy well-paved paths of exceptional beauty and plentiful wildlife (look out for those cute river otters).
Located only a few miles from downtown Nashville, this park is a perfect, restorative haven in the middle of a metropolitan hustle.
These hikes rank “fast” and are ideal for a Sunday afternoon hike.
Walls of Jericho
Yes, Walls of Jericho, it’s as cool as the name suggests. Yes, there’s a story that Davy Crockett has been hunting all over the place. Yes, there are natural “walls” you’re going to see. This phenomenal hike, which has access to both Tennessee and Alabama, was closed to public access until 2006. Today, hikers around the world are free to enjoy the stunning beauty of this country.
The 7-mile hike is challenging, with a recommendation to prepare for about six hours.
Those who brave the challenge are rewarded with spectacular geological formations along the way, including waterfalls, rock climbing, river tunnels, and a natural amphitheater, unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Fiery Gizzard Trail
Looking for an off-road adventure? Located in South Cumberland State Park in Marion County, the 12.5-mile Fiery Gizzard Trail includes hiking, rock climbing, and even a chance to swim! Strong and endurance-based, this adventure is NOT for the faint of heart. Don’t think about it. If you’re up to this obstacle, your efforts will be worth it—just look out for breathtaking rock formations, rich flora and fauna, and spectacular waterfalls.
Virgin Falls Trail
Clocking in just over 8 miles, the Virgin Falls Trail is located in Sparta, Tennessee. This trail, marked as strenuous, rewards your active efforts with stunning views of the waterfalls, natural sinkholes, and gorgeous panoramic views of the Greater White County. Caution: this walk involves the crossing of creeks and light rock scrambling. Be careful and follow appropriate outdoor safety standards and equipment recommendations.
Alum Cave Trail
Inside the vast Smoky Mountains, Alum Cave trail clocks in 4.4-mile hike is mild in terms of difficulty. Adventurers can pass through many points: the Arch Rock to the Alum Cave (a 80-foot tall bluff that mimics a cave), the Inspiration Point, and the Eye of the Needle. For those who seek to add to a more treacherous obstacle, trek to Mt. LeConte, which at its base is the highest mountain in the Eastern United States. This challenge will add another six miles to your journey.