The Best Day Hikes in Middle Tennessee

It’s the perfect time of year to go hiking in Middle Tennessee, and we’ve got the Best 6 Day Hikes (that aren’t Radnor Lake or Warner Parks). These parks are an easy drive from Nashville proper, and they’re every bit as satisfying as the famous duo we all know and love. Get your backpack, fill up your water bottle, slather on sunscreen, pack the snacks, and get out on the trails!


 

THE WALLS OF JERICHO

Length: 3.5 miles (one way)
Cost: Free

This is one of the more strenuous hikes, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. You’ll descend 1000 feet down a steep and slippery trail to the lush valley floor. You’ll be crossing several streams, so dress for getting wet. Plan for at least 6 hours round-trip, allowing for 2 hours to play in the gorge, enjoying the waterfalls and the acoustics of the natural stone amphitheater. If it’s been raining, water will rush out of the rock walls at points of erosion, filling the huge pool at the amphitheater’s base.


CUMBERLAND CAVERNS

Length: 1.5-hour Walking Tour, 32 total miles of caves
Cost: $21 for adults, $13 for children (ages 6 – 12), children under 5 free

Explore and discover Tennessee’s largest show cave! This tour features beautiful waterfalls and pools, astounding rock formations, and a historic 1812 saltpeter mine. There are stairs and slopes all along the tour route, but dress for walking. The caves can be a bit chilly, but a light jacket should do the trick. Cumberland Caverns are open 7 days/week. Tours run hourly; arrive 15 minutes early to register and meet your guide.


FALL CREEK FALLS – WOODLAND TRAIL

Length: 0.9 miles
Cost: Free

At 256 feet, Fall Creek Falls is one of the highest waterfalls this side of the Rockies. From the Nature Center, the Woodland Trail will take you on a gentle walk out to the famous Falls. Peer down over the stone walls at the Overlook to catch a glimpse of the shady pool below, channel your inner adventurer and cross a swinging wooden bridge over the Cane Creek Cascades, and reward yourself with a break when you reach the base of the Falls. If this short trail leaves you wanting more, there are 34+ miles of trails left for you to explore.


HARPETH RIVER STATE PARK – HIDDEN LAKE

Length: 3 miles total over 3 trails
Cost: Free

Hidden Lake offers three trails that wind around and through a wildflower meadow, through a lush, verdant forest, out along the bluffs, and to a small lake. From there, you can head up a 1-mile spur trail that will take you to the top of a ridge. Here you can find a marble floor–all that remains of a once-glamorous 1940s resort. This short hike is the perfect choice for a picnic.


BEAMAN PARK – RIDGETOP TRAIL

Length: 2.1 miles one way
Cost: Free

Beaman Park is located just outside of Nashville’s metropolitan area. This hike, although short, is moderately difficult. Prepare for steep forest inclines and rocky ridges as you ascend up to 1,000 feet. Take breaks along the way to take in the diverse wildlife and beautiful plants. Look out from the hilltop to catch the hickory forests below!


BLEDSOE CREEK STATE PARK – LOOP TRAIL

Length: 6 miles
Cost: Free

Bledsoe Creek State Park is a hidden gem located 30 miles outside Nashville. This park is famous for its natural beauty; it offers full forest immersion, so even just outside Nashville, you can escape the hectic city. Hikers report having seen many deer on their hikes, so keep your eyes on the forest. Avoid these trails if it has rained recently, though; there are wooden stairs along the way that are too slick to navigate safely if they’ve been soaked in the last few days. If you can catch this trail when it’s sunny, you’ll be rewarded with 164 acres to explore near the 1780s settlement of Cairo. Bledsoe Creek also offers ADA-compliant trails for all-inclusive adventures.


2 thoughts on “The Best Day Hikes in Middle Tennessee

  1. Add White County’s Virgin Falls to your day hike list. Just east of Sparta a few miles south of state Hwy 70. A really cool hike. Find it on the web first.

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