13 Best Hiking Trails Around Nashville - Travel for Your Life

13 Best Hiking Trails Around Nashville

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 As the capital of Tennessee, Nashville, also called Music City has a dose of everything for tourists to have an incredible vacation. From food tours and honkytonks to professional sports and nightlife, Nashville has transformed into one of America’s hottest destinations. You have lots of options for accommodation here. There is everything from cool boutique hotels and Airbnb’s in the city to more nature close options for camping in the state parks surrounding the city. One thing that may get overlooked by some visitors is the idyllic nature that resides just outside of city limits.

Tennessee enchants residents with its natural beauty, and tourists can enjoy much of the scenery while based in Nashville. While everyone is familiar with in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee has a stellar state park system you shouldn’t ignore. You’ll encounter everything from cascading Tennessee waterfalls and rolling hills to beautiful wildlife in the areas around Nashville.

Hiking is one of the best ways to soak up the peaceful setting when you venture outside of Nashville. If you have a car, you can easily reach several of Tennessee’s state parks and natural areas within a couple of hours. To help you decide the best trekking adventure, we’ve ranked the best places to hike around Nashville.


13 Best Hiking Trails Around Nashville

Best Places to Hike | Radnor Lake State Park | Montgomery Bell Trail | Virgin Falls Trail | Mossy Ridge Trail | Cummins Falls Trail | Volunteer Trail | Bryant Grove Trail | Beaman Park: Henry Hollow and Ridgetop Trails | Narrows of the Harpeth Trail | Hidden Lake Double Loop | Two Rivers Greenway Trail | Bells Bend Loop Trail | Cumberland River Greenway |


Best Places to Hike

For a quick guide on the best hiking areas in Nashville, use these destinations to find all sorts of trekking adventures.

  • Radnor Lake State Park – More than 1,300 acres of pristine woodlands that give you many wildlife sightings.
  • Long Hunter State Park – Nestled along the shores of Percy Priest Lake for lots of hiking, boating, and fishing opportunities.
  • Percy Warner Park – One of Nashville’s most popular parks for outdoor recreation.
  • Harpeth River State Park – A peaceful section of the countryside that offers scenic vistas and river access.
  • Beaman Park – More than 1,600 acres of enchanting forest and geological beauty.


1. Radnor Lake State Park

Only 20 minutes directly south of Nashville, Radnor Lake State Park is one of the most popular nature escapes for local residents. There are several fantastic day hikes inside the park, and it’s impossible not to mention multiple options when exploring the area. For novice trekkers, the Radnor Lake Trail is a quick 2.4-mile outing that lets you relax beside the water.

At nearly 5 miles, the Garnier Ridge and South Cove Trail ventures deeper into the woods and further away from the lakeside crowds. The path offers lots of wildlife sightings such as birds, deer, turtles, and more. Alternatively, the South Cove Trail forms a loop that partially follows the lake and has a slight incline to boost your heart rate. With nearly 10 trails to choose from, Radnor Lake State Park offers a wide range of hikes for nature lovers visiting Nashville.


2. Montgomery Bell Trail

  • Length: 10.4 miles
  • Route Type: Loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Encircling Montgomery Bell State Park, the Montgomery Bell Trail is one of the outlets to escape into the pristine nature outside of Nashville. The park is only a 45-minute drive west of Nashville and frequently used for day hikes and weekend getaways. If you don’t feel like completing the loop in one day, you can register to camp inside the park. There is a modest elevation gain of slightly more than 1,000 feet that presents an unexpected challenge.

Parts of the trail take you through the woods and meander around numerous trickling streams. Watch out for loose and slippery rocks as you tackle the various creek crossings on the loop. Overall, the trail is well-marked and gives you excellent views of verdant woodlands, lakes, and springtime flowers.



3.Virgin Falls Trail

  • Length: 8.7 miles
  • Route Type: Out & Back
  • Difficulty: Hard

If you’re looking for an exhilarating day trip from Nashville, the Virgin Falls Trail is among your best options. Located in the Virgin Falls State Natural Area, the trailhead is about a 2-hour drive east of Nashville. The star attraction is the 100+ ft Virgin Falls that plummets from a rocky cliff. It’s one of Tennessee’s most unique waterfalls since it forms from an underground stream and plunges from one cave to another.

You’ll need to leave bright and early from Nashville due to the length of the strenuous trail. Depending on your pace, expect the hike to take around 5 – 8 hours to complete. The majestic scenery you’ll encounter includes rolling hills, trickling streams, rugged cliffs, radiant foliage, and scenic vistas. For extra time to enjoy this beautiful area of Tennessee, you can reserve a campsite to sleep in the wilderness.


4. Mossy Ridge Trail

  • Length: 4.9 miles
  • Route Type: Loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Located 15 miles outside of Nashville, Percy Warner Park is among the top hiking destinations for residents and tourists. Mossy Ridge Trail receives heavy traffic due to its accessibility to the city and beautiful countryside. The loop features a steady incline that will surely get your heart rate going for a quality workout. You’ll often see hikers, joggers, and dog walkers all enjoying the trail during a sunny afternoon.

The hike reveals stunning foliage and gives you an occasional vista overlooking the Nashville skyline. Although the path is well-maintained, there are a few rocky sections that require sturdy hiking shoes. If you’re looking for a quiet escape into the woods, it’s best to use the Mossy Ridge Trail weekday mornings for smaller crowds.



5. Cummins Falls Trail

  • Length: 3.0 miles
  • Route Type: Out & Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes from Nashville, Cummins Falls State Park provides a beautiful day trip. The 75 ft waterfall is one of Tennessee’s largest by volume and drops into a sparkling swimming hole. After an adventurous hike, taking a dip beneath the falls is the perfect way to cap off a summer afternoon. Just make sure to purchase a Gorge Access Permit before you begin your hike. The trail is steep, and water shoes are needed to cross the river en route to the cascade.

As you venture into the gorge, the trail has lots of hazards and you must pay close attention. You’ll encounter slippery rocks, tree roots, and creek crossings before you complete the descent towards the waterfall.


6. Volunteer Trail

  • Length: 10.7 miles
  • Route Type: Out & Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The Volunteer Trail runs along the shores of Percy Priest Lake and attracts those who love hiking near the water. About 25 miles outside of Nashville, Percy Priest Lake is the star attraction of Long Hunter State Park. Although one of the lengthiest trails on the list, the Volunteer Trail is flatter compared to other hiking paths around Nashville. Hikers, joggers, and dog walkers frequent the trail, and there are campsites for those spending the night.

While wandering the trail, pay attention to scattered rocks that create potential tripping hazards. You don’t want to forget the bug spray, but there’s plenty of chances to spot deer and other wildlife. For a quieter outing beside the lake, arrange your hike during the week due to weekend boat parties.



7. Bryant Grove Trail

  • Length: 8.4 miles
  • Route Type: Out & Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Another trail in Long Hunter State Park, the Bryant Grove Trail is mostly flat and follows the Percy Priest Lake shoreline. There are lots of wildlife sightings near the path, and you’ll escape the crowds the farther you venture. You’ll wander into the woods part of the trail and find yourself on sandy beaches in other sections. The tranquil waters offer a refreshing break from the summer heat, and springtime reveals gorgeous wildflowers.

If you’re using the trail after rainfall, make sure to bring proper hiking boots due to mud. Consider packing bug spray since you’ll likely encounter mosquitos and other annoying critters during the summer.


8. Beaman Park: Henry Hollow and Ridgetop Trails

  • Length: 5.5 miles
  • Route Type: Loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Just a 25-minute drive from Nashville, Beaman Park lets you wander through the woods near city limits. The trail hugs the ridgeline for a large portion of the hike and presents beautiful views of the area’s foliage. Make sure to bring waterproof shoes due to shallow creek crossings. You’ll trek along the creek for part of the hike and face a slight incline. Since the path is mostly shaded and close to Nashville, it makes an enjoyable outing for a summer half-day trip.



9. Narrows of the Harpeth Trail

  • Length: 1.1 miles
  • Route Type: Out & Back
  • Difficulty: Easy

Harpeth River State Park provides a nearby nature escape with magnificent views overlooking the middle Tennessee landscape. Narrows of the Harpeth Trail is among the most popular hikes in the area for a quick adventure about 35 minutes outside of Nashville. Although the trail measures barely over 1 mile, the vista from the bluff paints a stunning portrait of the countryside.

There is a steady elevation gain of more than 200 feet and lets you gaze over the bending Harpeth River. The trail also passes a cascading waterfall that tumbles from a dark tunnel into a shallow pool. If you pack a lunch, this area makes a fantastic place to have a picnic before completing the hike.



10. Hidden Lake Double Loop

  • Length: 1.9 miles
  • Route Type: Loop
  • Difficulty: Easy

Situated inside Harpeth River State Park, the Hidden Lake Double Loop provides a fantastic day hike for all skill levels. It’s worth noting that the Hidden Lake Entrance is about 9 miles southeast of the scenic Narrows of the Harpeth. You’ll find Hidden Lake nestled deep in the woodlands surrounded by beautiful foliage. If you want to get closer to the lake, there’s a staircase that lets you stand right beside the water.

While the fall colours glisten upon autumn’s arrival, springtime showcases radiant wildflowers. The trail can get confusing at times, so you need to pay close attention to any signage posts. You need to also watch out for rattlesnakes in this area and bring bug spray for critters along the trail.


11. Two Rivers Greenway Trail

  • Length: 15.2 miles
  • Route Type: Out & Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Starting near Two Rivers Park, the Two Rivers Greenway Trail provides a long hike right on the city’s doorstep. Parts of the trail pass the mighty Cumberland River, and other sections follow the Stones River. Before turning back towards Nashville, the path nearly reaches the shores of Percy Priest Lake. You’ll often find stunning flowers beside the trail, and you’ll climb hills near each river.

While the path is paved, the length of this hike might be too much if you aren’t used to long distances. You’ll find numerous shaded areas and benches along the path if you need to rest. Since the urban trail is well-maintained, it’s also popular for joggers, bikers, and dog walkers.



12. Bells Bend Loop Trail

  • Length: 4.4 miles
  • Route Type: Loop
  • Difficulty: Easy

Situated beside the bending Cumberland River, Bells Bend Loop Trail is one of Nashville’s hidden hiking gems. The loop wanders through scenic farmland and hugs sections of the peaceful waterway. Partially paved, this trail invites both walkers and joggers for a relaxing outdoor escape. Make sure to bring sun protection since much of the path is exposed to direct sunlight.

There’s little elevation gain, and the open fields offer magnificent views of wildflowers and foliage. Use caution with the high grassy fields during the warmer months since ticks are common in the area.


13. Cumberland River Greenway

  • Length: 11.9 miles
  • Route Type: Out & Back
  • Difficulty: Easy

The Cumberland River Greenway is among the top Nashville hikes that let you explore the heart of the city. At nearly 12 miles, it’s a fantastic trail to tackle when you’re unable to drive outside of city limits. The urban path follows the Cumberland River to provide a mixture of greenery and local neighbourhoods. You’ll also spot farm animals grazing beside the trail in several sections on your hike. The paved path makes this an enjoyable place for a walk, jog, or bike ride without leaving Nashville.


Which hike around Nashville will you head out for first? Let us know in the comments below.

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