Coy St. Clair/Shutterstock.com
Tennessee is home to over 75 natural areas and any number of excellent trails, forests, and waterfalls. Whether you’re an expert hiker looking for a challenge or a family with young children interested in a waterfall excursion, one of the following five hikes will do you right.
The Alum Cave Trail is a popular hike, going 2.5 miles to Alum Cave Bluffs and then extending five miles further to just below the summer of Mt. Le Conte. Along the way, you can hike through the narrow tunnel of Arch Rock and stop at a lookout called Inspiration Point. It’s a beautiful trek you won’t forget.
Abrams Falls Trail is a moderately difficult trail, accessible all year in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail is five miles roundtrip. The titular Abrams Falls is a 20-foot drop waterfall that attracts many hikers—expect the trail to be busy almost any time of year. Be careful as you walk, as there are plenty of roots that could trip up even the most experienced hiker.
Bays Mountain Park is a 3,500-acre nature preserve that is perfect for a day of family fun. This is the largest city-owned park in the state. Bays Mountain boasts a stunning 44-acre lake, a fascinating nature center, and a mind-blowing planetarium theater that the children will love! While here, you’ll also discover over 25 miles of picturesque hiking trails just waiting to be explored. Try out the more strenuous 5.3-mile Fire Tower trail or if you’re looking for an easier trek, go for the one-mile Floating Bridge hike.
The beautiful, 1,700-acre Cumberland Mountain State Park is situated in Cumberland County and is one of the most awe-inspiring places to explore in Tennessee. There you will find several easy to moderate trails excellent for those who aren’t too experienced. The Byrd Creek Trail is two miles-long and is categorized as easy/moderate. For an even easier hike, try the 1.8-mile Pioneer Short Loop. And for something more challenging, give the roughly six-mile Overnight Trail a go.
This state parked is named after a looming old bad cypress tree that once stood on the grounds. The tree was 1,350 years-old but was killed in 1976 when it was struck by lightning. At the state park, you’ll find several hiking trails, including the easy, .3-mile paved Tree Identification Trail. This is excellent for hikers, no matter their level of experience. Not to mention this area affords some of the most scenic views in the state!