Hiking is a great way to get out and enjoy nature. Breathe, relax, stretch your legs and just unplug from the busy world. The bonus is that many hiking areas in Tennessee have various trails that can accommodate and entertain all levels of hikers- from those who want a heart pounding climb to those who want a gentle stroll. Here is our list of the best hiking trails in Tennessee!
Virgin Falls State Natural Area
Located in the upper Cumberland area of the state, the Virgin Falls Pocket Wilderness area boasts a breathtaking hiking trail that stretches just over 8 miles out and back. This trail is usually recommended for more experienced hikers due to its length and elevation changes. Hikers pass multiple waterfalls, wildflower patches, and several unique geological features. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trail and hikers are able to visit year round.
The Discovery Loop of T.O Fuller State Park
Starting off our list of best hiking trails in Tennessee is a 4 mile trail located just outside of Memphis inside of T.O Fuller State Park. The Discovery Loop is a moderate trail open year round and is a favorite for runners and dog walkers. Towering trees and stunning wildflowers line the trail and visitors can stroll past the Wetlands and Chucalissa Native American Village. Several other hiking trails exist within T.O. Fuller State Park ranging in difficulty from moderate to rugged. The park also boasts an education center, picnic areas, a pool and splashpad, playground areas, ball fields, and basketball and tennis courts.
Pinson Mounds State Archeological Park
The trails at the Pinson Mounds State Archeological Park make for nice leisurely strolls and are ADA accessible. Visitors can explore 15 different Native American burial mounds and the Pinson Mounds Museum to learn about the mounds’ burial and ceremonial purposes. The park also offers picnic areas and cabins if you want to make the trip an overnight experience!
Lilly Bluff – Obed Wild and Scenic River
4.2 miles of moderate terrain make up the Lilly Bluff trail in the heart of the Obed Wild and Scenic River area. Leashed dogs are welcome here and be sure to bring your camera or a phone- picturesque views of bluffs, arches, lakes, and forest are around every bend in the trail. A major bonus is that the Obed area has been deemed an International Dark Sky Park- meaning that you will be hard pressed to find better starry skies on a clear night.
South Cumberland State Park- Fiery Gizzard Trail
The Fiery Gizzard Trail located in South Cumberland State Park is more than just an awesome name. The 9.1 mile loop of a trail that takes hikers to Raven’s Point is frequently rated one of the top 25 trails in the United States. This trail is generally considered difficult, but the rewards of seeing stunning waterfalls, lush woodlands, and panoramic vistas make the effort well worth it. The trail is in its best condition from April to October. The park itself also offers a visitor center, picnic areas, lakes you can swim in, and a campground.
Smoky Mountains National Park – Autumn Trail to Mt. LeConte
If you’ve ever wanted to see a llama train delivering supplies to the highest elevation lodge in the United States, you have to hike the Autumn Trail up to LeConte Lodge on Mt. LeConte. The lodge is only accessible by foot, thus the necessity for a llama train to make deliveries three times a week. What began as a simple tent, is now a series of cabins that can house 50 guests a night and is surrounded by panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 10 mile round trip trail is not for the faint of heart, but it is very much worth the work as one of the best hiking trails in Tennessee.
Do you know of any Tennessee trails we need to add to our list? Comment below to let us know! See you on the trails!