See the sights of Tennessee up close by getting on the trails in the 56 state parks found across the state of Tennessee. From the mountains of east Tennessee to the bottomland forests of the Mississippi River in west Tennessee, there are many opportunities to experience nature. See the big trees, walk along beside creeks and rivers, view waterfalls, wildflowers and wildlife at a state park close to your house. You will find walking, hiking, backpacking, mountain bike and even some horse trails in the parks.
The other key factor of the 382 trails totaling 1,018.2 miles found in Tennessee State Parks is the connection to physical activity. Governor Haslam’s new Healthier Tennessee Initiative, announced in July 2013 speaks to the need for the citizens of Tennessee to get out and start exercising. So join the staff of Tennessee State Parks to go Explore the Outdoors.
Special Hiking Events
Tennessee State Parks will host five ranger-lead hikes in all 56 parks throughout the year. The parks will offer a variety of educational activities and programming to complement each park’s hike.
- The First Hike – Wednesday, January 1
- The Spring Hike – Saturday, March 22
- National Trails Day Hike – Saturday, June 7
- National Public Lands Day Hike – Saturday, September 27
- After-Thanksgiving Day Hike – Friday, November 28
The trails found in Tennessee State Parks range from an easy walk on a paved trail to strenuous outings that can last several days and nights.
Easy trails are generally short in length, 1-2 miles and are relatively flat (1-3% slope).
Moderate trails have gentle slopes (3-5%) and can be 2-5 miles in length, generally with soil as the surface.
Difficult trails tend to be found in middle and east Tennessee and have steep slopes (greater than 6%), are over 5 miles in length and can be located in rocky areas and may include climbing up or down hillsides.
There are even a few trails that are Strenuous and these should only be traveled by experience trail users who are properly equipped and are wearing boots.
Recommendations when going out on the trails
- Travel with family, a friend or buddy, and be sure to take food and water.
- Wear the proper footwear and clothing such as closed toe shoes or boots and have a rain jacket in your daypack.
- Be sure to stop at the park office to pick up or purchase a trail map. Talk to the park staff or rangers to ask about the trail conditions and any tips you need to be aware of on that trail.
- Be sure to let others know what your schedule is, where you will be at on the trail and when you should be back.
- If needed, log in at the trailhead or secure overnight permits if backpacking.
For more tips on being safe, see page 18 of the Tennessee Trails Association’s Hiking Handbook, The 10 Essentials at http://www.tennesseetrails.org/pdf/HikingHandbook200807.pdf