Tennessee State Parks hiking trails do more than connect one point to another - they are an invitation, a promise of possibilities. With more than one thousand miles of trails Tennessee State Parks' trails reflect the state's geographic diversity and offer the novice and advanced hiker a vast assortment of recreational opportunities.
Tennessee State Parks support Governor Haslam’s Healthier Tennessee Initiative, which encourages Tennesseans to make healthy choices and state park trails are a great place to start your journey.
Tennessee's 56 state parks offer a variety of guided and self-guided hikes for many different ability levels. While most trails offer a closer look at Tennessee's natural side, many tell the story of our states cultural and historical heritage. Whether a five mile walk through history at Fort Pillow State Historic Park or a wilderness adventure at South Cumberland, Tennessee State Park trails offer Fun and Adventure, Naturally!
Special Hiking Events
Tennessee State Parks host five annual ranger-lead hikes throughout the year. A variety of educational activities and interpretive programs complement each park’s hike.
Dates for our 2015 hikes are:
- National Public Lands Day Hike – Saturday, September 26 View Hikes
- After-Thanksgiving Day Hike – Friday, November 27 View Hikes
Dates for our 2016 hikes are:
- First Hike – Thursday, January 1 View Hikes
- Spring Hike – Saturday, March 19
- National Trails Day Hike – June 4
- National Public Lands Day Hike - Sept. 24
- After Thanksgiving Day Hike – Nov. 25
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.
Strenuous trails generally offer longer hikes with steep and/or uneven terrain. Trails may be narrow with varied surfaces and include water crossings, boulders and other obstacles.
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