Unsupervised swimming is allowed at Bryant Grove in the designated swimming beach area. Swimming in Couchville Lake and in the area of boat ramps is prohibited. Visitors should use caution as the lake bottom is hazardous and you must swim at your own risk.
J. PERCY PRIEST LAKE
The 14,000 acre reservoir borders the park and is one of middle Tennessee favorite attractions for fishing, waterskiing, wave runners, pontoons and paddle sports. The park features two public boat launch ramps for access to J. Percy Priest Lake.
The tranquil, 110-acre lake is open year-round and is ideal for paddling. All boaters are required to wear life jackets while on Couchville Lake.
The boat dock is open seasonally. Canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards are rented during the summer months. Paddles and vests are provided. Row boats are rented and visitors may bring their own electric trolling motors for use on the park row boats. Children age five and younger are not allowed in rented vessels.
Gas motors, and personal watercraft are not permitted on Couchville Lake. There is no launch ramp on Couchville Lake for private boats. Visitors may bring their own paddle craft to the park for use on Couchville lake year-round.
BOAT and PADDLEBOARD RENTAL
Life Jackets $5.00
Paddleboard Hourly $10.00
Canoe Hourly $10.00
Kayak Single Hourly $10.00
Kayak Tandem Hourly $10.00
Row Boat Hourly $10.00
Row Boat Half Day $20.00
The Jones Mill Mountain Bike Trail is located in the Bryant Grove Recreation Area. It features two loops: one two-mile loop and one four-mile loop. These trails offer a variety of challenges to mountain bikers and a great view of the lake from Bald Knob. Hikers are also welcome on the bike trail.
Trail Length: 5 miles
Trail Rating: Intermediate
Spring is a great time to fish for bass, crappie, White Bass, and Hybrid Striped Bass on J. Percy Priest Lake (14,000 acre reservoir). Fishing for catfish and bream is productive year round. The park offers two boat launch ramps to J. Percy Priest Lake which can accommodate fishing boats. Couchville Lake (110 acre) is located within the park and provides descent Largemouth Bass fishing. Gas motors, and personal watercraft, with exception of canoes and kayaks, are not permitted on Couchville Lake.
Approximately twenty-five miles of easy to moderate hiking trials range from one mile to six miles, covering terrain from cedar glades to oak-hickory forest to bluff overlooks. Couchville’s two mile paved Lake Trail is perfect for strollers and wheelchairs. Maps available at each park unit. Day hikers must exit trails by sunset.
- Pets are not permitted on the following trails: Bryant Grove Trail, Couchville Lake Trail and the Nature Loop Trail.
- Pets on leashes are permitted on all of the other trails.
Bluff Trail - 0.2 miles - One Way - Easy
Bryant Grove Trail — 4.0 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy/Moderate (no pets)
Couchville Lake Trail — 2.0 Miles — Paved Surface — Easy (no pets)
Day Loop Trail — 4.5 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy/Moderate
Deer Trail — 1.0 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy
Inland Loop Trail — 0.8 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy
Jones Mill Mtn Bike Trail — 3.5 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy/Moderate
Nature Loop Trail — 0.3 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy (no pets)
Point Trail - 0.1 miles - One Way - Easy
Sellars Farm Trail - 1.5 miles - Loop - Easy
Tyler Sykes Trail — 1.0 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy/Moderate
Volunteer Trail — 5.5 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy/Moderate
Bluff Trail - 0.2 miles - One Way - Easy - This trail runs along the shore of Percy Priest Lake and connects Area 3 to Area 4. It features many scenic views from high atop the lake bluffs. Several picnic tables and grills are located alongside the trail. Great Blue Herons are often seen wading in the shallows.
Bryant Grove Trail - 4 miles - One Way - Rated: Easy/Moderate - This flat, winding trail connects the Couchville Lake area to Bryant Grove Recreation Area as it follows the shore of Percy Priest Lake. The path visits several unique habitats, including rare limestone glades. It crosses a wooden bridge above Bryant Grove Creek, where Green Herons are occasionally seen wading and feeding. The one-mile marker (coming from Couchville Lake) is a good "habitat edge" birding spot for warblers, vireos and other species. Wildflowers along the route include Spider Lily, Shooting Star, Glade Phlox, Rose Verbena, Evening Primrose, Tennessee Milkvetch and Prickly Pear cactus. Keep an eye out for owls, hawks and raccoons along the trail.
Couchville Lake Arboretum Trail - 2 miles - Loop Trail - Easy - This paved trail encircles 110-acre Couchville Lake. This is one of the most popular walks in the state park system due to its accessibility, lakeshore scenery, and abundant wildlife. White-tailed deer and Wild Turkey are common sights here, as are birds such as Great Blue Heron, Prothonotary Warbler, Hooded Merganser and Osprey. Occasional/rare sightings include American Bald Eagle, Sandhill Crane and Baltimore Oriole. The nearby ponds and sinkholes result in a wide variety of frogs and turtles. American Mink have been spotted along the shoreline. Unique wildflowers found along the trail include Mayapple, Mistflower, Green Dragon and Passionflower. The path also features the Couchville Lake Arboretum, which in 2008 became the first state-certified arboretum in a Tennessee State Park. Forty-two species of trees are labeled and identified along the route.
Day Loop - 4.5 miles - Loop - Easy/Moderate - This wild, rocky trail winds its way through mature oak-hickory forest, abundant plants and wildlife, and several scenic bluff overlooks of Percy Priest Lake. The first part of the hike follows the Volunteer Trail, but then it breaks off to form its own loop. Plants found along the route include Trout Lily, Indian Pink and Rue Anemone. Keep an eye out for large oak trees, unique rock formations and sinkholes, and even some limestone glade habitat featuring Prickly Pear cactus. And listen/look for such birds as Pileated Woodpecker, Red-tailed Hawk, Osprey, and Common Loon.
Deer Trail - 1 mile - Loop Trail - Easy - Located near the park office, the Deer Trail features a restored prairie which displays many native flowers and grasses. During summer, the striking wildflower known as Blazing Star attracts a wide variety of swallowtail butterflies, including Eastern Tiger, Spicebush, Giant, Pipevine and Zebra. Monarchs, Juniper Hairstreaks and Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies are also seen in the prairie. Other interesting insects here include praying mantis, green lynx spider and clearwing moth, also known as hummingbird moth. The back section of the trail showcases an impressive stand of mature Sassafras trees. Other unique wildflowers here include Rose Pink, Heal-All, Purple-headed Sneezeweed and Mountain Mint. Note: Beware of significant numbers of ticks on this trail during warm weather months.
Group Camp trails - 0.3 miles - Various - Easy - This area of the park, located behind the main office, is closed to park visitors unless you are signed up as a group camper or participating in an official park program. At Group Camp 1, a small, circular gravel path is located in the middle of the field, and there are also short spur trails leading to Group Camps 2 and 3. The highlight of this area is several large, impressive trees - Black Cherry, Tulip Poplar, etc. - found in the Group Camp 1 field.
Inland Trail - 1 mile - Loop Trail - Easy - Despite its short length, the Inland Trail features an impressive variety of trees, wildflowers, birds and mammals. Many large, mature oak and hickory trees are found here; in fact, the Inland Trail boasts more variety of hickory trees than perhaps anywhere else in the park. Other trees include Pawpaw, Yellow Buckeye and Sassafras. Birds seen or heard here include Wood Thrush, Red-headed Woodpecker, Scarlet Tanager, Barred Owl and Red-eyed Vireo. Keep an eye out for such wildflowers as Spring Beauty, Cutleaf Toothwort, Trillium and Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Mushrooms are common here, too.
Jones Mill Trail - 4.5 miles - Two Loop Trails - Easy/Moderate - Although created as a mountain bike trail, this path is also open to hikers - although bikers have first right-of-way. Surprising to many, the Jones Mill Trail is one of the best wildflower locations in the park. The route meanders through several cedar glades and boasts impressive spring wildflowers such as Gattinger's Prairie Clover, Nashville Breadroot, Golden St. Johnswort, Glade Stonecrop, Lanceleaf Gumweed, Wild Bergamot, Glade Larkspur and Wild Columbine. The path ascends Bald Knob, which is the highest overlook on Percy Priest Lake. Common Loons are occasionally seen from the bluff area. Be advised: there is an outer loop and a shorter, inner loop; if you hike only the outer loop to Bald Knob, the total distance is just over 3.5 miles.
Nature Loop Trail - 0.3 miles - Loop Trail - Rated: Easy - Hidden near the back of the Couchville/Area 2 parking lot, this short trail has a nice sampling of Long Hunter's well-known features: sinkholes, limestone glades, and oak-hickory forest. Rare wildflowers found along the trail include Tennessee Coneflower, Long-styled Glade Cress, Nashville Breadroot, Glade Savory and Limestone Fameflower. Birds such as Summer Tanagers and Eastern Wood-Pewee are heard here. The trail also features several interpretive plaques created for an Eagle Scout project.
Point Trail - 0.1 miles - One Way - Easy - This short path goes from the Bryant Grove parking lot to the rocky overlooks just past the picnic shelter. These days the "point" has become a popular spot for fishing.
Sellars Farm Trail - 1.5 miles - Loop - Easy - Located near Lebanon, this trail leads visitors on a historic tour of Sellars Farm State Archaeological Area. Although not physically connected to Long Hunter State Park, this site is managed by the park. Sellars Farm was once inhabited by the Mississippian Period Indians from about 1000 to 1300 AD. A large mound - and several smaller ones - are still visible today. The site includes an informative kiosk which tells the story of the ancient village and people who lived there; the kiosk features photos, drawings and diagrams. The trail itself meanders through a scenic prairie and ultimately leads to peaceful, shimmering Spring Creek. Our state wildflower, the Passionflower, can be found along the trail, while the creek area boasts tree species such as Bur Oak, Beech, Sycamore and American Hornbeam. This site is also known for its wide variety of dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies. View the walking tour brochure at www.tndar.org/~margaretgaston/pages/Sellars-Farm-Walking-Tour.pdf.
Tyler Sykes Trail - 1 mile - Loop Trail - Easy - This trail circles Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural area, home to many rare, threatened and endangered plant species. Also known as the Couchville Cedar Glade Trail, this path leads visitors to desert-like areas known as cedar glades. The thin, gravelly soil found here is home to such treasured wildflower species as Leafy Prairie Clover, Tennessee Coneflower, Limestone Fameflower, Nodding Wild Onion, Glade Phacelia and Gattinger's Lobelia. This area also features a wide variety of milkweed and sumac plants. Birds found here include Prairie Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Common Nighthawk, Northern Bobwhite and Chuck-Will's-Widow. Other interesting flora and fauna include Reindeer Moss, Hairy Lipfern, Streamside Salamander, Glade Moss, Juniper Hairstreak butterfly, Adder's Tongue fern and Nostoc (aka Witches' Butter).
Volunteer Trail - 6 miles - One Way - Moderate - The longest trail at Long Hunter follows the shore of Percy Priest Lake for most of its run and leads to a pair of primitive backcountry camping sites. Various species of shorebirds, ducks and geese are heard and seen frequently along this route. Though most of Long Hunter's trails are relatively flat, this trail has a slight increase in elevation as it leaves the shore and climbs up the bluffs overlooking the lake. Rocky jumbles, mossy hillsides, scenic lake views, majestic trees and abundant spring wildflowers are common sights along the trail. This area is home to a variety of mammals, including red fox, bobcat and deer.