3 backcountry campsites within 100 miles of Nashville

August 3, 2016  |  Permalink

For many of us, the best way to disconnect is to head out into the wild. But sometimes it’s not enough to set up camp next to your car on the edge of the wilderness. Sometimes we need to leave the car behind, throw the essentials in a pack and dive deep into the heart of the forest. For those days, for those adventurers, the backcountry campsite represents a secluded oasis in the desert of life. For those of you who need a getaway, here are three backcountry sites within 100 miles of Nashville:


Long Hunter State Park

Long Hunter’s location makes it one of the easiest parks for a quick backpacking getaway. Located just 20 miles from downtown Nashville, the park is perfect for the spur of the moment, “today was a terrible day at work and I need to get to the woods” weekend excursion.  The park offers two (2) primitive campsites. The hike into the sites is six miles using the Day Loop/Volunteer Trailhead. The campsites are open year-round and sleep 8-10 people. The park recently launched online reservations for these sites, making it easier for you to book your trip.

Posted by Natchez Trace State Park on Saturday, June 4, 2016
Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park is located on I-40 between Memphis and Nashville, roughly an hour and a half from either city. The park and surrounding state forest host 40 miles of hiking trails, complete with four backcountry campsites. The cool thing about this park is that you can actually hike the full length of these trails, stopping along the way to camp. The trail meanders through a 48,000-acre forest. It is the park's remoteness, and the vastness of the forest, that sets this trail apart. The campsites require a permit, which you will need to obtain when you arrive. The permits are available at the park office.

South Cumberland State Park

South Cumberland State Park is an hour and half from Nashville and just under an hour outside of Chattanooga. This park is a backpacking smörgåsbord. There are over 90 miles of backpacking with 12 campgrounds scattered along the trail systems.  The Fiery Gizzard, a 12.5-mile one-way trail, is one of the most popular hikes in the country. The park’s combination of trail mileage, abundance of campsites and legendary routes, coupled with remarkable overlooks and waterfalls, makes it an ideal place to escape and recharge. Because of its popularity, the park encourages guests to reserve their campsites early using the online reservation system. The reservation receipt acts as your permit for the campsite, so make sure you print it and put it on the dash of each vehicle you leave overnight at the park.


Disconnect from your routines

You don’t have to go far from Nashville to disconnect from your daily routines. These three parks offer different backpacking experiences all within 100 miles of Nashville. Whether you’re looking for proximity to town, overlooks and waterfalls, or long stretches of forested trail, these parks can satisfy your need to step away from it all and re-connect.

About the author

Josh Gibson