Long Hunter State Park

Hiking

Approximately twenty-five miles of easy to moderate hiking trails 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.

Pet Policy

  • 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.

Bryant Grove Trail - 4.0 miles - One Way - 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 heron 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. No pets allowed.

Inland Trail - .75 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. Dogs on a leash are allowed.      

Cedar Glade Trail - 1.0 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 Tyler Sykes 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 fame flower, 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. Dogs on a leash are allowed.

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. Keep an eye out for large oak trees, unique rock formations and sinkholes, and even some limestone glade habitat featuring prickly pear cactus. Listen and look for pileated woodpecker, red-tailed hawk, osprey, and common loon. Dogs on a leash are allowed.  

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. There is an outer loop and a shorter, inner loop; if you bike or hike only the outer loop to Bald Knob, the total distance is just over 3.5 miles. 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. Bikers have first right-of-way. Dogs on a leash are allowed.

Volunteer Trail - 5.5 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 red fox, bobcat and deer. Dogs on a leash are allowed.   

Reading Ranger Story Trail - 0.30 Miles - Easy Loop Trail - Hidden near the back of the Couchville/Area 2 parking lot, this short trail, formerly the Nature Loop Trail, has a nice sampling of well-known features, such as, sinkholes, limestone glades and oak–hickory forest is now home to this innovative family trail. Enlarged pages from children’s books are placed along this .25 mile trail so youngsters can read, exercise and explore. Stories are changed out in the spring. No pets allowed.

Deer Trail - 1.0 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. Dogs on a leash are allowed.

Couchville Lake Arboretum Trail - 2.0 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, as are birds such as great blue heron, prothonotary warbler, hooded merganser and osprey. Occasional/rare sightings include American bald eagle, sandhill crane and red-headed woodpecker. The nearby ponds and sinkholes result in a wide variety of frogs and turtles. American mink have been spotted along the shore- line. 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. No pets allowed.

Sellars Farm Trail - 1.5 miles - Loop - Easy - This short loop trail around the farm is a good hike for guests with children and offers a unique learning experience. 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 trail itself meanders through a scenic prairie and ultimately leads to peaceful, Spring Creek. Dogs on a leash are allowed.

Nature Loop Trail - 0.3 miles - Loop Trail - 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. No pets allowed.

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.