Radnor Lake State Park

Hiking

Radnor Lake is day-use only and is protected as a Class II Natural Area, so the trails are strictly used for hiking and wildlife observation. Trails are off limits to pets, jogging, and bicycles.

Radnor Lake has some of the highest hills in the Nashville Basin. Wildlife is amazingly abundant. One can observe geese, herons, coots, and other birds as well as many species of salamanders, frogs, snakes, lizards, turtles, and mammals. Hundreds of species of wildflowers, mosses, fungi, ferns, and other lesser plants as well as trees, shrubs, and vines add to the natural ecological diversity of the area. 

Dam Walkway - 0.20 Miles - Easy - ADA Accessible. This gravel trail is the shortest in the park. It provides a gentle, flat surface across the Dam Walkway, and offers excellent views of the lake and abundant wildlife. The trail is accessible from Otter Creek Road, and ends at the Spillway Bridge.

Access Trail - 0.25 Miles - Moderate. This short mulched trail provides a quick link from the east parking area to the Ganier Ridge Trail. Hikers can also use this trail for access to the nearby Lake Trail.

Spillway Trail - 0.25 Miles - Easy - ADA Accessible. Starting behind the Walter Criley Visitor Center, with additional access from the west parking area, this mulched trail follows the outflow from the Spillway up to the Spillway Bridge, and a beautiful view of Radnor Lake. The trail continues along the lake to an observation deck, where the Lake Trail begins.

Historic Valve House Trail - 0.40 Miles - Easy. Just a short 10 minute hike from the Walter Criley Visitor Center, this interpretive trail features Radnor Lake’s Industrial Complex, and interpretive panels focusing on the L&N Railroad construction of the dam in the early 1900s. The mulched trail crosses a tributary of the Harpeth River to reach the reconstructed Historic Valve-House, where release of water from the lake to the railyards was controlled.

South Lake Trail - 0.90 Miles - Moderate. Sharing access points off of Otter Creed Road with the South Cove Trail, this less strenuous mulched trail sticks closer to the road and lake. However, it does feature a connection halfway through for visitors who decide to jump on the South Cove Trail.Lake Trail 1.35 Miles Easy

Otter Creek Road - 1.05 Miles - Easy - ADA Accessible. Because Radnor Lake is a Class II Natural Area, this is the only trail on which dogs and bikes are allowed. The road is closed to motor traffic inside the park. From the road, there are excellent views of the lake, as well as the beaver lodge and dam, which can be seen from the causeway.

Lake Trail - 1.35 Miles - Easy - ADA Accessible. Picking up where the Spillway Trail ends, this trail runs around the north side of 85-acre Radnor Lake. Several observation points provide excellent vistas of the lake and wildlife. The trail eventually exits onto Otter Creek Road. This is a mulch and gravel surface trail.

South Cove Trail - 1.40 Miles - Difficult. Mirroring the difficulty of the Ganier Ridge Trail, hikers will be taken up to the top of a ridge. The trail runs close to the southern boundary of the park. Views of the lake can be glimpsed through the foliage on lower sections of this mulched trail.

Ganier Ridge Trail - 1.65 Miles - Difficult. There are three access points to this trail, two from the Lake Trail, and one via the Access Trail that runs from the east parking area. This natural surface trail runs up to the top of Ganier Ridge, where there is a plaque honoring the trail’s namesake, Albert F. Ganier (1883-1973). The naturalist and historian was also a co-founder of the Tennessee Ornithological Society, and the plaque was dedicated by the society’s Nashville chapter in 1978.