14 Beautiful Nashville Hikes That Can Be Enjoyed All Year Round

Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the world, and is especially popular in the United States.

It can range from being easy, or beginner level, to very difficult, even for those who are skilled and have a lot of experience. Hikes can last anywhere between an hour or less, to several days or even weeks.

14 Stunning Hikes near Nashville to Do Year Round

It is not uncommon for hiking to be done in groups, especially when taking on overnight trails, but can be done alone, although this is not advised.

There can be many dangers associated with hiking, from weather concerns, unstable environments, predators and even other people. For this reason, it is always best to hike in pairs or groups.

Why Nashville Is A Great Spot For Hiking

Nashville, Tennessee is a very popular spot for hiking, and for good reason. Dubbed ‘Tennessee’s Land of Waterfalls’, Nashville is surrounded by a number of stunning waterfalls and rivers.

All these locations can be visited on hikes around the city, so they draw people in from all over the country to enjoy.

Not to mention, it is common to come across Nashville celebrities enjoying the trails on their days off, so you could get more than you bargained for if you decide to enjoy a hike.

Animals In Tennessee

There are also a number of animals you could spot on your hikes around the city. These animals can be small, such as squirrels, or large, like the American black bear.

You could also run into red and gray foxes, coyotes, white-tailed deer and otters. If you enjoy nature and like to study animals, these hikes could be a great choice for you, and you may get to see some creatures up close.

Packing For A Hike

Packing the right equipment for a hike is crucial. You may come into contact with issues you might not foresee, but you have to be prepared for anything.

The time of year will have a strong effect on what you do or do not take with you, but it is better to be over prepared than suffer the consequences of being under-prepared.

Some hiking necessities include:

Sunscreen

You want to protect your skin while out hiking, whether it is summer or winter. Even in the winter months, the sun can burn you and cause damage, so no matter the time of year, you need to be well-equipped with sunscreen.

Your sunscreen should be sweat proof, too, since you will probably be working hard on your hikes.

Bug Spray

Since you will be out in nature, nature will probably want to take a bite out of you. Keeping bug spray handy could save you a lot of pain, even in the winter, so always make sure that you have it.

A Water Bottle

This one is obvious, but should still being pointed out for those of you who forget to stay hydrated.

Water is the one thing that will keep you going above all else, so having it available is the most crucial thing you can do for your own wellbeing.

A First Aid Kit And Emergency Blanket

You should always be safe, or one day you might be sorry. Having an emergency blanket and first aid kit could be the things that saves your own or someone else’s life one day.

A Cap Or Brimmed Hat

You need to protect yourself from the sun, and besides sunscreen, wearing a hat that will shield you from the run’s rays is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Breathable Or Airy Hiking Clothes

It is important to dress appropriately for your hikes. For hot weather hikes, you should wear breathable clothes in the form of shorts or t-shirts/tank tops.

If you are hiking in the cold, make sure to layer the clothes on, including woolen under layers, jackets, boots and a waterproof shell to protect yourself from the rain or snow you may experience while outdoors.

A Strong And Durable Day Pack

The backpack you take with you will hold all your gear, food and other necessities. You need to make sure that it is durable and can survive any mishaps that may happen.

Trekking Poles

If you are going to be hiking in a steep area, you may want to consider bringing trekking poles along.

You definitely will not need these for every hike, but keeping them in your vehicle would be a good idea.

Volunteer Trail Day Loop
Source: Alltrails

Volunteer Trail Day Loop

Volunteer Trail Day Loop is a great trail for those who do not want to wander too far from the city center.

This trail takes you along the shores of Percy Priest Lake and has a recreational area that runs predominantly along the lake shore.

This lake is well-loved and is a very popular spot to visit, so be prepared to see a number of other hikers or even tourists on the trail.

The Volunteer Trail also has a longer route, which is overnight, but the day route is great for beginners.

You can expect you spend some time walking in the woods near the lake shore and listen to the sound of squirrels and other small animals around you.

  • Difficulty level – beginner level / easy
  • Length of trail – 3.9 miles (day trail) / 5.5 miles (night trail)
  • Total elevation gain – 269 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 30 minutes or 24 miles from the city
  • Located in – Long Hunter State Park
Burgess Falls Trail

Burgess Falls Trail

Burgess Falls State Park is full of stunning hiking trails, and Burgess Falls Tail is the most popular one. This trail is very short but had breathtaking scenery year-round.

Visiting this park and wandering along its namesake trail, you can expect to come across Burgess Falls, one of the most stunning waterfalls in the state of Tennessee.

This waterfall rises a spectacular 135 feet and wraps around a cliff corner. To see this waterfall in at its full potential, you should visit the trail after heavy rainfall or in the dead of winter.

This waterfall is known to freeze over, creating a magical atmosphere.

After walking this trail, be sure to visit the others in the area. There is no shortage of trails that will blow you away, summer or winter.

You could expect to see white-tailed deer, wild turkey, Carolina chickadees and tufted titmouse if you keep your voice low and your eyes open to the surrounding woods.

  • Difficulty level – beginner level / easy
  • Length of trail – 1.1 miles
  • Total elevation gain – 134 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 1 hour and 20 minutes / 80 miles
  • Located in – Burgess Falls State Park
Greeter Falls Loop

Greeter Falls Loop

Greeter falls is a beautiful and easy hiking trail you can enjoy at all times of the year. The trail is part of the Savage Gulf trail system and is found in the South Cumberland State Park.

If you visit the trail, you will get to see the beautiful waterfalls that drop 50 feet into a pool sitting below. You can even take your dog on this hike, as long as you keep them on a leash and safe.

You can enjoy nature on this trail and take in the sounds of songbirds and small animals, so you can let your hair down and simply enjoy the environment.

  • Difficulty level – beginner level / easy
  • Length of trail – 3.2 miles
  • Total elevation gain – 200 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 1 hour and 36 minutes / 91 miles
  • Located in – South Cumberland State Park
Twin Falls And Down River Trail

Twin Falls And Down River Trail

On this trail, you get double the splendor with two waterfalls! These waterfalls are, you guessed it, twins, and are definitely worth the walk to see.

The hike is easy and enjoyable, with no real obstacles or difficulties you can experience along the way. If you can manage to look away from the towering falls, you might get the chance to spot some wildlife, too.

This park has one of the biggest black vulture roosts in Tennessee, and you may spot some of them. Not only that, but herons, warblers and songbirds are common in the area, so you will have plenty to look out for.

If you are looking for something a little larger, keep an eye out for white-tailed deer while enjoying the fresh country air.

  • Difficulty level – beginner level / easy
  • Length of trail – 1.6 miles
  • Total elevation gain – 223 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 1 hour and 45 minutes / 90 miles
  • Located in – Rock Island State Park
Narrows of Harpeth

Narrows of Harpeth

With a name that sounds like it should be in Greece, this trail is magical and beautiful beyond words. Although the hike is short, there is plenty to see and experience.

You can pass by amazing rock formations as well as woods, where you can spot the local wildlife. The Narrows of Harpeth has one of the oldest man-made rock tunnels, and is not something you want to miss.

This trail is a fantastic photo opportunity, and you will not run out of chances to get some amazing shots. The most popular photo spot is the tunnel, which has a waterfall that runs off it into a pool below.

Even if you are new to trails, you will feel as safe as can be since Nashville city center is only 30 minutes away.

  • Difficulty level – beginner level / easy
  • Length of trail – 1.1 miles
  • Total elevation gain – 223 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 30 minutes / 25 miles
  • Located in – Narrows of Harpeth State Park
Radnor Lake State Park

Radnor Lake

This beautiful and idyllic lake is one of the most loved hiking spots in the Nashville area. This loop is a comfortable 2.4 miles and takes you around the Radnor Lake perimeter.

You can take in the stunning views of the lake and watch as the colors on the water shift and change as the hours pass.

This trail is super easy as it is predominantly flat as it goes along the lake, so you can bring your grandparents or small children on this hike without a problem.

You can even bring your dogs on the trail, but make sure to keep them on a leash and safe. If the scenery isn’t enough to satisfy your needs, you can also marvel at the beautiful wooden bridges that are dotted around the trail.

This hike is one of the best options if you want to have an easy and carefree day out, but you need to be prepared to see plenty of other people on the trail because of how popular it is.

  • Difficulty level – beginner level / easy
  • Length of trail – 2.4 miles
  • Total elevation gain – 170 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 20 minutes / 11 miles
  • Located in – Radnor Lake State Park
Snoopers Rock Trail

Snoopers Rock Trail

With a total elevation of 1,167 feet, Snoopers Rock Trail has unbeatable views. This park is not beginner-friendly and anyone who visits must have a level of fitness to get them through the trek, but every step will be worth it.

On this trail, you will make your way through the forest and jagged cliffs to end up at the rocky summit.

There, you will have a breathtaking view of the Tennessee River – yet another perfect spot for some amazing photographs.

If you make the journey on a clear day, you can take in the full views of the river, and maybe even see the resemblance between Arizona’s Horseshoe Bend and the Tennessee River.

The Elder Mountains make a stunning backdrop for this trail, too, and if you want to get the full experience of this hike, visiting in fall is a must.

This is one of the best spots to see the changing colors of the surrounding forests, but you need to be away that this is a popular hinting ground, too.

Because of this, it is likely that the area may close for periods of the year for safety.

  • Difficulty level – intermediate
  • Length of trail – 5.9 miles
  • Total elevation gain – 1,167 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 2 hours and 15 minutes / 133 miles
  • Located in – Prentice Cooper State Forest
Fall Creek Falls Trail

Fall Creek Falls Trail

In the land of waterfalls, it comes as no surprise that there are stunning waterfalls in Fall Creek Falls National Park. The trail is not without its challenges, but is doable for anyone with some experience.

You can enjoy this trail no matter the season, and take in the cascading water from a bird’s eye view.

In the winter, the waterfalls make you feel like you are in a winter wonderland and provide you with photo opportunities that you will not find anywhere else.

If you want to experience the full beauty of this trail, visit the park in the winter and after heavy rainfall. Nothing will make you feel in awe of nature more than watching and listening to a waterfall at its full power.

  • Difficulty level – intermediate
  • Length of trail – 2.4 miles
  • Total elevation gain – 561 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 2 hours and 15 minutes / 129 miles
  • Located in – Fall Creek Falls National Park
Cummins Falls State Park

Cummins Falls Trail

You will probably need those trekking poles for this hiking adventure. Here, you can not only enjoy the views of the falls, but have plenty of fun as you navigate your way through the trail.

You will need the skills and experience to make your way through various different terrains, including streams, so if you were hoping to stay clean, this is not the hike for you.

The waterfall seen in this hike is the cherry on top, and makes for a great treat in between the chaotic hiking.

For this hike, you will need to be sure to wear clothing and shoes that can withstand a few different environments and will be good as new even after getting wet.

Because of the layout of the trail and the involvement of water and crossing streams, this park may get closed after severe rain and storms for the hiker’s safety.

However, when the conditions are not torrential, you can go on your next adventure and see all the wildlife this state park has to offer.

  • Difficulty level – intermediate
  • Length of trail – 3 miles
  • Total elevation gain – 452 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 1 hours and 30 minutes / 84 miles
  • Located in – Cummins Falls State Park
Mossy Ridge Trail

Mossy Ridge Trail

If you do not want to stray too far from home, the Mossy Ridge Trail is your perfect fit. Located in Nashville itself, you can experience some challenging terrain and still feel like you are home.

There are a number of hills that the trails take you through, as well as some of the most unusual and stunning mossy areas within forested areas.

You will probably come across many things on your hike, including an old furnace, so you will need to keep an eye out for it!

  • Difficulty level – intermediate
  • Length of trail – 4.9 miles
  • Total elevation gain – 882 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 0 / within Nashville
  • Located in – Warner Parks
Montgomery Bell Trail
Source: Alltrails

Montgomery Bell Trail

If you want history as well as stunning landscapes, the Montgomery Bell Trail is perfect for you.

This trail is longer than most on this list, covering a while 10.4 miles, but is a very enjoyable, if you can handle it. There are a bunch of different terrains to challenge yourself on, as well as the landscapes to match.

You will pass by some historic locations on this hike, including an old log cabin and a mining area. Throughout the trail, you will also come across a number of smaller waterfalls, lakes and streams you can cross.

So, you will definitely want to bring those waterproof shoes if you want to get adventurous.

  • Difficulty level – intermediate
  • Length of trail – 10.4 miles
  • Total elevation gain – 1,049 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 45 minutes / 38 miles
  • Located in – Montgomery Bell State Park
Honey Creek
Source: Rootsrated

Honey Creek Loop Trail

This relatively short trail might sound as smooth as honey, but don’t let that fool you. The Honey Creek Loop Trail is nature’s obstacle course, and has stream crossings, scrambling, ropes and ladders.

It is not a place for those without experience, but if you know your way around and have great physical athleticism, this trail will be super fun and challenging.

If you complete this trail once, you will most likely be back in the near future to do it all over again – it is that good!

At the end of the trail, you can sit down and catch your breath, all the while getting a bird’s eye view of Honey Creek.

There, you can visit the waterfalls, rock formations and caves to have even more fun. The possibilities are endless, and no matter what you love to do, this trail will make it possible.

  • Difficulty level – difficult
  • Length of trail – 5.8 miles
  • Total elevation gain – 1,023 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 2 hours and 30 minutes / 144 miles
  • Located in – Big South Fork National Recreation Area
Virgin Falls
Source: Nooga Today

Virgin Falls

If you want to get your adrenaline flowing and experience something exciting, Virgin Falls is the place for you. As strenuous as this hike is, you will love every moment.

You can expect to be faced with rock scrambling to get across areas, as well as ascents and descents that are not for the faint of heart.

At the end of the trail, you will have the chance to at last gaze upon the trail’s namesake – Virgin Falls. This waterfall flows in a stunning area in front of a cave area, so you might get the chance to dip your feet in.

If you want to get the best experience possible, traversing this train in the fall will allow you to see the stunning warm colors of the leaves, and there is nothing more beautiful than that.

  • Difficulty level – difficult
  • Length of trail – 8.7 miles
  • Total elevation gain – 1,381 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 2 hours / 113 miles
  • Located in – Virgin Falls State Natural Area
Fiery Gizzard Trail

Fiery Gizzard Trail

The Fiery Gizzard Trail is a trial by fire. To get through this hike, you will need some seriously stamina, strength and patience.

The scenery is stunning, but it is full of challenges that need to be taken seriously. There are streams to cross, rocky terrains and much more.

If you want to have the experience of your lifetime and have the skills to pull it off, try out the Fiery Gizzard Trail – it will be a memory that stays with you forever.

  • Difficulty level – difficult
  • Length of trail – 9.6 miles
  • Total elevation gain – 1,243 feet
  • Distance from Nashville – 1 hour and 30 minutes / 95 miles
  • Located in – South Cumberland State Park

Final Thoughts On Hiking Trails Near Nashville

Nashville is home to more than country music, it has an endless number of waterfalls and views that will take your breath away.

If you live in Nashville and are a lover of the outdoors, why not try out some of these trails if you have not already?

There is so much to see and experience, and even if you have to cross the country to get to these routes, you will have memories that you will cherish forever. So, what is stopping you?

Emily Winters