I love to hike.
I like to hike more than I like to eat and I love to eat.
Hiking speaks to my soul.
Hiking is my solace.
Hiking brings me peace.
The trees seem to speak to me.
The trees bring to comfort me.
Most times I hike with my two girls, and we hike around Middle TN (in the Smokies when we can), but mostly close to where we live.
Here are a few of my favorites.
In and around Nashville:
Beaman Park– great place with undiscovered trails. The trails are nice. You do have to watch for ticks here in the summer and if you hike with dogs – they are welcome in Metro parks. Here’s the trail map. I like to do the Henry Hollow Loop Trail – it’s a 2-mile loop with a bit of a hill. Easy for kids.
Radnor Lake – excellent place with several great trails, however, it is BUSY. Parking here can be a pair at times. But it’s beautiful. I’ve taken my girls here a lot. My favorite hiking trails here are Gainer Ridge Trail to the Lake Trail to the South Lake Trail and then back via the road. If you park at the East Parking Lot doing that is about 4 miles.
Around Middle TN:
Fall Creek Falls – beautiful place, great weekend getaway. We’ve camped there a few times and like the campground. Hiking to the falls is great. It’s one of the most popular parks so that it can be kind of busy in the summer.
TN State Parks – There are a few nice parks. Most have kid programs on Saturday.
The Smokies are my favorite.
Most people will stay in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. I don’t like the tourist crowds, so I stay in Townsend. My favorite place to stay is the Talley Ho; it’s an older property, but the people there are amazing, and it’s clean. I’ll trade a new hotel for the peaceful surroundings of Townsend. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are the Vegas of the Smokies. I’ve had good luck with Vacation Rentals by Owner for staying in Gatlinburg.
Hiking in the Smokies – I use this website a lot to look up trail difficult.
Laural Falls – This is the only paved trail in the Great Smokey National Park. You can do this one with strollers – I did it with my oldest when she was four months old. Because of the ease of this trail, parking here can be tough, and it’s very busy. But if you get there early in the day, before 10:00 am, it’s usually ok.
Clingman’s Dome – This is a fun place to go. It’s the highest point in the Smokies. And it’s cold on top, so you’ll need a jacket (even in summer).
Cades Cove – This is my favorite place to go in the Smokies. You can do it in a few hours, but it’s nice if you can pack a picnic lunch and spend all day. It’s a driving loop, but there’s plenty of stops and places to explore. If you go in the peak of summer, it’s very busy and will take a few hours to drive the loop.