Fall Hiking in Nashville = Colorful Leaves and Tons of Wildlife Spottings

It’s finally November! And in Nashville, that means the leaves are starting to turn and the weather is just about perfect. It is also the perfect time to the hit the trails. Hiking in Nashville is great year round, but fall offers a special view of the changing of the leaves and wildlife.

Whether you are looking for a short, family friendly hike, or one geared more towards the adventurous at heart, we have compiled a list of the best of the best. But first, here are a few trail tips to keep in mind:

  1. Check before you bring your pet. Not all trails are pet-friendly and it would be a bummer to bring your favorite furry friend only to have to leave him in the car while you hit the trails.
  2. Bring water. Regardless if it is an easy hike or more strenuous, it is best to keep some extra water on hand.
  3. Be on the lookout for wildlife. Fall is a great time of year for spotting deer.
  4. Leave no trace. If you bring it in, take it out. Don’t litter on the trails.
  5. Stay on the designated paths. This helps protect our natural areas so that others can enjoy them year after year.
  6. Hide all of your belongings in the trunk of your car. As the trails get busy, so does foot traffic around your car. Make sure to hide anything valuable before hitting the trail.
  7. Bring snacks! If you are going on a day hike or hike with the kiddos, make sure to bring a few energy driven snacks like nuts or granola bars.
  8. Bring a light jacket. It can get pretty chilly if hiking in the shade. Bring a light jacket if you tend to get cold easily.

Hiking In Nashville: Family Friendly

These hiking spots are perfect for a quick afternoon trip with the kiddos. Easy to navigate, some are paved, and there is usually great deer and other woodland creatures roaming about.

Couchville Lake Loop: This two-mile, paved path loop features a gorgeous lake, lots of deer and birds, a bridge, and perfect for learning more about nature with its abundance of informative labels and signs. Located in Long Hunter State Park out near Mt. Juliet, this is perfect to place to bring the kids. There is also a playground nearby and if you are up to it a picnic area.

Radnor Lake: Radnor lake is absolutely beautiful this time of year, but if you head out on the weekend, make sure to go early as it does get busy. There are two options for this trail, the Lake Trail, and the Ganier Ridge Trail, which is a more adventurous option and not necessarily family friendly. This man made lake built in 1914 is perfect for spotting turtles catching a few rays on rocks, owl spotting, and ranger led programs. Partially pet-friendly as well.

hiking in nashville

Picture courtesy of @tennesseestateparks

Hiking in Nashville: Adventurous Hikers

If you are looking for something a little bit more adventurous hiking in Nashville, we have the perfect trails for you.

Bryant Grove: This 8-mile (4-miles each way), out and back trail is a scenic trail that winds its way alongside the banks of Percy Priest. While it is an easy trail, it is a long one and hikers should be prepared. This trail does not loop back and you will need to have a car waiting for you at the other end, or hike back to the trailhead you started at.

Volunteer Trail: This trail, part of Long Hunter State Park, boasts amazing views of Percy Priest lake. You have two options, a day loop trail (4-miles) or an out and back 11-mile hike that leads to primitive camping grounds if you want to settle in the for the night. This moderate trail allows dogs on leashes, but beware of tree roots and slippery rocks when the trail gets wet.

Hiking in Nashville: Day Trips

Alright, so these aren’t technically in Nashville, but they are close by and worth the trip if you have the time. Make sure to pack a lunch and some water for these trips.

Rock Island State Park: Definitely one of Tennessee’s best natural playgrounds, Rock Island State Park has a plethora of trails and waterfalls, but is home to the Blue Hole. The hike down to the Blue Hole is strenuous, steep, and wet. Definitely not kid or pet-friendly, but the views down in the hole are great if you are brave enough to venture down there. Beyond the Blue Hole, Rock Island has a beach to eat lunch on and a variety of other trails and waterfalls to take in. The drive to Rock Island State Park allows you to take in some of the fall foliage in Tennessee’s back country roads.

Greeter Falls: Located 1 hour and 40 minutes SE of Nashville in Altamont, TN is Greeter Falls. This moderate loop trail is dog-friendly and just challenging enough. During the fall, the falls will most likely not have any water trickling down, but this gives you an opportunity to hike up to the upper falls and into the river to play on the boulders. If you bring your dog, beware of the spiral staircase that leads down to the lower falls.