After a long summer of high heat keeping us mostly indoors or submerged in the pool, we are finally reaching that point where the dropping of just a few degrees makes all the difference. We can now mix it up a bit, giving our indoor workout classes a break, and start incorporating more of Nature into our routines. Spending time outdoors is not only good for the body but even better for the brain. And it’s super easy to do with all the hiking in and around Nashville.
Why Going Hiking is Good for Your Health
According to a The National Institute of Health, the simple act of walking outdoors boosts creativity by 81%. Even spending just 15-20 minutes outside each day can help boost your immunity and elevate depression, as well as strengthen cognition, decrease stress (can we get an amen?), increase morale and regulate blood flow.
I recommend that people go for a walk every day for at least 15 minutes. Try going without your earbuds in so you can truly take in the sights and sounds of the beauty around you. Especially in the great parks in and around Music City.
Want to make this one of your healthy habits going forward? Grab a friend and commit to meeting twice a week to get outside to walk, talk and enjoy the scenery. I like to call it Nature Hour, instead of Happy Hour. Nature Hour is better for you on so many levels, and your body and brain will thank you for it both short-term and even more importantly, long-term.
Where Can You Go Hiking Near Nashville?
The hills of Tennessee offer some lovely parks to get us outdoors and feeling ready for spring! Here is a handful of the best trails in Nashville you can explore:
Edwin Warner has some of the best hikes that the Nashville area has to offer, with their Harpeth Woods Trail being one of my favorites. The 2.5-mile loop has vigorous hills that make for quite a workout.
We all know Percy Warner Park by the hill of stairs that lead up to the hikes and loops (and for the many Nicole Kidman sightings). These steps make for a fantastic (and scenic) workout. Pro tip: You don’t have to just run the steps to maximize your workout. When walking up the steps, keep your weight in your heels to get a good glute workout in.
Sometimes in landlocked Nashville, we just want to be around some water. Radnor Lake has a beautiful trail that winds through woods and along the lake that will surely refresh your mind and body. Additionally, you’ll also find celebs like Kelsea Ballerini enjoying the trails!
There are several Greenway trails scattered around the area that make for great walks and runs. There are over 190 miles of trails in Davidson County, and the trails are well-kept because Nashville places a high priority on protecting and linking open space and building greenway trails around the city. My favorite portion can be accessed via Murphy Road in West Nashville.
Lucky for us, not all the hikes and trails are in the city. Brentwood has a ton of trails and greenways of its own. In fact, Brentwood has 14 parks dedicated to people (and their dogs!). Need a map view to find the closest location to you? Look no further, we’ve got you.
Are There Waterfall Hikes Near Nashville?
If you’re in the mood to do some more exploration, beyond just getting in 20 minutes of sun and fresh air, plan a trip down one of these gorgeous Tennessee waterfall trails.
Enjoy a short 15-minute hike from the parking lot to this beautiful 110-foot waterfall. This gorgeous natural landmark is a bit of a drive, but it’s absolutely worth it for a weekend adventure. The Ozone Falls Class I Scenic-Recreational State Natural Area is a 43-acre nature area in Cumberland County and is about two hours from Downtown Nashville, so definitely save this one for when you have the time.
The trail itself is only 0.3 miles long but is fairly steep and challenging, and you’re in for a treat once you get to the falls.
Another one of the best waterfall hikes in Eastern Tennessee is the Greeter Falls Loop near Altamont. It’s a little more than an hour-and-a-half outside of Nashville, but you should absolutely take an afternoon for a visit.
The trail is a 3.2 mile loop with plenty of shade and rock formations. If you want a full workout, take the full loop, but if you just want to get in and swim at the falls, there’s a direct access trail with a spiral staircase right to the base of the falls.
Out in Eastern Tennessee, this state park lies at the meeting point of the Caney Fork River, the Collins River, and the Rocky River right before Center Hill Lake. Within this 883-acre park are nine hiking trails, the Twin Falls Overlook, and a gorgeous view of the Blue Hole Falls.
Fall Creek Falls State Park is one of the most visited Tennessee state parks and is just under a two-hour drive from Downtown. The falls themselves are also one of the tallest waterfalls in the eastern United States at 256 feet. For some beautiful views of Fall Creek Falls, take the Gorge Overlook Trail that runs 1.2 miles around the ridge around the falls.
Out in the South Cumberland State Park near Chattanooga, TN, the Fiery Gizzard Creek tumbles 80-feet over a rounded cliff to form what’s known as Foster Falls. You can hike directly to the bottom of the falls and take a dip in the pool, or get your cardio in on the 2-mile loop around the falls.