I know you posted this over a year ago, but we're still ramping up the Tennessee engagement with Conversations. 🙂 I hope you've been able to get outside quite a bit in the last year, and have been able to safely enjoy the outdoors this summer.
Tennessee has a ton to offer with its hiking!
The most visited national park in the country sits in eastern Tennessee: the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and within that, the highest point in Tennessee: Clingmans Dome. There are hundreds of miles of trails in GSMNP, and one of our National Scenic Trails goes right through the park. In the spring, you'll see hundreds of day, section, or thru hikers of the Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine (or Maine to Georgia, depending on where your allegiance lies :D). In GSMNP, you can hike up to Mt. LeConte via the Alum Cave Trail, or you can hike up to Rocky Top out of Cades Cove (but you have to sing the song the whole way up).
There are over 50 miles of trails at Frozen Head State Park between Knoxville and Nashville, and backpacking is allowed in the park. There's a fire tower you can hike up to for a nice lunch spot, and get your campfire stories ready: the park is located just outside of the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary where quite a few inmates have escaped. One was a pretty high profile escapee, and his escape sparked the creation of the Barkley Marathons. There's a documentary about the marathons on Netflix... it's an adventure worth checking out!
One more nice state park to check out is Big Hill Pond State Park in southwestern TN. There's a large lake for fishing, and plenty of trails that you can piece together to get over 8 miles of fun that loop around the lake, and end up at a fire tower there as well. The campgrounds are very nicely upkept.
If you've had a chance to get outside this past year, definitely feel free to share your trip reports here! We love photos of your favorite outdoor places!
I've only been in Tennessee for a couple of years, but the hiking I've experienced here has been fantastic! I'm building up my stamina for more strenuous hikes, so my current top 3 are in the moderate-difficulty range and are relatively heavily-trafficked.
3. Edgar Evins - Two main trail loops, both are beautiful! Unpaved, decent elevation changes, and a nice view off the low cliffs.
2. Cummins Falls Trail - Wanna touch a waterfall? A 10 minute safety video and 1.5 miles of hiking (3 miles round-trip) over grades of up to 30% and a shallow riverbed gets you there.
1. Richie Hollow Trail - Prentice Cooper State Forest was a pleasant surprise all around for me. The scenic drive was gorgeous, camping was decent, and this trail really was the icing on the cake. It leads you past a (small) waterfall and provides a sweeping view of the river. Snoopers Rock is next on my list for when I find my way back here.