Nashville is one of the best places to stay in the US for hiking, yet most people know it as ‘music city’. As much as we love the Nashville music scene, it is time for mainstream tourism to start seeing the city as a more rounded destination – and these top 15 hikes near Nashville are the perfect place to start. There are many waterfalls hikes near Nashville and gorgeous green spaces like Percy Warner Park, Long Hunter State Park, and more. For all its lively beats and partying, Nashville is not short of hiking opportunities.
15 Top Hikes Near Nashville, Tennessee
Whether you want green space in Downtown Nashville or just hikes near Nashville, Tennessee, that you can visit as a day trip, this guide has got you covered. We’ll whisk you through a list of the best hiking trails near Nashville, Tennessee.
1. Cane Creek Waterfalls
Cane Creek Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfall hikes near Nashville. The falls drop 85 feet as a single-drop waterfall into a huge plunge pool below. Cane Creek Falls are situated in Fall Creek Falls State Park and are one of its six different waterfalls, but this waterfall stands out for its volume. You’ll be hiking this waterfall trail for its good looks – not a workout, as it takes less than 15 minutes to complete. However, if you also include the suspension bridge in your route, it’s a really engaging short hike near Nashville.
Distance: 0.4 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 25 meters Driving time from Nashville: 2 hours
2. Radnor Lake Trail
Radnor Lake is a beautiful destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The state park encompasses 1,368 acres and is a thriving hotspot for river otters, beavers, and white-tailed deer. Consider Radnor Lake Trail as the wildlife-watching opportunity amidst these best hiking trails. And the serene lake is a massive added bonus, with ranger-led canoe floats available for those wanting a more adventurous chance to connect with Radnor Lake.
This trail takes approximately an hour to complete and is a giant loop that laps around the lake’s edge. Take your time, though, to get the most out of wildlife watching, and brings some binoculars to spot animals from a distance.
Distance: 2.7 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 37 meters Driving time from Nashville: 17 minutes
3. Narrows of the Harpeth Trail
The Narrows of the Harpeth Trail is an absolute breeze to hike. If you want a short but sweet hiking trip from Nashville, add this to your list. The Narrows provides upstream and downstream trail access, and this area is famous for its narrow section of river flowing through lush forest and towering cliffs. The Narrows of the Harpeth Tunnel are stunning; picture a man-made waterfall cascading out of the cliffs.
The Narrows of the Harpeth River is just half an hour’s drive from Nashville’s city center – ideal for a quick afternoon trip. Situated in a designated state park, this hike is perfect for those wanting a trek through dense forest and a unique river setting.
Distance: 1.1 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 68 meters Driving time from Nashville: 30 minutes
4. Montgomery Bell Trail
Montgomery Bell is widely described as a natural oasis. Picture three green-tinted lakes surrounded by 3,850 acres of forest and natural beauty – honestly, it is no wonder that people from Nashville flock to make the 40-minute drive to Montgomery Bell State Park. The Montgomery Bell Trail is a moderate trail of over 10 miles, taking approximately 4 hours to complete, plus longer if you stop for swimming. However, it is one of the most relaxing and peaceful places for hiking near Nashville. Most visitors spend the day lounging on lake shores or paddling in shallow waters.
Distance: 10.3 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 320 meters Driving time from Nashville: 40 minutes
5. Volunteer Trail Day Loop Trail
Volunteer Trail Day Loop is a moderate hike that latches on as an extra challenge from the Volunteer Trail that loops Long Hunter State Park. It pays to get off the beaten track once in a while, and on this trail extension, you leave Volunteer Trail at its midway point and detour to Percy Priest Lake. You can actually camp on this trail. In fact, a popular way to experience it is to set up at Percy Priest Lake’s campsites and then watch the sunset – finishing the hike the following day. This is a beautiful trail to tick off for lakeside hiking near Nashville.
Distance: 4 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 82 meters Driving time from Nashville: 30 minutes
6. Twin Falls and Down River Trail
Ready for another one of Nashville’s nearby waterfall trails? Twin Falls and Down River Trail is a fairly easy hike near Rock Island State Park. But its winning factor is the cascading Twin Falls – a beautiful waterfall that seems to tumble out of the trees and dozens of white streaks. The trail takes around 40 minutes to complete and is situated in Rock Island State Park. This park sits on the confluence of three rivers; Caney Fork River, Collins, and Rocky River.
Distance: 1.6 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 68 meters Driving time from Nashville: 1 hour 40 minutes
7. Burgess Falls Trail
Burgess Falls Trail is a fantastic hiking trip to combine multiple waterfalls into one short stroll. The trail passes four huge waterfalls along the Falling Water River – providing unrivaled views of powerful crashes of water. Don’t be fooled; this route is labeled moderately challenging despite only taking 40 minutes to complete. There is some rocky terrain in sections alongside some mild inclines that push up the difficulty level. Bring some water, and you’ll be fine.
Distance: 1.5 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 64 meters Driving time from Nashville: 1 hour 15 minutes
8. Greeter Falls Loop
Greeter Falls is pretty famous. You’ve probably seen this waterfall before, and its pristine single drop is impossible to forget. To go on an outdoor adventure hiking near Nashville, the Greeter Falls Loop is one of the most photogenic options. You walk through a shaded forest for most of the trail before emerging onto an iconic spiral staircase to get close to Greeter Falls. The hardest part is the elevation gain, but the walk takes approximately an hour and a half.
Distance: 3.2 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 158 meters Driving time from Nashville: 1 hour 30 minutes
9. Hidden Lake
Remember Harpeth River State Park from earlier? Well, it has a second trial you need to know about. The Harpeth Hidden Lake is one of our shortest trails, taking just 25 minutes to complete as a loop. However, it is one of the most scenic trails to hike from Nashville and has a stunning lookout point. With little kids, the ‘hidden aspect’ is also a great source of excitement.
Distance: 1.3 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 14 meters Driving time from Nashville: 20-minute drive
10. Foster Falls Base Trail
Foster Falls is a spectacle to be witnessed up close and personal. The 60-foot waterfall drops into a deep plunge pool below, surrounded by mountain laurels and azaleas. While it is tucked away on the Cumberland Plateau in the South Cumberland State Park, the hike is straightforward. Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts without the energy or fitness level for a long walk.
Distance: 0.6 miles Difficulty: Easy Elevation gain: 47 meters Driving time from Nashville: 1 hour 40 minutes
11. Gorge Overlook Trail
The Gorge Overlook Trail is a circular route in Fall Creek Falls State Park – which should sound familiar since we’ve just covered its other trail, Cane Creek Falls. Instead of whisking you to Cane Creek, this trail takes you on a more challenging natural obstacle course. You’ll find rocky terrain throughout and sections of the trail that require rock climbing. And despite only being a few miles long, it takes around 2 hours to complete thanks to intense elevation gain. But your strenuous efforts are rewarded with dramatic gorge views.
Distance: 3.1 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 217 meters Driving time from Nashville: 2 hours
12. Fiery Gizzard Trail to Raven’s Point
Fiery Gizzard Trail is a celebrity amongst outdoor adventures. This trail even hits lists naming the top hiking trails in the US, a hugely weighty claim in a country full of such iconic hiking trails. Fiery Gizzard Trail comes into its own with its diversity and attractions. There are waterfalls, beautiful swimming holes to dip in, unstable terrain to keep you on your toes, and stunning forest scenery. It is a challenge, but perfect for the ambitious hiker visiting Nashville.
Distance: 11 miles Difficulty: Challenging Elevation gain: 445 meters Driving time from Nashville: 1 hour 30 minutes
13. Jackson Falls Trail
Jackson Falls Trail is a tiny trail that snakes past a series of streams and deep pools before reaching one main plunge pool at the base of the falls. While it takes just 10 minutes to complete, it loops down a steep concrete trail, making it more of a moderate hike than an easy trail. Watch your footing in wet weather since it can get quite slick. But otherwise, don’t bat an eyelid tackling this trail, and bring a picnic to enjoy at the bottom.
Distance: 0.4 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 15 meters Driving time from Nashville: 1 hour
14. Cummins Falls Trail
Dropping 75 feet, Cummins Falls is actually Tennessee’s eighth-largest waterfall. The falls have two significant drops and a beautiful swimming hole at the base, and it is located on the Blackburn Fork River in the 306-acre Cummins Falls State Park. People have been hiking the Cummins Falls Trail for over 100 years to enjoy its swimming hole at the bottom. So if you want to escape the inner-city heat in Nashville, Cummins Falls is a refreshing reward.
Distance: 2.4 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 107 meters Driving time from Nashville: 1 hour 15 minutes
15. Mossy Ridge Trail
Mossy Ridge Trail is in Percy Warner Park, one of the closest parks to Nashville’s city center. The fact that it is situated in Percy Warner Park does not make this an easy trail, though, and you can expect scrambling sections and steep hills to navigate. Mossy Ridge Trail is perfect for a hiker looking to push themselves physically without venturing too far out of Nashville. The highlight of this trail is the optional detour it has to an overlook facing a rocky ridge. There are even little benches to sit down and kick back with a picnic or cold drink.
Distance: 5.1 miles Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 253 meters Driving time from Nashville: 30 minutes
Hikes Near Nashville: FAQs
Hiking near Nashville is incredible – especially with the number of waterfall hikes. Fall Creek Falls, Blue Hole Falls, and Virgin Falls are fantastic waterfall options, just to name a few. In summer, nothing is better than finding a swimming hole or plunge pool for a dip. But what else do you need to know about hiking near Nashville? Check out these essential snippets of information.
Does Nashville Have Good Hiking?
Nashville has excellent hiking trails and is surrounded by hills and waterfalls. Nashville is a fantastic break for beginners and mid-level hikers, with plenty of mid-length and easy-to-moderate trails.
What Are The Closest Hikes to Nashville?
Warner Park is located just outside Nashville city center (20 minutes by car or an hour by bus) and has nine hiking trails. Warner Park has a massive Nature Center where you can pick up trail maps or use Google Maps to guide the way.
What Mountains Are Close to Nashville?
The closest mountains to Nashville are the Great Smoky Mountains. However, the city is mostly surrounded by hills – which are better options for more accessible day trips. The Great Smoky Mountains are 4 hours away from Nashville by car, so we recommend visiting them as part of a long weekend rather than a day trip.
To Conclude: Hikes Near Nashville
Hiking near Nashville, Tennessee, is absolutely sublime. You’ll find stunning hiking trails whether you head to East Nashville or go on a more distant outdoor adventure. It has some of the best hiking in the US, which is no menial feat. Don’t just tick off music attractions and call it a day – carve out time for these 15 best hiking trails in and around Nashville. Hiking trails are the perfect way to balance out the intensity of a city break.
Still, looking for Nashville inspiration? Check out our guide on where to stay in Nashville for the lowdown on the best neighborhoods and hotels. Have a wonderful hiking trip.