From early settler life to the Trail of Tears to the Civil War, Tennessee has played a pivotal role in American history. Visit the state’s historic hiking and walking trails as a way to immerse yourself in nature and the country’s history.
Here are five popular hiking trails where you can peer into Tennessee’s past.
The Trail of Tears
In the 1830s, thousands of Cherokee were relocated from the Southeast to Oklahoma. Much of this storied trail goes through Tennessee and has become a National Historic Trail with hikes, museums and other centers to observe this time in history. Meticulously recorded and memorialized by the National Park Service, over a dozen locations throughout Tennessee offer visitors a unique look into this 2,000-mile journey.
Visit the National Park Service’s website for an interactive map, directions and more.
Davy Crockett State Park Trail Segment
This trail is located in David Crockett State Park near Lawrenceburg, just north of U.S. Highway 64. Take a hike through more than two miles of the original Bell Route. Afterward, stop by the park’s museum to learn more about the trail, as well as famous frontiersman Davy Crockett, who lived in this area from 1817 to 1821.
To plan your trip, visit the Tennessee State Park’s website for upcoming events, maps and camping information.
Red Clay State Historic Park
Located outside of Cleveland in Bradley County, this 260-acre park contains a visitor center and a variety of hiking trails. In the center of the park, replicas of old Cherokee buildings are preserved for visitors to see what it was like to work in barns, farmhouses and council houses during the 19th century. This park features Blue Hole Spring, a natural landmark once used by the Cherokees as a water supply for council meetings.
Visit the Tennessee State Park’s website to plan your hike.
Avery Trace Trail
Hike the Avery Trace Trail and follow the path the early settlers took from Knoxville to Nashville in the last 1700s. Many notable people traveled along the trail, including President Andrew Jackson, Judge John McNairy, and General William Davidson. Stop by the visitor center located in the Trousdale County Courthouse in Hartsville to learn more about its history.
Visit Tennessee Vacation to learn more.
Johnsonville State Historic Park
If you are interested in the Civil War, you will enjoy Johnsonville State Historic Park, a 2,000-acre park that commemorates many of the war’s major events. During the Civil War, Johnsonville was the location of a supply depot that played a major role in arming Union troops. Attacked in 1864, the town was rebuilt into a thriving area after the war. It eventually became a historic park featuring fortifications and parts of Fort Johnson that are now open to visitors. Enjoy hiking with more than 10 miles of trails.
Get ready to explore Tennessee’s Civil War history by visiting the Tennessee State Park’s website.
These are just a few historic Tennessee hiking trails. Located across the state, there are easily accessible trails available throughout the year. Pick one to explore for your next outing, and truly immerse yourself in local history.
For more information about other hikes near you, check out the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
Let us know what trails you plan to explore this year or if there are others we should add to our list!
Most outdoor activities have some level of risk, and you may need to consult an expert before engaging in the activity. Always check the current weather conditions before embarking on any outdoor activity.