Are you planning on visiting the western section of Tennessee this summer? If so, you'll want to contemplate packing your bug spray, sun block and hiking boots. Based on my experience, there are several great hiking destinations located in the area. Here's a quick look at a handful of them:
Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park
Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park is located in Benton County. It offers more than 20 miles of summer hiking trails. I like the park because it is considered part of the Civil War Discovery Trail. Leisurely trekkers may want to contemplate taking the 1 mile long Pafford Wilson Trail. Stalwart hikers, on the other hand, may prefer the 5 mile long Orange Trail. Park highlights include Kentucky Lake and Pilot Knob.
Natchez Trace State Park
Natchez Trace State Park is located in Henderson County. It offers more than 26 miles of trails. Casual hikers may enjoy the Cub Lake Trail or the Pin Oak Trail. Each one offers lake views. Hikers seeking a challenge should consider exploring the Red Leaves Trail. Flora and fauna hikers are apt to encounter include wildflowers, turquoise bluet and Halloween pennant.
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park is located in Shelby County. It features more than 18 miles of hiking trails. I'd suggest that hikers consider taking the 8 mile long Chickasaw Bluff Trail and the 3 mile long Woodland Trail. It's a super spot to bird watch. Fortunate hikers may catch sight of blue gray gnatcatchers, indigo buntings, summer tanagers and downy woodpeckers. Other park highlights include stands of wild blue phlox, muscadines, wild ginger and dogwood trees.
Big Hill Pond State Park
Big Hill Pond State Park is located in McNairy County. It features a whopping 30 miles of summer trails. I'd suggest that hikers consider taking the Turkey Call Trail or the Azalea Spring Trail. There is an observation tower along the way that offers great views of the Dismal Swamp and Travis McNatt Lake. Additional park highlights include remnants of old structures as well as wildlife viewing opportunities. Creatures to look out for are minks, widow skimmers, citrine forktails and blue-tipped dancers.
Reelfoot Lake State Park
Reelfoot Lake State Park is located in Lake County. It features several miles of trails that offer superlative bird watching opportunities. The area is considered a stop on the Mississippi Flyway. Birds on offer include Mississippi kites, Swainson's warblers, brown creepers, swamp sparrows and golden eagles. I'd suggest that hikers consider taking the Airpark Trail and the Black Bayou Trail.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation. She has also traveled extensively.
More from this contributor: