With all the superlative, summer hiking destinations on offer in Middle Tennessee, it can be challenging to select just one for exploration. Some of the trails are rich in history and cultural significance. Other trails feature unique geological formations, abundant wildlife and scenic views. With that said, here's a quick look at a few spots that are worthy of consideration:
South Cumberland State Park
South Cumberland State Park is partially located in Grundy County. It features miles of incredible, summer trails. Just be sure to bring plenty of potable water, bug spray and a rain poncho with you. I'd recommend that seasoned hikers contemplate trekking the 5 mile long Buggytop Trail. If offers opportunities for cave exploration, wildflower photography and enjoying panoramic views.
Pickett State Park
Pickett State Park is located in Fentress County. It features more than 50 miles of trails. Hikers enamored by fragrant rhododendron, waterfalls, plunge pools and towering rock formations may want to give the Hidden Passage Trail a try. I'd also recommend the 2.5 mile long Hazard Cave Trail.
Fall Creek Falls
Fall Creek Falls is partially located in Bledsoe County. It features more than 30 miles of trails and over 60 different waterfalls. If you ask me, you don't get much better than that. Hikers seeking challenging terrain and respite from the heat may want to consider exploring the Fall Creek Falls Trail. Highlights include the waterfall, a plunge pool, shady spots and Fall Creek Gorge. Hikers that still have the energy may want to contemplate exploring the Cable Trail as well. It is another sweat breaker.
Rock Island State Park
Rock Island State Park is located in Warren County. It features more than 9 miles of summer trails and waterfalls. Hikers looking to "feel the burn" in their leg muscles should consider trekking the Blue Hole Trail. The big payoff is the scenery. Other area highlights include the remnants of old structures, cemeteries, bird watching opportunities and Bone Cave.
Burgess Falls State Park
Burgess Falls State Park is located in Putnam County. It features more than 2 miles of trails and four waterfalls. In my opinion, the last waterfall is the best. It generates spray and a breeze that are quite refreshing on a hot summer's day. I'd definitely recommend that hikers wear proper footwear. The metal stairs located next to the last waterfall can get slippery. Additional park highlights include a butterfly garden, wildflowers and the Ridgetop Trail Overlook. The overlook is a great spot to enjoy an impromptu repast.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation. She has also traveled extensively.
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