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6 Family-Friendly Tennessee Hiking Trails

kids on a hike in Tennessee

Spending an afternoon walking in the woods is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with your family, but children may have trouble navigating the rough terrain found on many trails. Fortunately, many hiking trails in Tennessee are suitable for small children.

These six trails will let your family discover Tennessee’s natural beauty without pushing kids too far.

Lakeside Trail

Location: Bays Mountain Park

Lakeside Trail offers a picturesque view of the lake and moderate inclines that should prove easy for young hikers to navigate. Along the 2.3-mile loop trail, you can view wildlife, including songbirds, waterfowl, beavers and maybe even deer. The start and end of the trail are close to the Nature Center and animal habitats, where your family can discover even more about the region’s flora and fauna.

Kephart Prong Trail

Location: Great Smoky Mountains State Park

Children can learn about the history of the Great Smoky Mountains while exploring this 4-mile ascent. See remnants of an old logging railway and signs of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp, where men who worked in the park lived from 1933-1942. Wildlife, including salamanders, can be found along the stream. You’ll also see wildflowers in the spring as well as non-native species, like yucca and boxwood, planted by the CCC.

Glen Falls Trail, Lookout Mountain

Location: Lookout Mountain

Kids will have a great time exploring this scenic trail. Located just outside downtown

Chattanooga, Glen Falls Trail boasts a waterfall, boulders, creek and wooden bridge—all in less than two-mile round trip. Make sure to pass through the rock tunnel to explore the creek above the falls and catch some beautiful views of the Chattanooga valley. To get to the trailhead from downtown, drive south on Ochs Highway. The turn-off is located less than a mile after the intersection with Sanders Road.

Discovery Trail, T.O. Fuller State Park

Location: T.O. Fuller State Park

In the 1940s, a prehistoric village was discovered here. Known as the Chucalissa Indian Village, its remains are visible today at the T.O. Fuller State Park. The 4-mile Discovery Trail circles the village and gives you a glimpse of the Native American village and the surrounding wetlands. The park is open year-round and dogs are allowed.

Discover more trails Tennessee has to offer.

Loop Trail

Location: Bells Bend Park and Outdoor Center

Just 30 minutes from downtown Nashville, Bells Bend Park is tucked neatly into a curve in the Cumberland River. The landscape provides an easy 2.3-mile stroll through rolling meadows filled with wildflowers. There are several trailheads in the park. You can pick up a map at the outdoor center. The center maintains limited hours, so check before you go to make sure the restrooms will be open.

Nature Loop

Location: Edwin Warner Park

A short 0.75-mile loop takes you through a serene landscape filled with learning opportunities. Twenty stops point out trees and other natural features of the park. If it’s rained recently, your kids may enjoy playing in the creek that runs along the trail. Don’t forget to tell them the trail is part of the Old Natchez Trace, an ancient footpath used by Native Americans.

Take your family for a walk in the woods on child-friendly hiking trails in Tennessee. Fresh air, exercise and quality time together make for an excellent outdoor adventure.

Where are your favorite places to hike with your family? Let us know in the comments below.

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.

Chelsea Adams

Chelsea Adams

A former newspaper journalist, Chelsea Adams is a freelance writer specializing in health, wellness and lifestyles topics. A native Tennessean, she makes her home in Kansas with her husband and two daughters. Learn more about her transition from the mountains to the prairie at http://wichitawesome.blogspot.com.

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