Hiking in October and November can be severely underrated – folks seem to hang up their hiking boots post-September, and we just don’t understand why. Here in Tennessee, hiking during the spring and fall is probably the best time to be out and about, so we pulled together a solid list of places that will fulfill your leaf peeping dreams.
11. Fall Creek Falls Trail - Fall Creek Falls State Park
Located in Spencer, Tennessee, the Fall Creek Falls trail gives you gorgeous views of one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state. It clocks in at 3 miles round trip, but make sure that you come prepared for some intense incline. The trail is considered to be of moderate difficulty.
10. Alum Cave Bluff - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Alum Cave Bluff will take you about three hours to finish up, coming in at about 4.6 miles as a whole. You can even continue for another three miles to make it up to Mt. LeConte, which is one of the highest peaks in Tennessee.
9. Honey Creek Loop - Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
This Knoxville-based trail is pretty intense, at 5.6 miles through with some solidly rugged terrain. We'd only recommend the most experienced hikers make this trek, since it's very difficult and there are very few signs to mark the way. Still - the scenery is unlike any other, especially in the autumn.
8. Burgess Falls Trail - Burgess Falls State Park
This is one of the most difficult hikes on the list, even though it is only 1.5 miles 'round trip. The hike is steep and there are some high cliffs to be careful of, but a view of the 136-foot waterfall is absolutely worth it.
7. Eagle Point Overlook Trail - Mousetail Landing State Park
Eagle Point is pretty long, at 8.1 miles near Linden, Tennessee. It runs alongside the river and can be used as an overnight trail. You can also just camp out at the nearby campsites in Mousetail Landing State Park.
6. Mossy Ridge Trail - Percy Warner Park
The Warner Parks in Nashville are wildly popular amongst the young folk, and many have a soft spot for the 4.5 mile hiking loop in Percy Warner. Taylor Swift is a known fan, which means you'll be walking in the steps of a global superstar as you pick your way over tree roots and fight a few steep inclines.
5. Caney Fork Gorge - Rock Island State Park
At 1.7 miles, this easy hike is perfect for a meandering Saturday out of the house. You'll come across a handful of great fishing spots and get to enjoy the view of multiple waterfalls throughout the course of your hike. It's easy, so feel free to bring a group!
4. Radnor Lake South Trail - Radnor Lake
Radnor Lake has a two and a half mile loop that is well trafficked by Nashvillians and wildlife alike. Take the lake loop to indulge in a morning of quiet and natural beauty of Middle Tennessee
3. Sewanee Perimeter Trail - South Cumberland State Park
The entire Sewanee Perimeter trail is twenty miles long (yikes!), so you'll probably want to come and just wander bits and pieces of it. Thankfully, there are ten smaller routes that are perfect for those looking to walk a shorter distance. It's also a popular spot for trail runners and mountain bikers, so keep that in mind.
2. Stanky Creek Trail - Nesbit Park
This 6.5 mile hike is an out-and-back trail that's located in Bartlett, Tennessee. Other than the quirky name, this moderate hike boasts beautiful wildflowers and year-round access.
1. Laurel Falls Trail - Great Smoky Mountain National Park
It's only 2.6 miles and long and considered to be an "easy" hike, and we have to agree - there's nothing better than low incline that ends in a gorgeous waterfall. This popular trail is paved, which makes it fabulous for families. If you can get over the intense incline for the first bit of time, of course.