Best Easy Hikes Near Nashville, Tennessee

Tennessee is such a beautiful state to explore at. It has very beautiful landscape and an abundance of waterfall trails. As a mom I like to find the best trails that are suitable for our two little girls. After having done several of them I have came up with the top kid friendly hikes near Nashville, Tennessee. These hiking trails are anywhere from inside of Nashville to about 2 hours out of Nashville. All of the 12+ trails are easy and perfect for both your kids and baby wearing moms. Plus, they are all absolutely beautiful.

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BURGESS FALLS STATE PARK

Located only about an hour East of Nashville, Tennessee you will find Burgess Falls State Park. This park is well known for Burgess Falls which is absolutely beautiful. However, along the trail you will also find 3 other gorgeous waterfalls that lead up to Burgess Falls. This is a day park so it does close have a closing time but it is a perfect place for a day hike. The trail is short and pretty easy to do. My two little ones (7 and 5 at the time) did both trails without any problems. We did take some small breaks along the trail and once we reached the end of the Base of the Falls Trail we had some snacks and relaxed.

DISTANCE FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: 1hr 16min

READ THE FULL GUIDE TO BURGESS FALLS STATE PARK HERE!

TRAIL MAP

Burgess Falls State Park Nashville Tennessee

RIVER TRAIL

When you arrive to the parking lot you will see the trail head. This is the beginning of the trail which will lead to the Burgess Falls overlook. Once you reach the overlook you will see signs for the second trail. Along this trail you will pass through 4 waterfalls. These include:

  • Falling Water Cascades - a 20 foot cascade.
  • Little Falls - 30 foot upper falls
  • Middle Falls - 80 foot middle falls
  • Burgess Falls - 136 food lower falls

Distance: 0.8 miles (approximately 1.6 mile round trip)

Difficulty Level: easy-moderate

BASE OF FALLS TRAIL

Once you reach the overlook you will see the trail signs directing you to the Base of Falls Trail. Just follow the trail down and enjoy the beautiful views. The stairs to go to the gorge are closed until further notice.

Length: 0.3 miles round trip

Difficulty Level: moderate

READ THE FULL GUIDE TO BURGESS FALLS STATE PARK HERE!

FALL CREEK FALLS STATE PARK

Fall Creek Falls is one of my favorite places to camp and hike at near Nashville, Tennessee. My family and I had the privilege of visiting this state park in May (2019) and immediately fell in love. The trails were mesmerizing. Fall Creek Falls State Park is known for their iconic waterfall called Fall Creek Falls but it is also home to 3 other waterfalls and 1 cascade. The state park also has a lot to offer like fishing, swimming at the pool, kayaking, canoeing and so much more.

READ THE FULL GUIDE TO FALL CREEK FALLS HERE!

TRAIL MAP

DISTANCE FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: 2hr 11min

Fall Creek Falls State Park Tennessee waterfall

FALL CREEK FALLS BASE TRAIL

Fall Creek Falls base trail is a rocky inclined trail that leads to the base of Fall Creek Falls. It is a little rocky in some locations but overall pretty good for kids with good hiking abilities. As for younger ones, I would recommend taking a baby carrier to carry your little one. My youngest (4 at the time) got tired about a fourth of the way back up the trail on our return trip. I didn't think of bringing my baby carrier so we ended up having to alternate between my dad, our friend and myself in carrying her up the mountain. However, my oldest did amazing (7 at the time) and didn't hesitate once. We did take a few small breaks here and there just to help them out.

TRAIL DETAILS

Distance: 0.35 miles one way

Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Fall Creek Falls State Park Tennessee waterfall cascade suspension bridge

CANE CREEK CASCADES - CAMPGROUND SPUR TRAIL

This place is gorgeous. First of all, bring your swimsuit and plan to stay here a good while. Best place to go to for a swim. It is a fairly short hike from campground C and leads directly to the suspension bridge. The only tricky part is going across the suspension bridge. My kids loved it and did well on the bridge but if you have a fear of heights or are not comfortable with crossing it, you can also drive or walk to the Nature Center's parking lot instead.

TRAIL DETAILS

Distance: 0.15 miles one way (suspension bridge is located on this trail).

Difficulty Level: Easy. When you get closer to the suspension bridge and the cascades their will be stairs for you to make your way down.

Fall Creek Falls State Park Tennessee rocky point overlook

ROCKY POINT OVERLOOK

This trail was pretty short as well and fairly easy. However, there is a bluff at the end of the trail and a climb to get to it. It is best to do this if you are baby carrying or if you have older kids. Make sure to always hold their hand. Overall the majority of the trail is pretty easy to hike through and has some very beautiful spots overlooking Fall Creek Falls.

TRAIL DETAILS

Distance: 0.65 miles one way

Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate

READ THE FULL GUIDE TO FALL CREEK FALLS HERE! I have included other trails that you can do, best spot to camp at and much more.

rock island state park tennessee twin falls waterfalls

TWIN FALLS AT ROCK ISLAND STATE PARK

When we went to visit Rock Island State Park we did the Downstream Trail. We started at the parking lot at the end of Powerhouse Road and followed the stairs down to the trail. Once we got to the trail we traveled quiet a bit down the trail making frequent stops to take photos and videos of the waterfall. Twin Falls is mesmerizing and definitely one of my favorite short and easy trails to do in Central Tennessee.

Distance: 1.55 miles loop trail

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

DISTANCE FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: 1hr 43min

READ THE FULL GUIDE TO ROCK ISLAND STATE PARK HERE!

TRAIL MAP

SOUTH CUMBERLAND STATE PARK

I have visited the Savage Gulf side of South Cumberland State Park twice already and it never disappoints. The first time I went was for a father daughter backpacking trip with my dad. The second time was during our trip to Fall Creek Falls. We took a day to go visit Stone Door and Laurel Falls. Overall, the trails are fairly easy but do watch out for bluffs and keep a tight hold on your little ones hands in these areas.

There are four trails that are kid-friendly here that I highly recommend on doing. These include: Laurel Falls Trail, Stone Door Trail, Blue Hole Trail and Greeter Falls. Laurel Falls and Stone Door are both located by the Stone Door ranger station. Greeter falls and Blue Hole however, is located about 5 to 10 minutes up the road from Stone Door. You may pass it on your way here. They are both part of the Savage Gulf area and connect through the backpacking overnight trails but those are 8+ miles and with kids not really suitable for a day hike.

The Savage Gulf area of South Cumberland State Park is located about 1 hour and 40 minutes from Nashville, Tennessee.

READ THE FULL GUIDE TO SOUTH CUMBERLAND STATE PARK HERE!

TRAIL MAP

Laurel Falls Stone Door waterfall over cliff tennessee

LAUREL FALLS TRAIL

You can find the trailhead located right behind the ranger station over at Stone Door. It is a fairly short hike overlooking Laurel Falls. This place is beautiful but it does have stairs which may be slippery. Once you get to the overlook there is a steep drop of area so please hold your little ones hand at all times and be cautious of where you step at and venture off too.

DISTANCE FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: 1hr 44min

Distance: 0.3 miles loop trail

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

stone door state park south cumberland tennessee

STONE DOOR TRAIL

Stone Door Trail is located right next to Laurel Falls Trail by the ranger station. The hike is a little longer than Laurel Falls Trail but definitely worth the trip. On the trail you will find an overlook where you can view Stone Door from. There are benches here where you can sit at making it the perfect break spot.

As you continue on the trail you will reach the bluffs of Stone Door. I recommend being very cautious on this area as there are very steep drop offs here. Personally, I didn't let my kids (at the time 4 and 7 years old) go over there because I was just super nervous. I know how my youngest one is and she has no fear of heights. Let's put it this way. I am that mom that is flying across the playground trying to catch my daughter as she is in mid air yelling, "Catch me mommy!" However, my dad and stepmom did watch them while we took turns going to check out the views.

There were older kids, and even some younger than mines, that were on the bluff area so it is completely a personal preference. It is a beautiful trail though and I still highly recommend it.

Distance: 0.9 miles one way

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

DISTANCE FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: 1hr 44min

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GREETER FALLS

This place is absolutely beautiful. The falls has two waterfalls. The main one is Greeter Falls which is very popular but it also has an upper falls which is right on the trail leading up to Greeter Falls. This location is slightly closer to the Nashville, Tennessee area by 10 minutes which is not bad in distance. Perfect for a day hike as well. The trail has some areas which are incline in elevation and towards the end of the trail you will find a large spiral staircase that climbs down to the gorge of the waterfall.

Distance: 0.8 miles one way approximately

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

DISTANCE FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: 1hr 35 min

blue hole greeter falls creek river passing by boulders rocks clear water

BLUE HOLE TRAIL

From the parking lot at Greeter Falls you will see signs at the trailhead leading to Greeter or Blue Hole Trail. Blue Hole is an easier and shorter trail. My dad and I did this one first before heading down to Greeter Falls. It is approximately 0.4 miles each way and it leads to the creek which has some very lovely views. It was pretty secluded when we went so we had the entire place to ourselves.

Distance: 0.4 miles one way approximately

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

DISTANCE FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: 1hr 35 min

READ THE FULL GUIDE TO SOUTH CUMBERLAND STATE PARK HERE!

cummins falls state park nashville tennessee waterfall

CUMMINS FALLS STATE PARK

Cummins Falls State Park is a stunning place as well. The gorgeous waterfalls are known all across the south for it's beauty. However, they are also known for flash floods. According to their website, their are a lot of requirements to take the trail to the gorge of the falls but there is still another trail called Falls Overlook Trail which is easy and safe to take. This trail leads to the Cummins Falls overlook which is equally as beautiful. I recommend checking their website here for safety details.

**Please note that these safety details are to go down to the gorge. The trail details below are for Falls Overlook Trail. 

Distance: 0.45 miles one way

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

TRAIL MAP

DISTANCE FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: 1hr 19min

READ THE FULL GUIDE TO CUMMINS FALLS STATE PARK HERE!

HARPETH RIVER STATE PARK

Harpeth River State Park is fairly close to Nashville, Tennessee. It is located right on the outskirts of Nashville making it the perfect quick hike in the middle of your Nashville adventures. The Harpeth River State Park is a historical site which you can read more about on my guide here. This state park has two trails to offer. Both are short, beautiful, and perfect for kids.

DISTANCE FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: 20min

TRAIL MAP

READ THE FULL GUIDE TO HARPETH RIVER STATE PARK HERE!

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TUNNEL TRAIL

The first trail we did was Tunnel Trail. This led us to the "waterfall." It is a man made tunnel that connects this side of the mountain to the Harpeth River. It looks like a small waterfall.

Distance: 0.4 miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Easy

harpeth river state park mountain bluff nashville tennessee

BLUFF TRAIL

The Bluff Trail is located close to the trailhead of the Tunnel Trail. It is slightly longer by 0.1 miles and leads to the top of the mountain ridge overlooking the beautiful Harpeth River. It is an elevation gain so your little ones may need a little help in some of the places but overall it is fairly  easy to do. My two kiddos (3 and 5 at the time) did this hike with no problems. Please keep a close eye on them and hold hands when you are at the bluffs. Can you tell that kids around heights scare me a bit?

Distance: 0.5 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

lake mountain trees view radnor lake nashville tennessee

RADNOR LAKE STATE PARK

Radnor Lake is my favorite place to go to for an easy paved trail. They have multiple trails here and all are easy and short, perfect for day hikes as well. Radnor Lake State Park is located in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the perfect escape from the city without leaving the city. This state park is known as a wildlife refuge and it is a photographers favorite spot in Nashville to take photos of wildlife. All of the trails here take you around the lake which has turtles, beavers, ducks, all sorts of birds and even deer roaming around it.

**I didn't put the distance because all of the trails are fairly short no longer then 1.4 miles.

DISTANCE FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: 20min

TRAIL MAP

READ THE FULL GUIDE TO RADNOR LAKE STATE PARK HERE!

dunbar cave state park lake views fall autumn trees clarksville tennessee

DUNBAR CAVE STATE PARK

Dunbar Cave State Park is one of my favorite parks in Clarksville, Tennessee. This lovely location is home to a historical cave that once was a used to hold concerts. Can you imagine going to a concert at the entrance of a cave? How cool is that. The trails here go around the cave. There are two trails. The short loop and the Recovery Trail. The short loop trail cuts through the Recovery trail. There is also a Lake trail which is also fairly short. The park is only opened during the day time so all trails are easy and short enough for you to do during the day. The trail map (linked below) will give you a better overview of the trails. A few new trails have been added in the last year along with some renovations.

Also, if you visit the park during the summer months you can purchase tickets to do the cave tour.

DISTANCE FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: 45min

TRAIL MAP

READ THE FULL GUIDE TO DUNBAR CAVE STATE PARK HERE!

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PACKING TIPS FOR WHEN HIKING WITH KIDS

If you are looking for a few packing tips for when you go hiking with you kids then these two articles are perfect for you. I have created these guides according to the things that I have learned during the years with hiking with my own two little girls. Hope they can benefit you so you can hike safely and prepared.

LEAVE NO TRACE, ONLY FOOTPRINTS

When visiting the outdoors it is always important to follow and practice Leave No Trace Principles. These principles are very important in conserving our planet and minimizing your impact while exploring the world around you. You can learn more on how you can practice LNT principles here.

RELATED ARTICLE: Top 5 Kid Friendly Hikes In Oahu, Hawaii. 

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After traveling across central Tennessee for the last few years, I have grown to really love the mountains and overabundance of waterfall hiking trails that Tennessee has to offer. They are all so beautiful yet so unique. The landscape here is very pretty too with a lot of diversity. As far as my top favorite state parks to visit it would have to be Fall Creek Falls, Burgess Falls, Rock Island, and South Cumberland. Those are my all time favorites. Have you been to any of the state parks mentioned above? If so, which ones are your favorite and why? 

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