Free hikes planned at state parks for National Trails Day

Staff Reports • Updated May 27, 2018 at 4:00 PM

NASHVILLE – Tennessee State Parks will celebrate National Trails Day and kick off Great Outdoors Month on June 2 with free guided hikes at all 56 parks.

The variety of events includes ranger-led day hikes, night hikes, history hikes, nature hikes and trail cleanup hikes. With more than 1,000 miles to explore, ranging from easy, paved trails to rugged backcountry trails to scenic waterways, there will be something for everyone.

A ranger-led hike will take place at Cedars of Lebanon State Park on June 2 at 1 p.m. on Hidden Springs Trail. It will be a 4.2-mile easy to moderately difficult hike through gently contoured mixed woodlands. The hike will feature views of sinkholes, and dry creekbeds interspersed with several cedar glades. All participants should meet at the trailhead by 1 p.m. with sturdy shoes and plenty of water. For more information, call 615-443-2769 or email [email protected]

Each year, Long Hunter State Park celebrates National Trails Day with a volunteer project to help beautify the park and trails. On June 2 from 8 a.m. until noon, Friends of Long Hunter State Park will participate with Long Hunter State Park at Bryant’s Grove to maintain and enhance features on Jones Mill Mountain Bike Trail. The expansion of the trail system was funded by a grant. Lots of hands will be needed to cut brush and correct drainage issues. There will be ample work for all ages.  Snacks and hydration will be provided, but participants may want to bring extra water in a reusable water bottle. Volunteers should bring work gloves and wear long pants, as well as closed-toed shoes. Anyone with an extra steel-toothed rake or garden hoe should bring that along, as well. Any participant with bee sting allergies should bring an Epipen.

Participants should meet at 8 a.m. at Jones Mill Mountain Bike Trail at 9933 Barnett Road in Mt. Juliet. For more information, call 615-885-2422. There will be a group ride following the workday at 1 p.m.

Friends of Long Hunter State Park meets the first Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. at the park office. Visit friendsoflonghunter.com for more information and an exception to June’s meeting time.

“We are grateful to Gov. [Bill] Haslam for making Tennessee the first state to proclaim June as Great Outdoors Month in 2018,” said Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. “These hikes recognize the important individual and community benefits of getting outside, including better health, economic infusion for local communities and appreciation and stewardship of our public lands.”

Since 1993, the American Hiking Society has set aside the first Saturday in June as National Trails Day, which brings together outdoor enthusiasts to participate in educational exhibits, trail dedications, gear demonstrations, instructional workshops and trail projects. 

A list of all National Trails Day hikes at Tennessee State Parks may be found at tnstateparks.com/about/special-events/national-trails-day-hikes.

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