My Favorite Nashville Hikes
Don't get me wrong -- I love California, and I love San Diego. San Diego is beautiful and sunny! I live at the beach; I can't complain too much.
But, in the last week, I have really missed Nashville. It hasn't helped that my TimeHop is filled with posts about returning to Nashville...and my Instagram feed is full of pictures of my sorority sisters back on campus. I knew I would miss Vanderbilt, but I truly didn't expect to miss it this much. It's almost unbearable. I miss the excitement of a new school year, seeing my friends, and romping around Demonbreun and Broadway. I somehow even miss the sweaty humidity.
You know what else I miss? I miss the lush greenery. As you may know, California is going through a really bad drought. Sure, I'm sad about my really short showers, but mostly, I'm sad because everything has become so incredibly brown. Hiking just is not quite the same without so many shades of green and the sound of leaves rustling all around you.
This week, my heart has been in Tennessee, exploring the city, campus, and all the green places. In honor of everyone starting back up at Vanderbilt and to feed my nostalgia, here are my favorite hikes. If you're in Nashville, don't forget to explore these places (so I can live vicariously through you). They're just a quick jaunt away from downtown, but you feel like you're transported to another place entirely!
1. Radnor Lake - Lake Trail & Ganier Ridge
Radnor Lake is just a short 15-20 minute drive from the heart of Nashville. This beautiful lake is surrounded my lush trees and plants and tons of wildlife. Every time I have gone here, I've seen tons of deer (aw) and tons of turkeys (yuck). I typically start on the Lake Trail and take the Ganier Ridge trail on my way back. The Lake Trail is fairly flat and makes for a nice walk. The Ganier Ridge trail is a bit more challenging because of the steep uphill, but when you arrive to the plateau and downhill it becomes worth it. It's quiet and beautiful. I usually take some time to sit on the benches up there and reflect and relax. It's a beautiful escape, a nice walk, and a perfect place to see some wildlife. Plus, it's all shaded and can be a nice relief from the hot Nashville sun.
2. Percy Warner Park - Mossy Ridge Trail
I love Percy Warner Park! There's so, so many trails in this park, but my favorite is the Mossy Ridge Trail. Percy Warner is just a short 15 minute drive up West End on to Highway 100. The Deep Well trailhead can be a bit tricky to find (or I'm just very directionally challenged), but after that, the trail is well-marked. The trail is beautiful, but my favorite time to go is fall, right when the leaves are changing. The trail is almost 5 miles. It's moderately challenging, with a good amount of uphill on uneven dirt. This trail made me fully fall in love with Tennessee. It's just so beautiful--I can't write anything to do it justice!
3. Cummins Falls
I finally made my way to Cummins Falls in Cookeville, TN after graduating. I made a trip back to Tennessee in June, and I headed out for a nice hike and swim with two of my best friends! The hike was fairly short and required a lot of river crossings (be prepared to get your shoes wet). The hike ended at a big natural swimming hole, which was beautiful. We hopped right in and swam around until we reached the big rocks and waterfall. It was a bit slippery getting up (watch out), but so fun and so peaceful sitting behind the waterfall! This hike is definitely worth the drive, but don't forget the sunscreen (and snacks)!