The Trails at Radnor Lake

January 8, 2011 in Tennessee Hiking Trails by amylaree

snow hills at radnor lake

snowy dusting at radnor lake

After traveling over 3,000 miles and experiencing our own version of “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, we stayed close to home for our first hike of 2011.  This Saturday in January was the perfect combo of bitter cold and snow — two things that tend to keep most Nashvillians indoors.  Taking advantage of the fact that most folks would be avoiding the 18 degree chill, we bundled up and made our way to one of  Nashville’s most popular outdoors spots, Radnor Lake.

  1. Scenery:  2.5
  2. Difficulty:  2.0
  3. Length:  ~ 3 miles
  4. Dog Friendliness: 0
  5. Convenience:  5
  6. Bonus Funtimes: 2.5


Trail Map:


winter at radnor lake

winter at radnor

Scenery (2.5 out of 5.0): Our hike at Radnor came on a rare snowy morning in Nashville, which gave the trail a nice wintery feel (which was accentuated by the wind chill).  Aside from the standard Tennessee hills and vegetation, the park also features a calm, scenic lake.  This area really is a great retreat and when it’s not crowded with visitors.  It’s easy to forget you’re just a few miles from downtown Nashville.  However, a note of warning:  Radnor is usually teeming with lots, and lots of visitors so the isolated, wilderness’y feeling we had this morning is fairly atypical for the park.

Difficulty (2.0 out of 5.0):  We stayed on a combination of the perimeter trails which gave us a nice variation of hills and level paths along the lakeside.  Starting from the east parking lot, the trek along the Ganier Ridge Trail certainly had enough of a climb to get our heartbeats going, but after that the trails remained fairly easy.

Distance:  About 3 miles

limited activities at radnor lake

Lots of no-no’s at Radnor Lake.

Dog Friendliness (0 out of 5.0):  Radnor was established as a wildlife observation area, so dogs are prohibited on the trails.  There’s also no jogging or biking or off-trail hiking… or picnicking.

Convenience (5.0 out of 5.0):  Located just off of Franklin road between Brentwood and Nashville, this is an easy to access park.

Bonus Funtimes (2.5 out of 5.0):  While Radnor is in the middle of the metro area, Nate and I received quite a treat from the park’s commitment to wildlife preservation.  As we made our way along the South Lake Trail (the South Cove Trail was still closed due to repairs from May’s flooding) we happened upon a deer calmly grazing.  As we stopped to watch the single deer, we soon realized we had happened upon an small herd of deer.  The more we looked around, the more deer we saw, eventually counting at least 10 deer calmly lounging on the hill just yards from us. About 5 minutes later, we ran into a pack of 5 wild turkeys foraging for their Saturday morning treats.  As Nate noted, of all the places we’ve been to in the middle of nowhere, Radnor is where we ran into the most wildlife.

wild turkey at radnor lake

wild turkeys!

deer at radnor lake












This hike and others found in 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Nashville and Hiking Tennessee, get your own copy now from