Couchville Lake Trail at Long Hunter State Park

April 22, 2013 in Tennessee Hiking Trails

Couchville Lake Trail

Couchville Lake Trail

Springtime has finally arrived and it’s time to get back on the trails. This was our first time “hiking” since little E was born in January, so we chose Couchville Lake Trail at Long Hunter State Park, a quick and easy hiking trail just outside of Nashville.

  1. Scenery:  2.0
  2. Difficulty:  0
  3. Length:  2.0 miles
  4. Dog Friendly Factor: 0
  5. Convenience:  5
  6. Bonus Funtimes: 3.0

Trail Map:

 

Screen shot 2013-04-22 at 4.26.26 PM

Lots of quiet spots for fishing or just relaxing along the paved trail at Couchville Lake.

Scenery (2.0 out of 5.0): Couchville Lake Trail makes for a nice, if uneventful, day out in nature. The terrain is completely flat and paved – a bonus if you’re carting a long a stroller (as we saw quite a few folks doing). The trail loops through Tennessee’s first state-certified arboretum in a State Park and there are markings along the paved path that identify different types of trees. This trail would make a good starting point for anyone interested in learning how to identify different tree types. Here’s a guide to identifying the trees along the Couchville Lake Trail.

There are some nice views of the small lake and quite a few places to stop and enjoy the quiet scenery, including benches and short fishing piers. The tall trees provide a great canopy for about 85% of the time on the trail… looking up at the tall trees and leaves was very entertaining for our little guy. This trail seemed to be a great intro for his entry into the outdoors :)

Difficulty (0 out of 5): This trail truly could not be any easier. The flat path is completely paved and well maintained, which kind of makes it a stretch to call this a “hike” but it is a nice spot for a walk in the woods. Cyclists and skaters are prohibited – basically anything with wheels (except strollers and wheelchairs) are prohibited, making it much more relaxing than some other busy trails in the area. We saw quite a few joggers – this is a great, easy spot for a short run.

The trailhead for the Lake Trail is very close to the Bryant Grove Trail. If you’d like to add some distance on to your hike, combine these two trails for a 10 trek.

Little E pondering Couchville Lake Trail.

Babies welcomed at Couchville Lake Trail, but not doggies.

Length: 2 miles

Dog Friendly Factor (0 out of 5.0): Dogs are prohibited at Couchville Lake Trail. There are several signs and the area is well patrolled by the park rangers, so it’s best to leave the pups at home for this day outdoors.

Convenience (5.0 out of 5.0): Couchville Lake is right next to Percy Priest Lake, making it a quick and easy trip. Entry to Couchville Lake area is well marked and just down the road from the Volunteer Day Loop trail.

Bonus Funtimes (3.5 out of 5.0): Bonus Funtimes is where Couchville Lake excels. There’s a pavillion for cookouts and parties, lots of great spots for fishing, a nice sized playground for the kiddos, the arboretum guide and small boats are available for rent during the summertime months.

Abrams Falls at Smoky Mountain National Park

July 25, 2012 in Tennessee Hiking Trails

Abrams Falls Trailhead

Abrams Falls Trailhead

Abrams Falls Trail

We kicked off our trip to the Smoky Mountains with a trek along the very popular Abrams Falls Trail. Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited national park in the country and this trail certainly ranks among the most crowded that we’ve hiked. While it was crowded, this moderately difficult trail led us to the impressive Abrams Falls and swimming hole.

  1. Scenery:  3.5
  2. Difficulty:  3.0
  3. Length:  5.0 miles
  4. Dog Friendly Factor: 3.0
  5. Convenience:  1.5
  6. Bonus Funtimes: 5.0
Trail Map:

 

Abrams Creek

Abrams Creek

Scenery (3.5 out of 5.0): The Abrams Falls trailhead starts off at a bucolic setting along Abrams Creek. The creekside views are almost continual throughout the hike. As we hiked along the dirt path, the laurels were in bloom, which made it all the more scenic. The highest point along the trail provides a lovely view of the surrounding area.

While the rest of the trail provides some idyllic scenes, the main event comes with the arrival to Abrams Falls. While Abrams Fall is only 20′ tall, the volume of the falls is tremendous. The pool that forms at the base of the falls makes for a great swimming hole that was filled with people of all ages. If you can get around the crowds to the base of the falls there are some large boulders that are perfect for soaking up the sun and enjoying the roar of the falls.

Base of Abrams Falls

Gorgeous Abrams Falls

Difficulty (3.0 out of 5.0): While the pathway is well maintained and the footing is very easy, there are a couple of good climbs during this 5 mile trek – an elevation change of about 1,800 feet. There were people of all ages on this trail – lots of kids who seemed in pretty good spirits on the way to the falls, but were definitely dragging on the ascent back up the highest ridge. While the end result of the trail is a beautiful, family friendly swimming hole, flip flops and strollers are not suggested for the 2.5  hike to get there.

Abrams Falls Trail Crowds

Hikers in drove to Abrams Falls

Length: 5.0 miles

Dog Friendly Factor (0 out of 5.0): Dogs are not allowed on trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so the pups stayed at home this day.

Convenience (2.0 out of 5.0): The trailhead for the Abrams Falls is about 4 hours from Nashville and located at the far end of the drive through Cade’s Cove. It’s an easy drive and readily accessible, just a ways away from Middle Tennessee.

Bonus Funtimes (5.0 out of 5.0): Aside from the awesome swimming hole at the base of Abrams Falls, you will certainly find plenty of ways to be entertained while at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are dozens of campgrounds and seemingly hundreds of trails. If lazing on the river is your preference, there are plenty of tubing outfitters and a few kayaking spots.

Weekend Destination – June 22, 2012

June 22, 2012 in Tennessee Hiking Trails

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

The MMT crew is going camping! We don’t get to camp as much as we would like, but this weekend we will be heading out to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park for 2 days of camping and hiking. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park came into being in the mid 1920′s and is now the most visited National Park in the country. The park has over 800 miles of hiking trails traversing its more than 500,000 acres, including the Appalachian Trail.

We’ll be doing 2 of the trails, the Alum Cave Bluff Trail and Abrams Falls Trail. This will give us an opportunity to check out some great views and a beautiful waterfall. Since we’ll be camping, we’ll be making some delicious camp food, so make sure you check back for our new, yummy Camping Recipes.

Where are you headed this weekend?

Weekend Destination – May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012 in Georgia Hiking Trails

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means 3 days for getting out on the trails and enjoying the great outdoors. It’s going to be a hot one here in Middle Tennessee, so we’ll be heading to the mountains in search of slightly cooler weather to hike in. Our plans this weekend take us to the Chattanooga area and Cloudland Canyon State Park on Lookout Mountain. Our main objective will be the West Rim Loop Trail, but we’ll probably check out the Waterfalls Trail, too.

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer season, and prime hiking season. Our friends over at Meanderthals remind us to stay safe with a great post with advice from the Forest Service. Check it out, stay safe, and most importantly, have fun on the trail.

Where are you headed this weekend?

Cloudland Canyon

 

Gorge Overlook Trails at Fall Creek Falls

May 22, 2012 in Tennessee Hiking Trails

fall creek falls turkey pen ridge trailhead

Our Trailhead at Fall Creek Falls

As Nate wrote in his weekend preview, we headed out to the scene of the great Ezra freakout of ’09. Unsure if Ezra’s puppy-PTSD would cause doggy flashbacks, we planned to avoid all Fall Creek Falls bridge-riddled trails by hitting up the Turkey Pen Ridge and Woodland trails. Surely that would make this outing to Fall Creek Falls more successful than the last time, right? In theory, yes. But Mother Nature had other plans for our day…

  1. Scenery:  2.5
  2. Difficulty:  2.0
  3. Length:  1.9 miles
  4. Dog Friendly Factor: 5.0
  5. Convenience:  1.5
  6. Bonus Funtimes: 5.0

Trailhead35.65827 -85.35617

Scenery (2.5 out of 5.0): This trail is heavily shaded with typical Tennessee foliage and has a three key overlooks, so we thought this hike would provide several good spots to catch glimpses of the falls and gorge below. Unfortunately the scenic overlooks were a little disappointing. There is a very nice view of the Cane Creek Falls at the last overlook that we were able to enjoy, but the views from the other overlooks were fairly obscured by thick springtime foliage.

Cane Creek Falls at Fall Creek Falls

Cane Creek Falls at Fall Creek Falls

Difficulty (2.0 out of 5.0): Overall this trail is mostly flat, but does have a few slight elevation gains… especially when coming up from the overlooks. The earthen trail is well-kept but strewn with large rocks and tree roots, so be sure to keep an eye on your footing. Overall this trail is very accessible for everyone.

Length: 1.9 miles (it took us about 45 minutes with stops at the overlooks)

Fall Creek Falls swimming hole

Popular swimming hole at Fall Creek Falls

Dog Friendly Factor (4.0 out of 5.0): This was a fun and easy trail for the dogs. There is one overlook that isn’t terribly conducive for maneuvering the dogs, but other than that we didn’t have any troubles… with the terrain, that is.

Have we ever mentioned that besides freaking out on bridges, Ezra also has a massive issue with that wet stuff that falls from the sky? Yes, I’m talking about rain and boy did Mother Nature try to give us a wallop. We were about 1/2  a mile away from the car when distant thunder turned into big fat rain drops. The trees provided an umbrella-canopy from the early sprinkles, but the skies opened in earnest about 1/4 mile from the car. That’s when we started running.

fall creek falls rain and hail

How our day ended at Fall Creek Falls

With Ezra sprinting his heart out, we made it to the car without getting too drenched and just before the hail started. Needless to say, our day at Fall Creek Falls ended earlier than expected, but Ezra didn’t seem to mind!

Convenience (1.5 out of 5.0): At 100 miles+ from Nashville, plan an entire day for this outing.

Bonus Funtimes (5.0 out of 5.0): Fall Creek Falls is one of Tennessee’s most popular state parks for good reason. There’s hiking, biking, camping, swimming, fishing and a whole host of family friendly activities.

 


This hike and others found in Hiking Tennessee, get your own copy now from amazon.com.