Ten Must-See Fall Foliage Spots in Middle Tennessee
Whether you hike, bike, canoe or drive, Middle Tennessee has dazzling fall foliage displays coming soon to a spot near you. There are so many gorgeous locales it’s tough to limit myself to only ten places to head for a taste of fall eye candy but these should whet your appetite.
Without further ado, here are my favorite fall foliage spots in no particular order:
1) Radnor Lake State Park is a jewel of a Day Use Area with a handsome lake that reflects the changing seasons and several nice hiking trails with views the lake, migrating birds and resident wildlife that finds refuge here.
2) The Natchez Trace Parkway offers opportunities to admire fall foliage around nearly every turn whether you’re two-wheeling, four-wheeling, on foot or on horseback. The spectacular view from the bridge at Birdsong Hollow about 12 miles south is one of the highlights near Nashville.
3) The drive east on TN 25 from Gallatin through Castilian Springs follows the historic Avery Trace, the main route from Knoxville to Nashville prior to the 1830s. Take TN 52 to Red Boiling Springs, at one time Tennessee’s premier mineral springs resort. It is still known for its five kinds of mineral waters and three historic hotels. The Thomas House schedules ghost hunt weekends but you might think you’ve died and gone to heaven after your hot mineral bath and relaxing massage at Armour’s Hotel.
4) Continue east to Pall Mall and the beautiful, beloved Wolf River Valley of Sgt. Alvin C. York. Both the home and York family gristmill are open to the public.
5) Ten miles away as-the-crow-flies, the forest surrounding Pickett State Rustic Park has unusual rock formations including Indian rock houses, natural bridges and numerous caves. Pickett’s near neighbor, the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (BSFNRRA), has deep dramatic gorges of 500 feet or more cut through the hard capstone layer of rock to the soft sandstone layers beneath by the south fork of the Cumberland River. Dramatic vistas and 123,000 acres of multiple-use areas that include camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, white-water rafting and canoeing await.
6) The lovely seven-arch dam at the 1,720-acre Cumberland Mountain State Park provides a stunning centerpiece for its popular restaurant, cabins, camping and hiking trails.
7) Edgar Evins State Park overlooks Center Hill Lake. The park will offer History Hayrides again this year on Oct. 12. Ten wagons are scheduled to leave the visitors center and make stops at scenes where costumed actors and actresses portray historical characters and past events beginning at 2 p.m. with the last departure around 6:30 p.m.
8) Fall Creek Falls hosts Fall Colors Weekend on Oct. 19-20 with ranger-led bicycle tours, guided hikes and slideshows focusing on the autumn splendor at the park.
9) South Cumberland State Park is one of the Volunteer State’s most scenic areas. It is a popular destination for hikers with numerous miles of trails and a number of primitive campgrounds servicing the 24,000 acres that is home to Savage Gulf, Stone Door & Fiery Gizzard Trails. The only way you won’t see dramatic vistas as the seasons change here is if you stay home.
10) Covering about 170,000 acres between the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers that encompasses areas above and below the Tennessee-Kentucky State line, Land Between the Lakes is a multi-use National Recreation Area with hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, camping, wildlife viewing and site-seeing.
So that’s my top ten list for leaf looking this fall. What’s your favorite spot?