Let's face it. Nashville summers can be brutal when it comes to heat and humidity. Sometimes a mid-day hike sounds more like a sweat-fest than it does a good time, but it doesn't have to. Tennessee is home to some of the best waterfalls and swimming holes around, so next time a friend asks you to hit the trails recommend some of the following:
This adventurous hike is not recommended for small children and requires sturdy shoes (no flipflops here). At 1.5 hours from Nashville this is a great day trip, and although the hike is adventurous, it is fairly short. There are two trail options to hike down into the gorge where you will find the waterfall and a swimming hole - 1, or 1.5 miles.
This is Tennessee's largest state park with over 26,000 acres and 34 miles of hiking trails to explore. From Nashville you will drive about 2.25 hours to hit the park, but it is well worth the drive. The property contains Fall Creek and Fall Creek Lake with hiking around it, as well as many waterfalls and swimming holes to explore. Fall Creek Falls is the largest in the park, and one of the tallest in the Eastern region at 256 ft tall.
Bonus: Within Fall Creek Falls State Park there are many other waterfalls to explore including another one of our favorites, Cane Creek Falls. Be sure to check this one out as well!
Just under 3 hours from Nashville you'll find Big South Fork and it's many hiking trails, waterfalls, and swimming holes. There are a number of different loops to try out in varying levels of intensity so find the one that is right for you and have a great time along the trail. Try the Gentleman's Swimming Hole trail.
This little gem is located on private property and is accessible via a short trail hike off the access road. It is located between Tullahoma and Manchester Tennessee and takes just about 1.25 hours to get to from Nashville.
An of course we have Nashville's own Percy Priest lake on the list to remind you of our local hiking and swimming hole. You will find a number of things to do in and around the lake including hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, swimming and more. If you don't have the time to take a couple hour drive don't forget you have local options that can still cool you down! For a good swimming area check out the Anderson Road Recreation Area.