Check out this list of beautiful, family-friendly hikes in Middle Tennessee. Known for its bucolic creeks and rolling hills, the region offers everything from scenic strolls to short but challenging hikes. And located just 40 minutes northwest of Nashville, each of these options is served up with a side of nearby lunch spots.
Dunbar Cave State Park
Dunbar Cave is one of Clarksville, Tennessee's most popular outdoor spots. This 144-acre natural playground located in the city center includes picnic areas, wildlife, a newly updated visitor center and almost 4 miles of hiking trails. With the new addition of a bridge across the lake, you can now loop past the cave, over the water, and up and down hills to your heart's content.
Best Bet for Lunch. Just a 5-minute drive away, Looking Glass Restaurant and Bakery offers pastries, breakfast entrees and more. We recommend trying the strawberry Nutella crepes or the hearty shrimp and grits.
You'll find it hard to believe you're in the middle of town at the Clarksville Greenway. This 9-mile (but ever expanding) paved walking and biking trail winds along the Red River and West Fork Creek, featuring bluffs, overlooks and a 600-foot pedestrian bridge. The trail includes hills and flat sections, the latter of which are great for little ones still using training wheels.
Best Best for Lunch: La Casa Taqueria is 5 miles away. The classic spot for low-key Mexican fare includes all-day breakfast, beer and cocktails. Our favorite menu item is the traditional street tacos.
You'll find 6 miles of hilly hiking at Rotary Park, an 111-acre natural area with picnic areas, a disc golf course and an ADA-accessible playground. The trails are wooded with plenty of wildflowers and, at times, mountain bikers — especially in the morning. The winding creek makes the area particularly scenic. Plus, it's a splashy way to cool off on hot days!
Best Best for Lunch: The Choppin' Block is a butcher and restaurant less than 1 mile away. It's hard to beat the restaurant's fresh burger, but for picnics, there are plenty of deli takeaways, too.
Billy Dunlop Park
The Red River wraps around the 30-acre Billy Dunlop Park. You can fish, swim, kayak, picnic or stroll the tranquil 2.2-mile walking trail. Be sure to stop for a quick family pic at the picturesque bridge over the river.
Best Bet for Lunch: About 4 miles away, Smokin Chikin features in-house-roasted chicken made using a variety of marinade options.
Clarksville's RiverWalk is a scenic and popular spot along the spectacular Cumberland River. It includes a 1-mile promenade, now with a trail extension that connects it all the way to the Red River Bridge. Families will love the playground at McGregor Park and the "As the River Flows" interpretive center.
Best Bet for Lunch: Head uptown to Strawberry Alley Ale Works for potato chip nachos, or to Blackhorse Pub & Brewery for its flatbread pizza.
This trail is Clarksville's best-kept secret, connecting the Cumberland RiverWalk to downtown and Valley Brook Park to the Pedestrian Overpass. The Upland Trail is a system of extensions and spurs, so you can start and stop at any number of places. You'll see public art, historic buildings and railway trestles as you explore.
Best Bet for Lunch: Hot Pita serves breakfast, lunch and dinner made your way. We recommend the Philly steak pita or the Cajun fish rice bowl.