Walk along picturesque trails, spot myriad birdlife and paddle a canoe on a vast lake at this breathtaking park on the outskirts of Nashville.
Explore the scenic wilderness of Central Tennessee at Radnor Lake State Park. This 1,200-acre (490-hectare) area of stunning countryside features a lake, streams, hills, wildflower meadows and woodland. It shelters many species of wildlife, which are visible along nature trails and at the park’s aviary. Established in 1914 and later saved from residential development, Radnor Lake State Park became Tennessee’s first state natural area in 1973.
Over 6 miles (10 kilometers) of well-kept trails wind their way around the park and the 90-acre (36-hectare) Radnor Lake. These trails range from easy walks to energetic strolls and strenuous hikes. Wander by yourself or join ranger-led hikes. Cycling, dog-walking and running are allowed only on the park’s roads.
Come between late May and early September to take part in a free interpretive canoe ride on the lake. Rangers lead the activity, which generally takes place at sunrise, the optimum time for wildlife spotting.
Spot Carolina wrens, downy woodpeckers and great blue herons year-round. See great-crested flycatchers in summer, white-throated sparrows in winter and warblers in spring and fall. Get close to birds of prey and watch flight demonstrations at the Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center. Additional wildlife species visible throughout the park include amphibians, deer and reptiles.
The park is only a 20-minute drive from Downtown Nashville. Use the free parking lots outside the visitor center at the west entrance and at the park’s eastern entrance. If you are feeling energetic, rent a bike and cycle the 8 miles (13 kilometers) to the park from Downtown Nashville.
Radnor Lake State Park is open daily from early in the morning until sunset. Food and drink are prohibited within the grounds of this natural reserve. The aviary is open on Wednesday mornings and Saturday afternoons. Pick up trail maps, information leaflets and an event schedule at the visitor center, which opens from Thursday to Monday. Here, watch a short visual presentation about the park.