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Take a (free) guided hike Saturday in Tennessee State Parks

Contributed • Mar 21, 2019 at 10:30 AM

NASHVILLE – With warmer weather coming, Tennessee’s state park system is offering free guided spring hikes in all 56 state parks on March 23. The free hikes will be led by park rangers.

There are hikes to fit every level, from short easy-to-walk trails to longer treks through more adventurous terrain. Each one highlights the park’s natural settings.

“The spring hikes are a great way to explore our parks, as well as get to know other people who share the outdoors in a group setting,” said Anne Marshall, acting deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. “Our state parks staff has valuable expertise to share about our parks to enhance the experience. There are hikes for just about every taste.”

The hikes are a chance to see early spring wildflowers, discuss wildlife specific to the park, take photos of magnificent scenery, and take in the features that make each state park unique.

Hikers are urged to prepare for the weather, have sturdy footwear, and bring water and snacks. Some may want to bring hiking sticks. Participants can go online at tnstateparks.com/about/special-events/spring-hikes/ to find a hike that best fits their interests and to register for the event.

Here’s a brief look at the hikes our local parks have planned.

David Crockett Birthplace

11 a.m. – Join costumed interpreters to view the significant historic features that line the trails of Limestone Creek and the John Crockett Trail. Meet at the Crockett Homestead, visit farm animals, and embark on a journey into the past. The hike is approximately two miles in length and participants are encouraged to dress for the weather.

Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork

9 a.m. – This adventurous, roughly 10-mile hike is already full.

Roan Mountain

10 a.m. – Kick off the spring season with a two-mile hike along the Cloudland Nature Trail and Peg Leg Mine Trail. Meet at the park’s Visitor’s Center. Limited to 30 people; registration is free and available online.

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

10 a.m. – Come see spring from the perspective of the banks of the Watauga River. Learn how plants and animals shake off the cold, and enjoy a dash of history. Meet at the trailhead kiosk by the picnic area. Dress appropriately for the weather and wear closed toed shoes.

Warriors’ Path State Park

9 a.m. – Enjoy a two-mile wildflower hike. Come dressed for the weather. Wear good walking shoes, bring a snack and water, and don’t forget your camera. Meet at the park’s mountain bike trail parking area, at the end of Freeman Road.

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