This past weekend, I was heading to the Nashville area for a wedding, so of course I decided to squeeze in a hike. Ever the game traveler, Alex was able to join me. Choosing to drive to Nashville from central Maryland was a mistake, as the car ride was never-ending. However, the fresh air made it all worth it!
The Different Trails
To start off, there is something sweet about this park, and I don’t mean the delicious sweet tea. The air had a slight sweetness to it. I am guessing this has something to do with the plants in the area (if someone knows this, please let me know!), but it was fantastic.
We decided to take the longest possible loop in this park, which would take us along Ganier Ridge Trail, onto the Lake trail and ending with South Cove Trail. It only added up to be about 4 miles, but there was a ton to see packed into each mile! I had almost too many pictures to choose from for this post.
We just searched “Radnor Lake State Park” on google maps and it brought us to a parking lot. Let me just say: get there early. We got there around 9 am on a Saturday and had no trouble parking, but when we returned at noon there was a longggg line of cars waiting for a parking spot. Being so close to Nashville, it’s a busy area.
Once parked, you can hike down the road or take the access trail to the Ganier Ridge trail. We walked down the road, and it gave us a few extra steps. The signage is all very clear in the park and navigating the turns was very easy.
The trail started off on a boardwalk over a pretty marshy area. The way the light played through the trees on this entire hike was lovely. The forest is a pretty good size and healthy, giving plenty of shade while still providing lots to look at.
The trail changed quickly to various combinations of dirt and rock. While there was some climbing and switchbacking, for the most part this hike didn’t have a lot of elevation change. It’s relative, of course; if you typically hike only on flat trails, this will seem pretty hilly.
While we saw other people while hiking, their voices were absorbed by the dense forest, making it a pretty tranquil place. There is no running or dogs allowed on the dirt trails, and I think this helps keep the number of people down.
The lake itself is found on the aptly named Lake Trail. You get various glimpses of it through the trees. The Lake Trail leads you over a bridge by the dam and past a very quaint building with rocking chairs out front, eventually taking you to a promenade with wider unblocked views of the water.
This was a spot where the sparrows were hanging out, and there were so many of them that they kept popping up in my photos (which I was very happy about). It was great to watch them cut sharply over the water, the water itself so still that it reflected everything around it.
Speaking of birds…
The wildlife in this park was terrific. There were endless species of birds flying among the canopies overhead, which in turn had drawn many wildlife photographers who positioned themselves quietly at the edge of trails. We saw multiple species of woodpecker, sparrow, and other birds I didn’t get the chance to identify. If you are a bird watcher, you will definitely enjoy this park.
Beyond the birds, this park is also known for its deer and foxes, as we discovered. We came upon deer twice, and the second time I was basically stepping on it before I noticed it! They don’t seem to fear people here, which allowed for excellent viewing. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see a fox.
The rocks in Tennessee were interesting too, at least as an out-of-stater. They consisted of multiple thin flaky layers, like a biscuit (if you can’t tell, the south makes me think about food a lot). I really wish we had the time to find a good climb, but we had a wedding to get to.
I’d definitely recommend this hike. There was a lot to see, the air smelled sweet and fresh, and the forest swallowed up the few other hikers we saw. It’s also a great hike for beginners, as it’s not that long and not that steep. If you’re going, be sure to get there early! Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in line for parking.