Tennessee State Parks will celebrate National Trails Day and kick off Great Outdoors Month with free, guided hikes at all 56 parks on Saturday, June 2.
The variety of events includes ranger-led day hikes, night hikes, history hikes, nature hikes and trail clean-up hikes. With more than 1,000 miles to explore, ranging from easy, paved trails to rugged backcountry trails to scenic waterways, there is something for everyone.
“We are grateful to Governor Haslam for making Tennessee the first state to proclaim June as Great Outdoors Month in 2018,” said Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill. “These hikes recognize the important individual and community benefits of getting outside, including better health, economic infusion for local communities, and appreciation and stewardship of our public lands.”
Since 1993, the American Hiking Society has set aside the first Saturday in June as National Trails Day, bringing together outdoor enthusiasts to participate in educational exhibits, trail dedications, gear demonstrations, instructional workshops and trail projects.
National Trails Day is one of five free statewide hiking events Tennessee State Parks offer. Additional events include First Day Hikes in January, Spring Hikes in March, National Public Lands Day in September and After-Thanksgiving Day Hikes in November.
Sherwood trails building
Sherwood Forest is a 4000 acre wilderness on the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau. It is a new section of South Cumberland State Park, which is well known regionally as one of the premier hiking and backpacking destinations in the southeastern United States. To compliment the 90 miles of trail throughout the park, a 3-mile loop trail will be added to this new section of land. This will be a brand-new trail construction project, a route will gently undulate on the rim of the plateau. The trail will travel under a green canopy of hardwood forest, with the occasional overlook, rock formation, and stream crossing.
During the work day, volunteers will be instructed on how to use trail tools such as the axe-mattock, the pulaski, and the hoe. Under the guidance of a Park Ranger, volunteers will use their newly learned skills to build sustainable, well-made hiking trail that will last for generations. The work will be hard, mostly clearing underbrush, bench-cutting into the dirt, and a little rock work where stairs are needed; There will be jobs for every level so bring the family!
Meet Ranger Reynolds at the Sherwood Forest parking lot with snacks, water, and sturdy shoes. Tools are provided but if you have a favorite pair of gloves, bring them. This is a primitive area without restrooms, so plan accordingly. After the work day, stay and hang out at an overlook to admire the scenery and the new section of trail your efforts helped create!
A list of all National Trails Day hikes at Tennessee State Parks can be found at https://tnstateparks.com/about/special-events/national-trails-day-hikes.