Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways

Hit the open road, crank up the radio, take in the beauty and history, and explore charming towns, mom-and-pop eateries, hidden gems and adventure that makes Tennessee “The Soundtrack of America.” Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways driving tours take you off the beaten path for authentic experiences. Pick up maps at welcome centers and look for the brown signs across the state.

West Tennessee
The Great River Road Trail is full of history, high bluffs and wildlife. See Roots’ author Alex Haley’s childhood home in Henning. Spot a bald eagle at Reelfoot Lake State Park. On the Walking Tall Trail, visit Natchez Trace State Park and Hockaday Handmade Brooms in Selmer, where you’ll find Jack Martin crafting broomcorn using methods passed down from his great-grandfather. Stop for a slugburger at the nearby Pat’s Café.
Middle & West Tennessee
Hike. Canoe. Birdwatch. Fish. Stop in historic towns and learn about Loretta Lynn at her famous plantation home and museum in Hurricane Mills along the Tennessee River Trail. Float the Buffalo River by canoe. Hike and spot rare plant species in Carroll Cabin Barrens State Natural Area. Visit a replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Take in breathtaking views of the Duck River Bottoms Overlook. Listen to stories of Savannah’s heritage and Civil War history with a walking tour of the riverside town. Don’t miss out on dinner at Hagy’s Catfish Hotel Restaurant.
Middle Tennessee
Retrace footsteps of pioneers and discover unique treasures on the Promised Land Trail. Hike and ride horseback trails at Burgess Falls, Rock Island and Edgar Evins State Parks. Catch live bluegrass every Saturday night at Granville’s Sutton Ole Time Music Hour or watch a movie under the stars at Stardust Drive-In in Watertown. Walk through history at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. See how sweet sorghum is made at Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill. Join the locals at Foglight Foodhouse, a Rock Island hidden treasure, or a glass of vino at local wineries.
On the Nashville Trace Trail, discover music legends on Nashville’s Music Mile. Delve into the mysterious death of explorer Meriwether Lewis at his Natchez Trace Gravesite. Hike at Lawrenceburg’s David Crockett State Park. After wine tastings at four area wineries, end your day at Junkyard Dog Steakhouse in Hohenwald. Waynesboro’s Tennessee Fitness Spa includes a historic natural bridge, believed to be the world’s only double-span natural bridge formation–where outlaw Jesse James hid from lawmen. If Sunday morning was a town, Leiper’s Fork would be it with its shops, restaurants, farmers market and live music in the Lawn Chair Theater.

East & Middle Tennessee
Follow in the footsteps of settlers, storytellers and musicians along the Pie in the Sky Trail. Enjoy hikes and spectacular views from Savage Gulf State Natural Area and Lookout Mountain. Dine with a view at Jacob Myer’s Restaurant in Dayton, which overlooks Chickamauga Lake. Experience rock formations, waterfalls and the Volcano Room at McMinnville’s Cumberland Caverns.
East Tennessee
Venture on scenic byways for breathtaking views on the Tanasi Trail. Take a vintage passenger ride along the Hiwassee River to the historic copper mining town of Copperhill. Whitewater raft on the Ocoee or picturesque Bald River Falls in Tellico Plains. Treat your taste buds to Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Madisonville or grab a mug of fresh cider, homemade pies and fritters at Cleveland’s Apple Valley Orchard.
On the Sunny Side Trail, travel back in time at Rocky Mount State Historic Site, a 1791 living history museum in Piney Flats. Hike along scenic waterfalls, stunning vistas and rhododendrons at Roan Mountain State Park. Try a metal or woodworking class at Skillville. Chow down at Blue Circle in Elizabethton, which has been serving its famous Circle Burger since 1931.
Two hundred miles of unique stories are told every day on the White Lightning Trail. Learn more about pioneer life at the Museum of Appalachia in Norris and the history of the miners who lived and died at Coal Creek Mine in Rocky Top. See how “corn licker” is made at Cocke County Moonshine Distillery. Hike along trails in Cumberland Gap Historical Park near Harrogate, which straddles three states.
Uncover the Top Secret Trail’s WWII history at Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge. The preserved Victorian village of Rugby sits near the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. Sample wines and local cheeses at Highland Manor, Tennessee’s oldest winery in Jamestown.
Explore America’s most visited national park, The Great Smoky Mountains, along the Rocky Top Trail.
Drive Scenic Byways
Soak in the scenic beauty and history while driving down winding backroads on Tennessee’s National  Scenic Byways:  Woodlands Trace , Natchez Trace Parkway, Cherohala Skyway Byway, East Tennessee Crossing and Great River Road.
Learn more about Tennessee’s Trails and Byways here.
Stay in State Parks
Tennessee state parks have a wealth of outdoor opportunities that make them a great destination year-round. Extend your stay with an overnight or multi-day stay in new lodges, cabins and campsites to soak up all the scenery and natural fun.

Click here to see what’s new in Tennessee’s state parks and here for COVID-19 updates.

West - Pinson Mounds
This state archaeological park covers more than 1,200 acres and has at least 15 Native American mounds. The paved trails are a leisurely hike and ADA accessible. Visitors can explore the mounds that were created for both burial and ceremonial purposes. Pinson Mounds Museum, which features a replica of a Native American mound, is a must-stop when in the area. Picnic facilities are also available and the group camp has four cabins for staying a night or two.

Middle - Fiery Gizzard Trail
Located in South Cumberland State Park, the Fiery Gizzard Trail to Raven’s Point is a 9.1-mile loop near Tracy City. Considered one of the top 25 hiking trails in the United States and rated as difficult, this trail features a breathtaking waterfall and is best traveled from April to October. Hikers can view unique rock formations, lush woodlands and panoramic overlooks. Composed of more than 30,000 acres, South Cumberland State Park offers picnic areas, lakes for swimming and backcountry campsites. Grundy Forest is one of the park’s crown jewels with beautiful hemlocks and streams.

East - Alum Trail to Mt. LeConte
This 10-mile out-and-back trail offers beautiful vistas and scenery changes. Rated as difficult, this quintessential Great Smoky Mountains National Park hike might be challenging, but at the end, you’re rewarded with panoramic views. LeConte Lodge is the highest elevation inn to provide lodging for visitors in the eastern United States. Accessible only by hike, it was established in 1925 as a tent and has now evolved into a series of quaint cabins that can accommodate about 50 guests a night. Because the lodge is only accessible on foot, a llama train delivers supplies to the lodge three times a week.
Learn more about Tennessee hikes here.

Media Contacts

Jill Kilgore, Public Relations Media Manager, [email protected]