Out in Nature Hiking Bryant Grove Trail

Hubby and I recently returned to a trail we’ve hiked in the past, called the Bryant Grove Trail located in Long Hunter State Park near Nashville, Tennessee.  It’s a good trail if you like solitude while hiking (we do) as it’s very lightly traveled.  This there-and-back trail is an 8 mile hike if you choose to do the entire thing.  It’s four miles in and four back out.  The trail is labeled as a moderate hike but it’s very flat and not difficult at all.  The trail surface changes from dirt, to rocky, to very rocky, which perhaps is why it is given the moderate status.  That and the fact that eight miles is a long hike.

I’m not really sure why the park doesn’t allow pets on this trail.  It’s mostly a wooded path and not many people hike this trail.

We’ve hiked this trail twice.  The first time, we never passed another hiker.  The second time we passed one nice man out for some solo hiking.  We stopped and chatted with him awhile.  Turns out he had done part of  the trail the day before with his daughter and had returned on this particular day to hike the entire 8 miles.  I like Bryant Grove because it’s like doing two different hikes.  Part of it is shaded and goes deep into the woods.  It also goes along the shore of Percy Priest Lake.  It’s peaceful and beautiful and quiet as the trail twists and turns through the woods and there’s a few scattered wooden benches to rest along the way.  We just about always see deer on this part of the trail.  The other part of the trail takes you out in the open, through a not so attractive cedar glade.

the beginning of the trail which is rock-strewn

a young and quite thin spike buck

pregnant doe

Close-up of the pregnant doe.  Isn’t she beautiful?

The trail is nicely marked every half mile with wooden post markers.

Though not plentiful on this trail, the benches are nice, especially if you are hiking the entire 8 miles

There are signs warning that this is not a loop trail, but park rangers say you’d be surprised at the number of people who don’t heed the signs and don’t realize when they get to the end of the four miles, that they must now turn around and hike back another four miles to their vehicle.  Surprise, surprise!!

Off to the right is an old decrepit stone wall with a rickety old barbed wire fence in places.  I read in my book, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles Nashville, that in pre-park days, this area was used for livestock grazing.

The trail meanders by Percy Priest lake.  Occasionally, you will spot a Great Blue Heron wading out in the water.  It’s a very peaceful stretch of the trail.

There’s just something about a trail through the woods… Hubby said I must have hundreds of photos of wooded dirt paths.

Just past the halfway mark or the two mile marker is a wooden bridge that crosses over Bryant Creek.  As you can see, the creek bed was dry due to lack of rain (Never thought I would be saying that after all the torrential rains and flooding we had back in February).

From one side of the bridge, the mostly dry creek bed

Looking down the other direction of the dry creek bed from the bridge.  The last time we did this hike, it was in the fall and the creek was flowing with water.

Are you looking at me? Yes, pretty girl, we are.

We saw several of these black and yellow flat millipedes. They were huge and apparently harmless.  Yes, I googled them.

This is what I mean by the trail being rough in places. Watch your step!

A few scattered daisies. My favorite flower. Love them!

I love the color of lichen.

Towards the end of the trail, we entered the cedar glade.  Not much to see here except a large open rocky area and of course lots of cedar trees.  The soil here is not very rich and not much grows here.  The cacti seem to like it as do the cedar trees.  We saw a few turkey vultures circling overhead when we got to the open glade.  Hope they weren’t looking for exhausted hikers!

We did see this cute little shabby bunny who froze completely still when he saw us.

You can see how very dry the ground is here towards the end of the hike.  Dry, parched, cracked earth.  Kinda makes you thirsty, huh?

At the end of the four miles is Bryant Grove Recreation Area which has restrooms, a picnic area with grills, a swimming beach, and a boat launch.  Rest a while, eat a snack, get hydrated with a nice cool drink, and then turn around and head back out for the return four mile hike.

We took water on the hike but had plenty of this in the car waiting for us when we returned. And I was ready for it.

I will have to say, hiking the entire eight miles wears me out.  Halfway back, hubby and I got pretty tired!  My legs ached and the last two miles were exhausting.  I’ll also mention that when we first did this hike a few years ago in the fall, it was quite littered from where the lake had flooded the woods.  There was lake debris everywhere- plastic bottles, tires, and trash.  It was a little disheartening.  On our most recent hike, it was very clean.


About Gail

I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, veterinarian, and wanna be writer. I love nature and animals of all kinds, music, cooking, and spending time with my family.
This entry was posted in Animals, deer, Nature and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Out in Nature Hiking Bryant Grove Trail

  1. Relax... says:

    What a lovely hiking spot! A little something for everyone, there — and 8 miles is quite a hike indeed!

  2. I love your path photos! The others are great too. I feel like I got to go on the hike without having to do all the work. LOL! There’s no way I could go 4 miles, let alone 8. Thanks Gail!

    • Gail says:

      Yeah, I won’t attempt 8 miles again until I get in a little better shape! And I would NEVER attempt to do 8 miles at the peak of our summer heat and humidity!

      Thanks for reading. I always appreciate your comments!

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