A popular local mountain bike destination, the Jones Mill Trail in Long Hunter State Park is an oft-overlooked option for Nashville-area dayhikers and trail runners. Winding through a sparse cedar forest, this 3.5-mile figure-eight loop samples limestone glades (home to the endangered Tennessee coneflower), interesting varieties of trailside moss, and birdwatching spots atop reservoir bluffs.
Start from the Jones Mill Trailhead on Barnett Road and begin hiking clockwise on the Main Moop—keep an eye out for patches of reindeer moss on the side of trail. One mile in, you’ll start the counter-clockwise loop to Bald Knob (an overlook of Percy Price Lake where you may hear or see common loons—and where bald eagles have been spotted in the past). Descend from Baldy Knob and head west through the cedars, making an optional shoreline detour on the return loop before the trailhead.
Note: This is a popular mountain bike area so keep your eyes and ears sharp for trail traffic. The trail is less-trafficked during winter months when muddy conditions keep many bikers at bay.
-Mapped by Kelly Stewart, Nashville Hiking Meetup