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Tennessee Trails

Nashville, TN: Jones Mill Trail

Perfect for a trail run, a mountain bike ride, or short dayhike, this 3.5-mile figure-eight in Long Hunter State Park roams reservoir bluffs outside Nashville.

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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


Trail Facts

  • Distance: 5.6
  • Miles from city center: 26



Location: 36.0747922, -86.5095143

Hike southwest from the trailhead (located at the southwest end of parking lot).


Location: 36.074448, -86.5099874

Turn left at sign. The section of trail ahead is marked with white and orange blazes.


Location: 36.0762538, -86.5037835

Continue straight on Main Loop as the trail opens up to a short segment with fewer cedars.


Location: 36.0759156, -86.5006238

Continue straight toward Bald Knob. The trail on the left cuts back to the trailhead.


Location: 36.0757292, -86.4998165

The trail crosses the remnants of a stone “slave wall” and turns right.


Location: 36.0754378, -86.4996162

Cross a bridge over small creek.


Location: 36.0747407, -86.4994544

Bear right at fork to continue on to Bald Knob.


Location: 36.0714931, -86.5018952

Trail begins moderate switchback ascent up toward Bald Knob.


Location: 36.0696047, -86.5033275

Bald Knob: Peek through the trees for views of Percy Priest Lake. In 0.1 mile, the trail begins its descent of Bald Knob and reconnects with Waypoint 7. At Waypoint 7, backtrack on the main loop to Waypoint 4 and bear left on Return Loop.


Location: 36.0724817, -86.5091935

Turn left off the trail to head through the woods for a short detour to Percy Priest Lake (created by the damming of Stones River). In the winter the beach becomes a wide, rocky shoreline open for exploration.


Location: 36.0745109, -86.5102208

Bear right to return to trailhead.

Percy Priest Lake

Location: 36.0722801, -86.5088019

Jones Mill Trailhead

Location: 36.0747797, -86.5095904

Directional Sign

Location: 36.0744502, -86.5099311

Follow the bike trail’s directional signage. Be aware of bikers and move out of the path when they approach.

Reindeer Moss

Location: 36.0766679, -86.5060486

Brittle, white-ish “reindeer moss” is very common on this trail.

To Bald Knob

Location: 36.0759156, -86.5005943

Main Loop or Shortcut

Location: 36.0762582, -86.5037245

Slave Wall

Location: 36.0757292, -86.4997897

The trail passes the remnants of a “slave wall” and makes a right turn.

Creek Bridge

Location: 36.0754387, -86.4995885

The Fork to Bald Knob

Location: 36.0747407, -86.4994302

Bear right at this fork to continue to Bald Knob.

Cushion Moss

Location: 36.0710682, -86.5031773

Moss and lichen such as this “cushion moss” abound on the trail. Bryophyte is referred to as “cushion moss” since you can press down on it like a cushiony pillow.

Mountain Bike Traffic

Location: 36.0704178, -86.5029895

Don’t forget to look out for the mountain bikers and stand out of the way. If hiking with a group, a simple yell of “bike!” will be very appreciated.

Percy Priest Lake View

Location: 36.0696026, -86.503247

Sink Hole

Location: 36.0706649, -86.4999506

A small sink hole or forest floor cave-in.

Return Loop

Location: 36.0759265, -86.5006024

Low Tide

Location: 36.0723061, -86.508767

Scrubby Cedars

Location: 36.072976, -86.5102798

Eastern red cedar, blue ash, and aromatic sumac punctuate what look like a graveyard of natural tombstones.