Henry Horton State Park & Playground
Henry Horton Campground Store, Tennessee, USA
Hiking, Playground, Duck River only 52 miles from Nashville
Take a Day Trip to Explore "Sink" Formations and a Lovely Forested Hike!
Henry Horton State Park is only about 50 miles from downtown Nashville and is a great day trip from the city throughout the year. We visited in January on a cold day and there were very few others at the park. It’s at the estate of the former Governor (hence the name) and borders the Duck River (remains of a mill and bridge are on the Wilhoite Mill Trail).
We chose the 2.7 mile Hickory Ridge Outer Trail, which leaves directly behind the Camp Store. It’s a loop, which is always great for kids. If you head clockwise (to the left), you’ll pass some of the best terrain fairly early on – lots of “sinks” in which to explore and climb and play. The rest of the trail passes through a nice forest, interesting rocks, and “sinks”.
If you’ve got smaller kids or are not up for a big hike, a shorter option is the Hickory Ridge Inner Trail which is only 0.7 miles and shows off some of the same terrain (sinks, lime green moss, etc.).
What’s great about this park is that you’ll park in a central area near the Camp Store, which has a playground a “nature play” area (with sand, trucks, and logs to climb on as well as a log cabin playhouse), so your kids can look forward to this after your hike.
The park offers several lodging options (lodge, eight cabins, 56 RV campsites, 10 tent campsites, nine primitive campsites, and three backcountry campsites) as well as three group campsites. There's also a swimming pool! The Governor's Table Restaurant and Tipped Canoe Lounge are supposed to be great but were under renovation at time of writing (1/2021) so make sure and check back.
On your way home, stop at Marcy Jo’s Mealhouse and Bakery which is only about 7 miles from the park.
Park GPS Coordinates: 35.5898, -86.694