Exploring Local Eats and Lakes at Long Hunter
A day of local food and fresh air at Long Hunter State Park
A GUIDE TO EXPLORING THE CUMBERLAND RIVER BASIN
30 minutes outside of the hustle and bustle of Nashville, Long Hunter State Park provides access to two incredible lakes, an abundance of wildlife, and tons of recreational activities. This guide provides all the info you need to enjoy a day of local food and fresh air.
THIS GUIDE WAS CO-WRITTEN BY OUR FRIENDS AT TENNESSEE STATE PARKS! TO READ MORE ABOUT OUR PARTNERSHIP, READ OUR STATEMENT AT THE END OF THE GUIDE
Sweet Biscuit Company
2654 North Mount Juliet Road Mount Juliet, TN 37122
Photo courtesy of Sweet Biscuit Company
Fuel up before your day at the lake with the best biscuits in town! Sweet Biscuit Company whips up small-batch, specialty biscuits each day in the heart of Mt. Juliet. Owner and baker Shannon’s creativity shines through in the Sweet Biscuit’s variety of sweet and savory biscuits, from sweet potato caramel, 3 cheese bacon spinach, philly cheesesteak, and more.
Grab a biscuit and house-roasted coffee or tea for breakfast, and order a sandwich to-go so you can savor Sweet Biscuit Co.’s goodness all day long! Flavors change daily, so be sure to check out what’s fresh on the menu before your trip. Gluten-free options are also available!
There are around 25 miles of hiking trails at Long Hunter State Park across four sections; Couchville, Baker’s Grove, Bryant Grove, and Sellars Farm. These hiking trails offer abundant wildlife and incredible scenery, from cedar glades to bluff overlooks. You can check out all of the trails offered on Long Hunter’s website. Here are three hikes that we think you’ll love:
2910 Hobson Pike, Hermitage, TN 37076
This paved trail encircles the beautiful 110-acre Couchville Lake and is perfect for strollers and wheelchairs. It is one of the most popular walks in the state park system due to its accessibility, lakeshore scenery, and abundant wildlife like white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and blue heron. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse at some less seen wildlife, such as the American Bald Eagle or the American mink.
As the name implies, the trail features an arboretum which is a place where trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes. Home to forty-two different tree species, each one is labeled and identified along the route so you can learn about them!
As you walk, you’ll pass ponds and sinkholes that are home to a wide variety of frogs and turtles. In the warmer months, unique wildflowers line the paths. Dogs are not allowed on this trail. However, many other park trails can accommodate a stroll with your furry friend.
Baker’s Grove Trailhead
1594 Bakers Grove Rd, Hermitage, TN 37076
In search of great views of Percy Priest Lake? You can’t beat Long Hunter’s Day Loop. This wild, rocky trail winds through mature oak-hickory forest, abundant plants and wildlife, and several scenic bluff overlooks of Percy Priest Lake. The first part of the hike follows the Volunteer Trail (an out-and-back overnight trail) but then breaks off to form its own loop.
We recommend bringing a snack or a thermos of something warm to enjoy while resting end enjoying the view at the top of the bluffs. Just remember to take care of the beautiful natural environment you’re enjoying by packing out all of your garbage. Dogs on a leash are allowed.
Sellars Farm State Archaeological Area
474 Poplar Hill Rd, Lebanon, TN 37090
Long Hunter State Park manages Sellars Farm, but it is located 30 minutes away in Lebanon, TN. Although it’s a drive from the park’s other areas, it’s well worth your time to experience!
This short loop trail is ideal for visitors with children and offers a unique learning experience. This Archaeological Area contains Native American mounds that date back to the Mississippian Period (AD 1000-1450). The site includes an informative kiosk that tells the story of the ancient village and the people who lived there. The trail meanders through a scenic prairie and ultimately leads to peaceful Spring Creek. Dogs on a leash are allowed.
Couchville Lake and Percy Priest Lake
Visitors can explore two lakes at the park, Percy Preist Lake and Couchville Lake. Percy Preist Lake is accessible to motorized boats, wave runners, and paddle craft. The park offers two boat ramps for access to Percy Priest Lake, where you can enjoy fishing, exploring coves, and dining at a variety of marinas.
Couchville Lake is the perfect spot for a peaceful paddle. The 110-acre lake is open year-round and is a hot spot for wildlife viewing and fishing. During summer weekends, the park’s boat dock offers canoe, kayak, paddleboard, and row boat rentals, complete with paddles and life jackets.
Couchville Lake and Percy Priest Lake
Add to Long Hunter’s long list of water activities incredible fishing for bass, catfish, and crappie. Cast a line from the fishing pier at Couchville Lake or find a warm spot on the banks of Percy Priest. Although the water levels in Couchville Lake drop quite a bit during the winter months, visitors still enjoy good conditions for bass fishing from kayaks.
Bryant Grove Recreation Area
Barnett Rd, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
A lakeside swim can be just what the doctor ordered during summer. At Long Hunter’s Bryant Grove Recreation Area, visitors can swim and lay out on a sandy shore. You’ll also find large shady trees and several picnic tables with grills near the swimming area. It’s the perfect setup for a summer cookout with friends and family.
Bryant Grove Recreation Area
Barnett Rd, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
Located at Bryant’s Grove Recreation Area, the Jones Mill Mountain Bike Trail is a 5-mile hiking and mountain biking trail featuring two loops: one two-mile loop and one four-mile loop. These trails offer a variety of challenges to mountain bikers and a great view of the lake from Bald Knob.
Challenge your friends, family, or coworkers to tackle the Alpine Tower! Standing 50 feet tall, the structure presents teambuilding challenges like rock climbing and high ropes course elements. The Park Rangers at Long Hunter are certified instructors that will facilitate the Alpine Tower while working with groups to address team building, trust, support, communication, and more!
This experience is open to groups and must be reserved in advance by contacting the park office.
After your exciting adventure at the Alpine Tower, gather your group for a night under the stars at Long Hunter’s group camp. The camp offers three primitive campsites with picnic tables, fire rings, nearby water, and access to the park office restroom. Groups can reserve this campground by calling the park office.
Backcountry Camping on the Volunteer Trail
Those who love to backpack can spend the night on the Volunteer Trail! After taking a 6-mile hike on the Volunteer Trail, you’ll find two shady backcountry sites on the shoreline of Percy Priest Lake, each with a designated fire ring. These campsites are open year-round and can be reserved online.
Note: These campsites do not offer running water, electricity, or restrooms available.
CR Noodle House
5270 Murfreesboro Rd La Vergne, TN 37086
Photo courtesy of @Kanasue on Flickr
After your day at the park, make your way across the lake and over to La Vergne. The town is home to many international cuisine options that are sure to satisfy your appetite after a long day on the water. With delicious Mexican, Salvadorian, Jamaican, and more restaurants to choose from, it is difficult to decide where to eat. We’ll give you a couple of options to help you narrow down the choices!
Make a stop at CR Noodle House to find authentic Laotian and Thai dishes served up by this locally-owned family restaurant that has been an establishment of La Vergne for many years. Choose from a variety of soups and salads, curries, stir-frys, and other specialty dishes. Customers rave about the generously-sized portions, cozy environment, and the ability for the dishes to pack a punch with their spice if they wish!
Kool Runnings Jamaican Cuisine
5238 Murfreesboro Rd La Vergne, TN 37086
Photo courtesy of Tony Webster on Flickr
If Caribbean food is more your style, you’re in luck! Located right down the street from CR Noodle House, Kool Runnings serves up the “best tasting Jamaican food in Tennessee”. This small restaurant serves up authentic Jamaican dishes, from jerk chicken to curry goat to oxtail and more.
A dish isn’t complete without a side to complement it, so make sure to load up on fried plantains, mac & cheese, and greens– or choose from another one of the many sides on the menu. Kool Runnings also has a selection of “secret menu” dishes only served up on the weekends, so be sure to ask about the daily specials and surprises!
La Salvadoreña Bakery & Cafe
5094 Murfreesboro Rd Suite F La Vergne, TN 37086
Photo courtesy of La Salvadoreña Bakery & Cafe
No matter where you decide to eat your meal, you must leave room for dessert. La Salvadoreña is the place to go for top-notch sweets and a snack for the road before you head back home. The bakery and cafe serves traditional Salvadoran, Honduran, Guatemalan, and Mexican foods and treats.
Customer favorites include their pupusas, tres leches cake, and flan, but there is much more on the menu to choose from – come see for yourself!
This guide was written in partnership with Tennessee State Parks.
There are more than 20 Tennessee State Parks within the Cumberland River Basin, each with their own unique history, features, and opportunities for outdoor recreation. All of these parks rely on clean water to support the humans and creatures that visit and call them home. The Cumberland River Compact has partnered with TN State Parks to bring you guides that highlight the best features of parks around the basin, along with the communities that surround them. We hope these guides will encourage you to support the vision of clean and abundant water for our Cumberland River Basin by visiting these parks whose vision is to protect and preserve the unique natural, cultural, and historic resources of Tennessee.