Located on over 1,100 acres in the Cedars of Lebanon State Forest, Cedars of Lebanon State Park offers a range of activities for outdoor recreation and relaxation less than an hour outside of Nashville.
The park is located on historical Shawnee and Cherokee land and was named by settlers after the Biblical cedar forests of Mount Lebanon. The park’s dense red cedar forests are also home to limestone glades that form unique topography. Limestone rock located just under the ground causes soil to be thin or absent, creating a harsh habitat similar to that of a desert. This habitat supports a unique plant community that hosts nineteen endangered and rare species of plants that grow nowhere else in the world!
This unique and biodiverse ecosystem draws visitors in to explore the rare habitat, along with the park’s trails, Sadie Ford Heritage Farm and Cultural Center, cabins, and opportunities for outdoor recreation.
The state park hosts 87 campsites located in three different areas. All sites have electrical and water hookups, along with picnic tables, grills, and access to WiFi (for those looking to stay more connected during their visit) and shared bathhouses.
Cedars of Lebanon offers nine two-bedroom cabins available to rent for your state park getaway. All cabins can accommodate up to five people and feature fully equipped kitchens, living areas, bathrooms, and bedrooms.
Along with these cabins, the park also offers the Ricketts Historical Cabin available for rent. This cabin, constructed in the 1930s, retains the classic log cabin architecture that draws many to the park for its beauty and history. The cozy cabin is tucked into the forest and is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway or special occasion. The cabin is set up to accommodate two people and features a common room with a bed, fireplace, full kitchen, and bathroom. The cabin’s quaint front porch makes for the perfect place to watch wildlife pass by as you relax with your loved one.
All cabins have access to picnic areas, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a playground, and an assembly hall nearby.
There are ten miles of hiking trails in the state park, meandering through the red cedar forest and limestone glades and giving visitors spectacular views of wildlife and the area’s unique biodiversity. Along with the rare plant species that can be seen along the trails, hikers may catch a glimpse of deer, fox, and turkey making their way through the woods.
Trails range from easy to moderate in terrain and from less than a mile to over 4 miles long. Highlights include the Dixon Merritt Trail, which passes by a seasonal pond that hosts amphibian eggs in spring months, and the Hidden Springs Trail, which feature wet weather surface streams.
The park also contains over 12 miles of marked trails designated for horseback riding. Connected to some of these trails are hundreds of miles of forestry fire trails in Cedars of Lebanon State Forest. Riders may use these trails, too, to explore the forest by horseback.
Visit the park’s website for more detailed information on trail routes and highlighted features.
The state park is home to Jackson Cave, attracting visitors to view its unique geological features and services. The cave is part of an underground karst network of sinkholes and serves as the main surface vent for underground water throughout this network. Visitors can take guided tours inside the cave, led by park staff at their discretion.
Sadie Ford Heritage Farm and Cultural Arts Center
Located on over 70 acres of land across from Cedars of Lebanon State Park, the Sadie Ford Center encompasses several buildings and a farm space aimed at preserving the historical integrity of the cultural landscape in the area. The center is named for Delta and Sadie Ford, teacher who once occupied the center’s main house in the 1920s. Outbuildings, including a milking barn, livestock barn, and corncrib, are modeled after a 20th century working-farm and stand to educate the public on the agricultural history of the region.
Interpretive programming offered by the center gives visitors the opportunity to take part in experiences such as cooking molasses, weaving, beekeeping, and milling corn. Visitors can immerse themselves in the land’s local history, land use patterns, and farming practices as they visit the center’s buildings and learn from experts about the lived experience of farmers in the 20th century.
The state park is a popular location for disc golf, as it hosts one of the only course in the state. Built in 1977, the 18-hole course weaves between the cedar forest and limestone features and is used year-round by local disc golf enthusiasts.