Located on 2,600 acres on the shore of Percy Priest Lake, Long Hunter State Park is a popular location for boating, fishing, hiking, and backcountry camping. The park is located in Hermitage, TN, only 30 minutes from the heart of downtown Nashville. Its proximity to the urban area and abundance of water recreation activities makes it a popular destination for those looking to spend time outside on the lake without too long of a drive from their city life.
Along with its convenient location and offering of water-related activities, the park also hosts opportunities to explore rare habitats and endangered species. The region’s limestone glades support rare ecosystems of flora and fauna. Visitors of Long Hunter have the chance to spot several unique wildflower and plant species, along with many types of birds and other animals.
Hike on more than 20 trails alongside the lake. Rent a backcountry campsite to spend the night looking at the stars. Cool off by taking a dip in Bryant Cove. Long Hunter State Park invites you to plan the perfect day trip (or overnight expedition) outside of Nashville.
Bordering the 14,000 acre lake, Long Hunter State Park has two boat ramps with access to Percy Priest Lake. Boaters can enjoy time on the water canoeing, kayaking, and operating wave runners and motorboats. Other favorite activities on the water include waterskiing and paddle boarding.
Don’t want the Percy Priest experience? Within the park’s boundaries sits Couchville Lake, a tranquil 110 acre lake perfect for those seeking a more peaceful, private day on the water. While gas motors are not permitted on the lake, boaters can rent (or bring their own)kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and paddleboards during summer months. Check the state park’s website for rental rates and more information.
In addition to the range of water sports boaters and water enthusiasts can take part in while spending time at the state park, Long Hunter is a site for bass fishing. Fishers can launch their fishing boats on Piercy Priest or their non-motorized boats on Couchville Lake.
Those looking to take a refreshing dip in the waters of Percy Priest. A designated swimming beach area at Bryant Cove is a great option for those looking to wade and swim in the lake’s waters and can be accessed by car or trail.
Swimming is strictly prohibited at the boat ramps on Percy Priest and in Couchville Lake. The Bryant Cove swim area is unsupervised; visitors swim at their own risk and are urged to take caution while swimming to watch for hazards on the bottom of the lake.
More than 20 miles of trails within Long Hunter State Park gives hikers the opportunity to explore the park’s rare habitats and limestone glades as they meander through woods, open fields, and along the lake. There are a total of 12 designated trails in the park, ranging from lengths of .3 miles to 5.5 miles one way. Most of the trails offer relatively flat terrain and make for great strolls and easy day hikes.
Notable trails include the Bryant Grove Trail, Jones Mill Trail, and Couchville Lake Arboretum Trail.
The Bryant Grove Trail is a 4 mile, one-way easy hike that leads walkers along the shore of Percy Priest, connecting the lake to the Couchville area. This near-aquatic location of the trail makes for great bird watching, as well as spotting rare species along the limestone glades hikers walk along.
The Jones Mill Trail is 4.5 miles long and is rated as easy. The trail follows open fields and cedar groves and boasts the best wildflower viewing in the park. The trail was originally intended for mountain bikers, who have the right-of-way.
The Couchville Arboretum is a 2 mile, easy loop trail that is highly accessible, making it the park’s most popular trail. Walking along the lakeshore, hikers enjoy an easy stroll while viewing an abundance of wildlife. Species commonly sighted include turkey, white-tailed deer, and blue heron. If you’re lucky, you might also see a bald eagle, sandhill crane, or red-headed woodpecker. The trail also has views of the Couchville Lake Arboretum, the first certified Arboretum in Tennessee with 42 species of marked tree.
Those interested in biking on the park’s trails may do so on designated paths. There are two featured loops for mountain biking: one two-mile loop and one four-mile loop.
If you’re interested in spending the night at Long Hunter State Park, there are a total of 5 primitive camping sites available to rent at the park. Three of the sites are located a short distance from a parking lot and can be rented by organized groups, such as outdoors clubs or those looking for a group retreat. The two other sites are located lakeside along one of the park’s trails. Campers must hike 6 miles to reach these sites and must be well-equipped with backpacking gear.
Check the park’s website for site availability and more information.
Alpine Tower Adventure
The Alpine Tower is a 50 foot tall structure within the park that is available to rent for groups looking to do teambuilding activities and build capacity for trust, confidence, encouragement, and teamwork.
Long Hunter’s Park Rangers are certified instructors for the course and will help lead groups in their individual and teambuilding activities while using the tower to create an experience similar to a rope’s course.
Visit the park’s website for more information and to make reservations to use the tower.