Located just 8 miles south of downtown Nashville, Radnor Lake State Park earns a reputation for being a fabulous place to enjoy abundant biodiversity and view wildlife while staying within the city’s boundaries. The park exemplifies Nashville’s ability to be an urban hub while still having green space that carries an abundance of opportunities to enjoy nature and wildlife.
Designated as a natural area in 1974 after popular demand from the public to prevent the area from being developed, the nearly 1,400 acres of state park is designated as Class II protected land. The park has nearly 8 miles of forested and lakeside trails that are popular among visitors for the wildlife and biodiversity that can be observed by hikers. The park’s Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center also grants visitors opportunities to view this wildlife up close and participate in educational programming about the region’s flora and fauna.
Visitor Radnor Lake State Park to experience for yourself why it is such a popular day-trip destination for local Nashvillians and nature enthusiasts.
The park hosts nearly 8 miles of walking trails, with 9 designated trails that offer access to some of the highest hills in the Middle Cumberland basin. These trails connect from various starting points to bring visitors around Radnor Lake and onto Ganier Ridge in the surrounding forest. Multiple trails are ADA accessible and offer great views of the lake.
There are great opportunities for wildlife observation on all the trails. Lakeside trails offer opportunities to spot waterfowl, amphibians, and mammals such as otters, mink, and deer. Forested trails give ample viewing of diverse fungi, moss, plants, and wildflowers.
Visit the park’s website for more information on individual trails.
Radnor Lake is a popular destination for local bird enthusiasts and bird-watching groups who flock to the park to view the 211 species of birds that call the park home. The park’s lake and old hickory forest creates environments for an abundance of avian varieties.
Spring and fall migration seasons create viewing opportunities for warblers, vireos, and flycatchers. 24 waterfowl species are best viewed during the winter months, including many kinds of ducks and geese. Several observation decks are located on trails around the lake to give visitors the best sightings of these waterfowl species.
Radnor Lake State Park offers a range of year-round programming to engage visitors with their surroundings. These programs are perfect for nature lovers, curious visitors, and school groups. The park also hosts a nature center, which offers educational programming and the chance to view wildlife up close.
Ranger-led activities around the park include wildflower walks, nature walks, night-time and astronomy walks. Radnor Lake also offers ranger-led canoe floats on the lake during summer months.
The Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center, located centrally in the park, gives visitors a chance to observe some of the park’s species kept in captivity. The center’s boardwalk allows visitors to view birds of prey, including eagles, hawks, and owls. Inside the center, snakes and turtles are available for visitors to view from interpretive displays. An amphitheater at the back of the center allows park rangers to lead interpretive and educational programs about these species.
Check the park website for more details about these programs and events!
Photo: Adam Fagen