Loop Trail? Yes
Type: Nature Trail
Agency: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Entry Fee? $4.00
Parking Fee? No Allowed Uses:
Bicycling (off pavement)
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Location: On E side of J Percy Priest Lake in Cook Recreation Area. (recertified 1992)
From downtown Nashville take 1-40 east 7 miles to exit 221B, right on Old Hickory Blvd., left on Bell Rd. (there are Corps directional signs from this point), right on New Hope Rd. 1 mile, right on Stewarts Ferry Pike, left on Old Hickory Blvd. 1 mile to Cook Recreation Area. The trail entrance is across from the amphitheater in the day use area.
The Three Hickories Nature Trail is a 1.6-mile nature trail located in a wooded area within Cook Recreation Area.
Primary Surface: Soil, Compacted
Secondary Surface: Grass or Vegetation
Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available
Year Designated: 1981
Supporting Webpages and DocumentsBrochure: Trail Guide
For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.
US Army Corps of Engineers
3737 Bell Road
Nashville, TN 37214
Lakeside Variety and Seclusion
Looking for a place to avoid crowds and see a variety of landscapes, cultural and natural history?
Try the seldom trekked Three Hickories Trail!
Best hiked outside of Tick Season (go hike it during Sept-April), the Three Hickories Trail winds through upland and lowland cedar and hickory forests besides Percy Priest Lake.
During its peak, this path maintained and boasted an interpretive trail - of which you can still download the PDF and learn about the local nature stops via numbered signs along the trail. (Copy and search this link for Trail Guide https://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Portals/49/docs/Lakes/JPP/3%20Hickories%20Trail%20Guide.pdf)
You will pass a great example of a large sinkhole, old stone walls built long before this was parkland, and wind up by a few nice lakeside spots to dip your toes in.
Great hickory tree color foliage in the Fall, and swaths of bedrock and cedar-glade-like conditions with rare different plants emerging each week of different seasons, which are a highlight of Middle Tennessee.
Bring bugspray, long pants, and covered toed shoes, as this trail is not maintained often.
If you enter during summer peak hours, you will have to pay to park and have difficulty bringing a dog on the trail because the rest of the park area and especially swimming area is closed to dogs. If entering off-peak or from the other entrance you may have better luck, but be wary of ticks and chiggers in the tall grass prevalent on the trail. You will very likely be the only person on the trail (maybe even that week).
November 11, 2019
3 Hickories Nature Trail
I recently discovered this little used gem of a trail system near my home in Antioch, TN. I hike with my dogs so never really explored Cook Recreation Area since dogs are not allowed in the area where the Trailhead is. However, dogs ARE allowed on this trail it is just tricky getting there during the Park Season. There are two access trails, one near the parking lot for Cook Boat Ramp and one across the road from the old unused campground down the road from the main Day Use access road. This trail does not see a lot of use and is narrow rocky and rough. It is also hard to find at times. My dogs and I had no trouble, but people with small children and especially strollers would find it very difficult in its current state.
December 7, 2017
Great unused Trail!
This trail sees very little use and is full of unexpected surprises like sink holes cedar glades and ancient rock walls. You can really feel the history while walking here. It is located in Cook Day Use Area and there IS a fee to enter. Dogs are not allowed either, however dogs ARE allowed on the trail. During the off season you can walk in to the Trailhead or access the trail system from a narrow rocky trail directly across from the old campground. There is also an unofficial access trail near the boat ramp parking area. The trail is narrow and rocky and hard to follow but well worth it. There is an interpretative guide available online. There are LOTS of Deer Ticks so bring and use repellent! Beautiful trail!
November 19, 2017
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