Middle Tennessee is a great place to be to see fall foliage. In fact, Travel + Leisure highlighted Franklin as one of the best places in the U.S. to see fall foliage. While we agree, Franklin is a great place to visit, Murfreesboro and surrounding areas provide an array of places to get out of the house and enjoy the burst of reds, yellows, oranges, and browns of foliage as it explodes in beauty.
Whether your thing is exploring nature, exploring history, exploring culture, or exploring someplace off the beaten track, you’ll find a place to see nature’s bounty erupt in Middle Tennessee this Fall.
1Stones River National Battlefield
3501 Old Nashville Highway
Chartered under the National Park Service on April 28, 1896, Stones River National Battlefield offers 26 acres of forested area with seven miles of walking trails – some paved and some not — that connect to the City of Murfreesboro’s Greenway system. The Greenway system offers fifteen more miles of paved trails that run along the Stones River and Lytle Creek.
The walk not only offers natural beauty, but also interpretive outposts explaining what happened during the battle. One of the bloodiest battles of the war, the trails are sad to be haunted.
1160 Otter Creek Road
Just up the road from Rutherford County, Radnor Lake State Park is tucked away in Oak Hill, a gracious housing area off of Granny White Pike in Nashville. The park boasts more than 1,300 acres of protected natural area that offers views that are a photographer’s dream.
Six miles of trails are available for use from six in the morning until dusk for walking, biking, jogging, and all-terrain wheelchairs. Bikes are only allowed on the Otter Creek Road Trail.
Because it is protected, an abundance of wildlife makes themselves available for viewing. Don’t be surprised if a Mama duck waddles her ducklings across your path. Other wildlife includes owls, heron, mink, otters, and many species of reptiles and amphibians.
At the wheelchair accessible Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center, there are demonstrations, educational programs, interpretive displays, and an observational space to view fall foliage flaming up in the valley below.
3Rural Cannon County
While there are many beautiful rural drives around Middle Tennessee, Cannon County has a unique blend of timeless rural aw-shucks and modern creative ingenuity.
The drive to Woodbury through a vista of rolling hills is filled with a riot of Fall colors. Before reaching the antique stores downtown, stop at the Art Center of Cannon County for culture – in the form of art and kombucha.
Keep driving through town for more natural beauty until you reach Short Mountain Distillery, their Stillhouse Restaurant is open this fall. It offers burgers made from beef raised on the Distillery’s farm, and a not to be missed Moonshine Brownie Ala Mode.
Travel past Franklin to Highway 100 to find the entrance to the Natchez Trace. Have a bite to eat at the famous Lovelace Café before taking a ride down part of the 444 miles of the Trace that runs through three states to Mississippi.
Lush forests of blazing colors can be viewed all along The Trace, which follows a historic path used 10,000 years ago by Paleolithic Indians, then later by settlers, slave traders, presidents, and soldiers. Dotted with pocket parks, waterfalls, and beautiful views out over hills and valleys, there are lots of places to explore both in and out of the car.