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Backcountry Camp at the Wildcat Shelter

Burns, Tennessee



2.8 miles

Route Type



Added by Bailey Robbins

Find your overnight oasis on a quick backpacking trip only 45 minutes away from Nashville. Hike in about 1.4 miles to camp comfortably underneath a wooded shelter near a running stream and a small trail leading to Acorn Lake.

Start this adventure by retrieving your backcountry camping permit from the park office. There is no option to reserve a campsite online, so give the staff a call and they'll have it ready upon your arrival. From the office, turn left as if you're exiting the park. Before exiting, turn right into a small parking lot (this isn't marked on the map). Here, you'll see a sign to the entrance of the Montgomery Bell Trail. At this point, load up and start a pleasant 1.4-mile hike through mossy groves and small streams to the Wildcat Shelter. As you cross the last stream at around 1.4 miles, you'll see the wooded shelter to the right of the trail. You can't miss it!

Enjoy this little campsite oasis complete with a fire pit area, stream for water filtering and a seemingly private trail that follows the water to Acorn Lake. The shelter also provides a surface for your tent, but please note tents are only allowed in the shelter — not the trail. If planning to camp without a tent, this area is especially buggy in the summertime so come prepared. 

In order to return from this adventure, you'll want to retrace your hike back to the parking lot. This is about a 2.8-mile roundtrip. 

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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