Hike and Camp on the Volunteer Trail

11 miles  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Rachel O'Neil

The Volunteer trail is a great 5.5 mile one-way day hike or as a relaxing one night camping trip. This trail has slight increases in elevation as it leaves the shore and climbs up the bluffs overlooking the lake. Plan to enjoy rock gardens, mossy cedar glades, scenic lake views, and even cactus on this 11 mile journey.

Starting at the Bakers Grove Area parking lot, start hiking on the lovely wood chipped trail. The Volunteer Trail and Day Loop share this first section of the trail.

In about .5 miles you will reach a sign and a junction on the trail. Follow the whites blazes on The Volunteer Trail to the right (the Day Loop goes Left with Orange Blazes). A gradual uphill will bring you the 2nd junction of the Day Loop and Volunteer Trail in about 1.3 miles. Turn right at the junction and pass a kiosk.

The trail continues through a rock garden, and for the next few miles you'll pass several rocky coves, beaches, and view points. Some of these beach areas have illegal campsites- tempting, but stop there for a snack and photo opp only. We hiked in the evening so were able to catch a pretty rad sunset (this also meant night hiking - so make sure you are prepared and are using fully charged headlamps).

The trail continues to the east through another rock garden, and through a mossy cedar grove. Just beyond that you'll reach the primitive campsite. There is a large fire ring, with stump benches, and plenty of tent and hammock spots. Stop here for the night, or a break and then take the same trail back to the parking lot for a total of 11 miles.

A few notes about the Volunteer Trail:
This trail is great as a day hike, or as an overnight. Either way, please Leave No Trace. Although this trail is isolated, there can be a lot of litter that washes up on the shore. Please play your part and pick up a few pieces to pack out.

The Volunteer Trail and Day Loop are becoming quite popular. Don't let a full parking lot deter you: most people hike the Day Loop so you can enjoy a quiet Volunteer Trail.

Read More

Tags

Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
Scenic
Swimming Hole

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Lovely Place, In Unlovely Surroundings

The park itself is beautiful. But between the people who trash it beyond belief and how well you can hear "the outside world" anywhere on the hike it lessens the enjoyment. Still, it's a great one night, chill sort of hike and waking up at dawn to look over the lake is almost worth any of the bad.

Fun Intermediate Hike

Brisk hike with lots of rock formation and gorgeous views of the lake. Take care for the Prickly Pear Cactus that grow alongside the trail in certain locations! One thing you may want to be aware of - if you are looking for a quiet, peaceful hike, you may want to avoid this trail on holidays during the summer months. The trail runs right along Percy Priest Lake for much of the time and boaters like to anchor nearby - especially at "Party Cove." Loud music and revelers can make it feel like you've been invited to the party, too.

Beautiful Views

Great intermediate hike along the volunteer trail. Prepare for gorgeous sunsets and sunrises, however beware that the trail runs directly under the airplane travel area and you'll get lots of overhead noise. Otherwise a great hike! We'll be back!

Stay Nearby

Nashville, Tennessee

Smith Springs

Overview Smith Springs Recreation Area is a lakeside oasis in the hills of middle Tennessee, providing visitors with countless recreational activities on the lake and in the surrounding woods and g...

Mt. Juliet, Tennessee

Seven Points (Tn)

Overview Seven Points Campground is a lakeside oasis in the green hills of Tennessee, providing visitors with countless recreational activities on the lake and the surrounding miles of woods and gr...

Nashville, Tennessee

Anderson Road

Overview Anderson Road Campground is a lakeside oasis in the green hills of Tennessee, providing campers with countless recreational activities on the lake and in the surrounding woods and grasslan...

Nashville, Tennessee

Cook Day Use Area

Overview Cook Day Use Area is a lakeside oasis in the hills of middle Tennessee, providing visitors with countless recreational activities on the lake and in the surrounding woods and grasslands.Re...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike the Day Loop at Long Hunter State Park

    Park at the Bakers Grove Area and take the newly wood chipped wood chip trail into the forest. Cross a small bridge, snake through a rock garden, and pass a sign indicating you are hiking the Day Loop Trail.There will be orange and white blazes. T...

    4 miles

  • Hike the Hidden Springs Trail

    This trail is a prime spot for anyone who wants to get a simple, but enjoyable walk in the woods. It's very well marked, flat, and can be enjoyed in any weather. Also, it is very dog friendly- Jolene loved it!Starting at the Trailhead across from ...

    4.5 miles

  • Hike around Radnor Lake

    If you want a break from the city, take an early morning hike around Radnor Lake. Start this quiet trek by arriving at sunrise to snag a parking spot at the East Parking Lot. Walk down Otter Creek Road until you see the Lake Trail on the right. Fr...

    2.6 miles

  • Explore Stones River National Battlefield

    On the last day of 1862 one of the bloodiest conflicts in the American Civil War started. By the time the Battle of Stones River ended on 2 January 1863 each side had suffered the highest percentage of casualties. For many reasons this was one of ...

    3.3 miles 85 ft gain