The Best Places to Go Hiking Near Memphis, Tennessee

The natural beauty surrounding Memphis makes this city an ideal base from which to go hiking
The natural beauty surrounding Memphis makes this city an ideal base from which to go hiking | © D Guest Smith / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Frank Lopez
Writer19 August 2020

Memphis is an easy place to escape from – into a world of waterfalls, dense forests, lake shorelines, caverns and, sometimes, plenty of mud. The summers are hot and hard work to hike in, but the views and shady trails make it hugely worth the effort. Here’s Culture Trip’s pick of trails within easy reach of this Tennessee city.

Wolf River Blue, White and Yellow Loop Trails

Hiking Trail
Map View

This popular loop on the edges of East Memphis is around 12.5mi (20km) long and extremely well maintained. It is a pretty solid trek and takes in some hills that you can do at pace. There are snakes in the more wetland areas to take into account, but not dangerous enough to put you off the challenge. It is a peaceful choice and its many shaded portions make it an ideal hike for a sunny day.

Shelby Farms Park Greenline

Hiking Trail
Map View

This 10.5-mi (17-km) trek is point-to-point, rather than a loop, good for all fitness levels and walkable all year around. It’s fully paved, making it very popular with bikers and skaters, but less than ideal if you prefer rugged, out-of-the-way trails, or are looking for peace and quiet. In fact, you could say that it is one of the most social trails in the whole state.

TO Fuller State Park trails

Hiking Trail, Park
Map View

This 3.6-mi (5.8-km) trail offers the option of really getting a sweat on, or take a gentle stroll through the wonders of nature while nibbling on trail mix. If you choose to get into it, there are some steep, challenging hills, as well as quite a lot of poison oak and ivy, so it is best to keep your dog on a leash if you have one.

Big River Trail

Hiking Trail
Map View

If your idea of a perfect trek is short and easy but awash with fantastic views across the Mississippi River, head for this 2.5mi(4km) West Memphis trail. It’s spectacularly atmospheric, with birdsong and the sound of trains rattling across the bridge echoing as you walk, and it’s a great choice for those walking with kids or who’d prefer not to venture too far from the city.

Stanky Creek Trails

Hiking Trail
Map View

The Stank, as it’s known locally, is three separate trails (blue, yellow and white) found northeast of Memphis, amounting to around 9mi (14.5km) in total. However much you wish to take on, you’re guaranteed to see plenty of wildlife. The white trail is the toughest, with challenging ups and downs that draw cyclists from miles around looking for a good workout.

Herb Parsons Lake Trail

Natural Feature, Hiking Trail
Map View

The Herb Parsons Lake Trail is a 6-mi (9.6-km) loop in Collierville. Enjoy the tranquility as you wind away from the lake, into the lush woods and back again. You can adapt your route by taking easier or harder paths, all of which are clearly marked, and end your walk with a swim in the lake or a hearty picnic.

These recommendations were updated on August 19, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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