So Much to Do in South Central Tennessee!

By Rene Lance

Spring is finally here, and if all you want to do is go outside, South Central Tennessee is the place to be. Horseback riders can visit Clearview Horse Farm, located in Shelbyville, and Circle E Guest Ranch in Belvidere. These are just two of many places in this gorgeous part of Tennessee. Find them online at and

Clearview Horse Farm is an all-breed working horse farm. Three horse-themed B&B rooms, trail riding (bring your own horse or rent one of theirs), RV hookups, fishing, pool, buggy rides and more. Close by is the Historic Shelbyville Square with many great shops and restaurants you can stroll around the square to enjoy. To learn more about the Tennessee Walking horses, you can also go to Wartrace and visit the Tennessee Walking Horse Museum. From Wartrace, travel the back roads to Bell Buckle and enjoy the southern charm of antiques and current fashion boutiques. If you did not eat in Shelbyville, make sure you eat at the Bell Buckle Cafe.

Circle E Guest Ranch, located in Belvidere in the Cumberland Mountains, is just eight miles from Winchester. Nestled on the fringe of over 10,000 acres of uninhabited mountain land, you will experience breathtaking views of the mountains, caves, waterfalls, creeks and four seasons of color with abundant wildlife. Circle E Ranch offers miles and miles of trails of varying lengths and difficulty. Campsites and rustic log cabins are available and fully furnished with barns and stables available for your horse.SONY DSC

While in Belvidere, you could also visit Falls Mill, which was built in 1873 and is a working water-powered grain mill and museum. Open to the public for tours each day except Wednesday, you can also take a self-guided tour of the building and grounds. Visit the country store or stay a night at their log cabin.

South Central Tennessee has so many places to hike that this activity is quite difficult to narrow down. If you’re familiar with the area, this is a great way to explore a new place. All of our Tennessee state parks have great trails and bike routes, for all levels of difficulty. Definitely download the free TN State Parks Outdoor Guide smartphone app for all available options.

At Tim’s Ford State Park, be sure to enjoy the swinging bridges on Lost Creek Overlook Trail, which is only 1.3 miles point to point. Go to Henry Horton State Park for Wilhoite Mill Trail, which is the shortest trail at Henry Horton with nice views of the Duck River. It is definitely worth seeing, even though it is still marked “under development” on all of the maps. Mousetail Landing State Park is located on the Tennessee River, and fishing is a popular activity there. Fishing is permitted anywhere you can reach water. Bass, bream, crappie, stripe and catfish can be caught along the banks. David Crockett State Park is also nice. In addition to the paved bike trail, the park has more than six miles of hiking trails. The trails offer scenic vistas of Shoal Creek and Crockett Falls, limestone bluffs, abundant wildlife and serene forests. The Overlook Trail runs parallel to the Shoal Creek Trail. Old Stone Fort State Park has an earth and stone enclosure, built as a sacred site by Woodland Native Americans almost 2000 years ago.

If you want to hike and see beautiful waterfalls, visit Short Springs State Natural Area. It is off Highway 55 in Tullahoma and can be found online at It is located three miles west on Country Club Drive off Hwy 55 and is a 420-acre preserve that features waterfalls and walking trails. Short Springs is one of the very best spring wildflower locations in the state. If you want to hike and see beautiful landscapes, try hiking and cycling at the Sewanee University of the South trails. The Perimeter Trail offers gorgeous views and excellent terrain for hiking, mountain biking and running along the bluff of the Cumberland Plateau. The trail can be accessed within a 5-minute walk from central campus. It features beautiful overlooks, interesting geological features, two lakes, and plenty of forests. Caving and climbing sites are easily accessed from the trail. Moun-tain and road cycle the campus for 15 miles of single-track and 25 miles of secondary trails, all on campus. Also, St. Andrews has a 7-mile loop of single-track. That’s a total of 47 miles of trails available to cyclists. Additionally, quiet country roads extend from Sewanee for any distance. For visitors, the best place to park is Lake Cheston.

More interested in water? South Central Tennessee is still your place. We have several lakes and rivers, with canoeing outfits to experience the beauty firsthand. Crazy Horse Canoe ( on the Buffalo River offers over a half mile of scenic bank on the Buffalo River for camping, canoeing, fishing, and many other outdoor activities. On-site shower houses, restrooms, picnic tables, and other convenient amenities are at the nearby convenience store.

SONY DSCRiver Rat Canoe on the Duck River ( offers canoe and kayak rentals with 5-mile and 9-mile trips down the Duck River. Also on the Duck River is Higher Pursuits ( In addition to canoe and kayak rental, they also provide canoe & kayak instruction, as well as guided trips that highlight part of the Duck River Blueway, desig-nated as a state scenic river. The Duck River has something for everyone and can be enjoyed by novices, families and experienced paddlers. It features historic mill sites and a great abundance of wildlife. Many paddlers are fortunate enough to see great blue herons, belted kingfishers, bald eagles, minks, muskrats and river otters. In the water, there are fish galore, and on the streambed are thousands of freshwater mussels, including some found only in this area.

Elk River Canoes ( offers every visitor, young or old, a chance to ex-perience the peace and joy of floating a beautiful river, whether on canoe, kayak or tubes. You’ll see blue herons soaring, “leading” you down the river, turtles basking in the sun on a log at the edge of the cool clear water. The Elk River is well known to trout and bass fishermen throughout the area. Tims Ford Lake and State Park, with its excellent campgrounds, swimming pool, hike and bike trails, is nearby. At Kelso, just down the road, tour Prichard’s Distillery for free. Close by City of Fayetteville is known for its historic town square, consisting of specialty and antique shops.

This should give you an idea of the multitude of back roads, trails and rivers to explore Check out for a wide variety of outdoor activities and day trip ideas including walking and hiking trails, waterfalls, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, cycling, geocaching, state parks, golf courses, Frisbee golf, skeet shooting and more.

Rene Lance is the Executive Director of South Central Tennessee Tourism.  Find her on Facebook and Twitter.  

About Cody Newbold

Cody Newbold holds a Bachelor of Science in software engineering from Middle Tennessee State University and serves as Director of Digital Innovation for Validity Publishing.

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