The natural beauty you’ll find in the green hills and winding rivers in Humphreys County is indisputably stunning. And how better to experience that beauty than by getting out in it? Humphreys County is home to plenty of beautiful spots to get out and put your feet on the ground and take a hike, but also to throw some knee pads and a helmet and take the bikes out (with or without a motor!). There are even a few horseback trails for a more rustic way to enjoy the beauty of untouched Humphreys County.
Be sure to gear up, ask a few friends to head out with you, or just go alone with your four-legged best friend and see what Humphreys County is hiding in these hills and hollers.
The Johnsonville State Historic Park was originally established back in 1971 to “preserve, protect, and share the former site of Johnsonville”. The town of Johnsonville started in 1864 as a supply depot during the Civil War and was named after the then-governor, Andrew Johnson. Thanks to a bridge built across the Tennessee River in 1867, Johnsonville was able to thrive as a railroad town until it ceased to exist in 1944 when the Tennessee Valley Authority built the Kentucky Dam on the Tennessee River, thus flooding the town and creating Kentucky Lake.
The park is now 2000 acres of protected land filled with a variety of wildlife along the eastern bank of Kentucky Lake, prime for exploring and fishing. Three separate trails provide over 10 miles of hiking ranging from easy to difficult, so there’s a trail for every fitness level.
The easiest trail in the park is the half-mile African American Cemetery Loop Trail with a crushed rock surface. This trail meanders around the marked graves of African American Union soldiers who died in battle and offers an observation deck of Trace Creek. Here you can even catch a glimpse of bald eagles in the winter when the mudflats are exposed.
The eight-mile Historic Johnsonville Trail is the longest, but not the most difficult trail in the park. As it loops around the park, along the Tennessee River, through mature forests, and even across a creek or two, you’ll get to see an untouched side of Humphreys County that you will never forget.
The most difficult hike is the two-mile Civil War Forts Trail runs along the earth-dug trenches and embankments that were built up to defend against attacks from the Tennessee River during the war. This natural surface trail has quite a few ups and downs, so be prepared for a workout on this one!
Whether you’re running along with headphones in or taking your time and taking in the sights, the trails of Johnsonville State Historic Park is sure to please. You can find maps at each trailhead or save this one to your phone. Be sure to take note of the Old Railway Trail on the map. It’s a bonus hike along what remains of an old railroad track that gives amazing views of the river it used to cross.
Now we’re going to blow your mind with all the hiking and biking and riding options you will have available to you at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. There are more than 6000 acres at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, with campgrounds and RV hookups and is one of Tennessee’s largest tourist attractions as a well-known venue for concerts and other outdoor events. From hiking and horseback riding to motocross and off-roading, you can find it all here.
Did you know the world’s largest and most prestigious amateur motocross racing program is not only sponsored by Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, but their championship races are held there each year as well? Nearly 25,000 racers and their families come here each year for “The World’s Greatest Motocross Vacation.” The week-long event is the final stop for amateur motocross racers before they move up to the pros and has seen the likes of Ricky Carmichael and Travis Pastrana win titles here before they hit it big. The world-class track is usually only for qualified drivers during the championship events, but The Ranch does open it up to the public on occasion and invites all 4-wheel ATV and dirt bike riding enthusiasts and their families to different events throughout the year.
If you prefer to do your off-roading in your 4×4 Jeep, there’s annual fun for you too. Hosted by Topless in Tennessee Jeep Club, the TN TrailJam held at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch each year boasts of over 20 miles of trails, an obstacle course they improve upon ever year, mud bogs, hill climbs, and backroad rides to put your Jeep to the test. With over 300 camping sites among 3 different lodging sites across The Ranch as well as cabins and fully powered RV spots, you should plan to go each year and make it a family tradition.
Maybe you’re a purist when it comes to off-roading. If that’s the case, Loretta Lynn’s Ranch also hosts several horseback riding events throughout the year, every year. For a rustic vacation experience, they host bi-annual trail ride events where the trail ride fees include creekside campsites, covered and panel stalls, training courses, hayrides, a swimming pool, movie night, and even three meals a day! They even have a used tack auction where you can make some money off your old riding gear.
Even if you prefer to keep your two wheels on the pavement, there’s an annual event at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch for motorcycle enthusiasts as well. The rumble of the engine, the feel of the wind in your hair, everyone should experience riding a motorcycle at some point in their lives. The Tennessee Motorcycles and Music Revival is a four-day festival celebrating music and motorcycles as well as food, art, and southern hospitality.
While all these annual events are currently still on for 2021, be sure to keep an eye on the event calendar for any Covid-19 requirements or scheduling changes.
As you can see, there are many ways to enjoy the outdoors in Humphreys County. Whether you experience it on foot, on a bike, on horseback, or on a motorcycle, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate nature. So, get outside, breathe deeply, and hit the trails as you leave the sounds of the city behind.
ITINERARY POINTS OF INTEREST
Johnsonville State Historic Park
A several thousand-acre park filled with a variety of wildlife, beautiful river views, and over 10 miles of hiking trails.
One of Tennessee’s biggest tourist attractions and campgrounds making it perfect for several outdoor riding and biking events through the year.
AMA Annual Motocross Championship
Considered to be the world’s biggest amateur motocross championship and the next big step for amateur riders in their career.
An annual event held by and for off-roading Jeep enthusiasts with amazing trails, mud bogs, and hill climbs to test your skills.
Tennessee Motorcycles and Music Revival
A four-day event held each year to celebrate a love of motorcycles and music on the beautiful Loretta Lynn Ranch and Campground.