Sunday Hikes: Cedars of Lebanon State Park

Not every hike has perfect cloudless blue skies and that warm, but not too warm, temperature. But every hike is a good hike. I’ve wanted to check out the Cedars of Lebanon State Park for awhile now because of the cool name.

Located about 30 miles east of Nashville TN, this is one of what seems like dozens of gorgeous state parks located off of I-40 between Nashville and Knoxville. The park is named after the Eastern Red Cedars that thrived in this area. Early American settlers to this area thought the trees reminded them of cedar forests across the Mount Lebanon area of Biblical fame.

The hiking conditions were typical of hiking in the southeastern US in winter. Overcast, damp and a chilly 38*F. It was late afternoon so I decided to hike the namesake Cedar Forest Trail which is a 2 mile loop.

This hike is what I call a lollipop trail, this one with a short stick and a big loop. The trail started off right off the main road through the forest. After taking the right fork of the loop we started to get some rocks but the only cedars I saw were quite small. I managed to slip on one rock and bust my shin.

The back half of the loop was surrounded by sinkholes with one having what appeared to be a small cave opening. There were also many more of the cedars but none seemed anywhere near full grown.

This area isn’t really that far from Mammoth Cave National Park, so I wondered if there was a similar cave system underneath this park. Maybe it’s even connected?!

I finally saw a few larger cedars along with more sinkholes. Turns out this area was almost completely logged before it became a state park so all the older cedars were long gone. I crossed through a large rock field and then completed the loop and then back down the “stick” to the parking area.

I really enjoyed the hike, with the exception of bloodying my shin. I recommend this state park if you are in the area and want to get in a quick hike. As always, thanks for reading. rk

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