Bryant Grove Trail :: Long Hunter State Park

Usually when I’m heading to Long Hunter, I hike the Volunteer Trail. But, I was looking at a map of the state park and found a trail I hadn’t done: Bryant Grove. I’m not quite sure why I’d never seen this trail before, but I’m glad that I found it.

The Bryant Grove Trail runs from the Couchville Lake area to the Bryant Grove Area. (FYI: When I went, the Bryant Grove Area was closed from the road, so to be safe, start at Couchville Lake.) It’s almost completely flat and pretty much follows the shoreline of Percy Priest Lake. It’s an out-and-back trail so, it’ll be about 8 miles total if you do the whole thing.

This is a great trail to trail run because it’s flat and there’s relatively little roots and rocks on the trail. Parts of the trail are exposed and meander through limestone glades that feel unlike most Tennessee trails, which makes sense because limestone glades are pretty rare for this area.) It really does have a beach-y feel. This hike reminds me of one I did in a state park in the Florida panhandle. At the Bryant Grove area, there’s a few benches to take a break and look out onto the lake. Plus, there’s a great chance you’ll see some wildlife; I saw a few herons!

This trail looks and feels completely different than the Volunteer Trail and Day Loop, even though they are part of the same park and a mere miles from each other. So, if you want the full Long Hunter and Percy Priest hiking experience, don’t miss out on Bryant Grove!

The rare limestone glades
A heron!

Distance from Nashville: 30 minutes

Trailhead: Bryant Grove Trailhead at Couchville Lake

Trail: Bryant Grove Trail (Out-and-back)

Length of trail: 4.0 miles one way

Trail map: Long Hunter State Park Trail Map

Brief overview: Meander through both tree-lined trails and exposed beach-y limestone glades as you hug the coastline of Percy Priest Lake. A great trail to run or work on getting your hiking mileage up.

CREMA Instant Coffee and a Hike – Volunteer Day Loop :: Long Hunter State Park

Even though it’s less than 30 minutes from Nashville, Long Hunter State Park seems to stay relatively under the radar, taking a backseat to Radnor Lake and Percy/Edwin Warner Parks. 

Long Hunter State Park sits on the east side of Percy Priest Lake and has a handful of trails scattered through its four distinct sections – Bryant Grove, Couchville Lake, Bakers Grove, and Jones Mill.

The Volunteer Day Loop is in the Baker’s Grove section in the northern part of the park. It’s a four-mile trail that hugs Percy Priest Lake bluffs for half of the hike while the other half meanders through cedar groves. I think it’s as close to a perfect hike as you are going to get less than 30 minutes from Nashville. It’s a well-marked trail and a relatively flat and easy hike with a few spots along the shore that are perfect for setting up a hammock and making a cup of coffee.

Coffee has been a daily ritual for me since I was a teenager, whether at home or outdoors. Ten years of my life were spent working in coffee, so I am always searching for different ways or methods to bring great coffee and hiking together.

For me, making a cup of coffee in the outdoors usually requires a hand grinder, a brewing device like an Aeropress, filters, campstove, fuel, and water. (Whew!) All of this coffee gear adds weight and takes up space, but it was well worth it so that I could make a halfway decent cup of coffee. 

Now there’s a better way: actually good instant coffee! CREMA Coffee Roasters has partnered with Swift Cup Coffee to make instant coffee that, well, doesn’t taste like instant coffee. No more are the days of cramming multiple items into my pack, just to be able to drink good coffee in the outdoors. I’m sold.

I took some of the CREMA staff on this hike of the Volunteer Trail and we made fantastic trailside coffee with just a camp stove and water. Each little packet of instant coffee weighs practically nothing and you can bring exactly the amount that you need. (Bonus: The packaging is compostable. But, please always practice ‘leave no trace’ and pack everything out.) Instead of juggling multiple items, we just boiled water on a camp stove and mixed in the instant coffee. Not only does the CREMA instant coffee save weight and space in your pack, it also saves time. You’ll have that cup of coffee as fast as you can boil water, which is especially important on those chilly mornings after a not-so-great night’s rest in a tent.

Having an easy and convenient way to make coffee while outdoors is a game changer. I’ll be bringing my CREMA instant coffee along on many more hiking and camping adventures.

Ready to try it on your next outdoor excursion? Get it here or stop by either of the CREMA locations in person (15 Hermitage Ave and 226 Duke St).

Want to win a couple packs of CREMA instant coffee? Before Thursday, November 14, follow @cremacrema and @shehikestn on Instagram and tag a friend in CREMA’s instagram post!

Distance from Nashville: 30 min

Directions to trailhead: Baker’s Grove Trailhead of Long Hunter State Park off of Hobson Pike

Trail: Volunteer Day Loop (route in orange)

Link to trail map: Long Hunter State Park Trail Map

Length of trail: 4 miles, allow 1.5 hours

Brief Overview: A pleasant, easy day hike close to the city with lake views, cedar groves and a few quiet spots for relaxing in a hammock or making CREMA instant coffee.

Note: The full Volunteer Trail is 5.5 miles one way and ends in a backcountry campsite. You need a reservation to camp and can reserve a campsite here. So if you only want the 4-mile loop, follow signs for the Day Loop Trail!