This family-friendly rec area doesn’t just have nearly 13 miles of hiking trails—it’s also the only state park in Tennessee with a “boundless playground,” where kids of all abilities can interact and have fun together while exploring nature.
In far northeast Tennessee between Interstate 81 and the Kentucky state line sits Warriors’ Path State Park, a 940-acre oasis of waterfront recreation boasting 12.8 miles of easy to intermediate hiking trails. The tall bluffs, tranquil streams, and abundant wildflowers make its trails a pleasant network of laid-back outdoor fun. From riverbanks to disappearing streams, there’s no shortage of natural wonder to hold your attention along your stroll. It’s also the only state park with a totally inclusive “Boundless Playground”, specially designed to accommodate visitors of all levels of physical and mental abilities.
What Makes It Great
The trails at Warriors’ Path State Park all are on the easy to intermediate end of the scale, ranging in length from 0.5 to 2.9 miles. The Riverbank and Lakeshore Trails are each simple .5-mile paths that follow alongside the water’s edge, while Devils Backbone Trail spans 2.5 miles of slightly more difficult terrain on the other side of the river. Over on the the Sinking Waters Trail, the park’s toughest (which is still fairly accessible for the relatively inexperienced hiker), feast your eyes on majestic sycamore and boxwood along and test yourself with a couple of steep inclines before cooling your jets in the on-site swimming pool.
The park has plenty of notable features, but the most remarkable of all is its inclusive design. It’s the only Tennessee State Park where people of all levels of mental and physical ability are encouraged to learn, play and experience nature together in a “boundless playground” environment. Specifically, a quarter-mile trail tells the story of Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia, using braille to include guests who are visually impaired, and a fully-accessible treehouse promotes interactive play among kids with and without disabilities.
Who is Going to Love It
Since this park is exemplary in its inclusiveness with regard to ability levels, it’s a must-see for anyone and everyone, particularly families with children. More experienced hikers aren’t going to get a hardcore workout here, but it’s great for a recovery day.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Interstate 81, take exit 59 and head west/northwest on Fort Henry Drive, then turn right on Colonial Heights Road and in less than a mile, make another right onto Warrior Drive, which leads into the park. Follow signs for parking.