The day use trail clocks in at a half mile, so if you’re looking for something easy, go for that one. You could opt for the Discovery Trail if you want a four mile excursion, or do both for the longest run you can compile in the park.
Destination Distance From Downtown
2 of 5 diamonds
The half mile day use trail is quick and easy for everyone, but the four-mile Discovery Trail is a moderate challenging hike or trail run that could be difficult for kids and some adults.
One of the first parks open to African Americans east of the Mississippi, T.O. Fuller State Park in Memphis Tennessee offers two hiking and running options to its visitors: the shorter day use trail and the lengthier Discovery Trail, both covering some historic ground through a preserved archaeological site. Operated by the University of Memphis, the trails move through the Chucalissa Native American Village as well as spectacular wetlands. There are also several shelters and picnic tables, a pool, and a meeting center to take advantage of as well as a museum for maximum learning. Camping among hardwood trees that can accommodate tents or RVs is an option too if you want to extend your stay.
What Makes It Great
T.O. Fuller State Park is full of history, and its location in Memphis proper makes it a quick and easy way to get close to nature when visiting the city.
The day use trail is a relaxing half mile jaunt that’s perfect for walkers and runners of any age. The Discovery Trail, however, is a four-mile loop that provides just the right amount of challenge to make it a moderate hike or run. The Discovery Trail is light on traffic, so you can plan on a serene experience surrounded by wildflowers and towering trees—running along this route will make you forget that you’re actually in the middle of a urban area. This history of the site is another reason that the park deserves a visit: you can pass by Mississippian mounds constructed by Native Americans between AD 1,000 and 1,5000.
There can be poison ivy in the summer, so keep your eyes peeled for that, and after a good storm it can take the staff a bit of time to recoup the trail, so don’t be surprised if things are a little muddy after a rain. Once your outdoor excursion has wrapped up, you can wander through the Chucalissa Archaeological Museum that’s maintained and managed by the University of Memphis.
Who is Going to Love It
Whether you’re looking for an easy shake-out run or a more challenging adventure, the two trails here are a solid option if you are short on time or don’t want to travel too far from Memphis. Runners who also have a penchant for history will be especially ecstatic to see the Chucalissa Indian Village. Bird watchers will like what they find here, too—you can expect to encounter all kinds of feathered creatures from garden variety ducks to soaring bald eagles.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The visitor center can be found at 1987 Indian Village Drive in Memphis.