Named after Andrew Johnson, our 17th president and Tennessee’s Union Military Governor during the Civil War, this state park covers more than 1,000 acres. It was the site of the historic Battle of Johnsonville in 1864, and was also once the site of the town of Johnsonville. Unfortunately, this Civil War-era Union supply depot was flooded by the creation of Kentucky Lake in 1944. Today, the park features three hiking trails for a total of 10.5 miles of trail running.
What Makes It Great
Just a few minutes north of New Johnsonville, which was incorporated in 1949 after the original town was covered in water by the Tennessee Valley Authority, Johnsonville State Park is a beautiful place to head out on a challenging trail run.
The eight-mile Historic Johnsonville Trail is the longest in the park, making a long loop around the park’s other attractions. First, it heads downriver along the Tennessee and eventually traverses the signature rolling hills, cutting down Meredith Hollow, and meeting up with its beginning point along Trace Creek. Most of this trail is through the woods, and there are a couple creek crossings, too.
The more strenuous two-mile Civil War Forts Trail sticks to the hilly (and historically significant) center of the park, while the half-mile, crushed rock African-American Cemetery Loop goes around a few marked graves in a cemetery that was part of a church when Old Johnsville existed. This shorter trail also has an observation deck (behind the reconstructed soldier cabins) for viewing Trace Creek.
Who is Going to Love It
Johnsonville is a bit out of the way for most, but its recreational opportunities and history more than make up for its relative remoteness. There’s also abundant boating, fishing, and birdwatching at the park, so it’s worth bringing the whole family. The trails themselves are certainly on the more technical side, but the Historic Johnsonville Trail has several bailout options if the full loop distance is too much.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Johnsonville State Historic Park is located at 90 Nell Beard Road in New Johnsonville, Tennessee.