Fort Donelson Battlefield Loop

Nashville, Tennessee 37218

Fort Donelson Battlefield Loop

Fort Donelson Battlefield Loop Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This hike loops the perimeter of Fort Donelson National Battlefield, on the shores of Lake Barkley. Along the way, it visits a monument, river batteries, troop trenches, and log huts from the Civil War. You will be surprised at both the steepness of the terrain and the natural beauty that accompanies this special place."

Fort Donelson Battlefield Loop Trip Reports

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Overall the trail was very nice. Plenty of wildlife to view. The trail was clean and kept well. only bad part of the trail was the very beginning, it followed the road and had some tree branches overhanging the trail, and the few bridges we crossed were very slippery. Although it had handrails, you could slip and fall.
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The first 10-15 minutes of this hike are doubly frustrating -- it parallels the park road and yet is frequently hard to follow -- go figure. But once you get into the woods and near the water, it is very pleasant. Even if you are not a military history buff (I am not), some of those cannons and earth-mound barricades are very impressive. One section of the description is incorrect -- where it says the trail is hard to follow and directs you to head uphill toward some huts, the trail is actually well-marked and doesn't go anywhere near the huts, so you get to decide whether you want to follow the book or the trail. Each has its rewards, so wander that area freely before continuing on the itinerary.
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Very good hike for the moderate or inexperienced hiker. Makes a good training hike. First portion of the hike is misleading as it is flat and next to the main entry road. We nearly turned around to find another hike when we spotted the the area where the trail at last left the road area. Soon we were on a nice hike. Deer crossed the path and at at the river we were lucky enough to spot a bald eagle resting in a tree. The river view is excellent. You might consider backpacking a lunch as the trail crosses a picnic area at the river. If you like civil war history this hike is for you as well. Several points of interest along the way. (K. Browne)

Fort Donelson Battlefield Loop Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
2.5 hours
Local Contacts
USGS Dover; at
Local Maps