Although my knee had been bothering me a touch, I still wanted to go outdoors and get some fresh air. I eventually compromised by choosing the very flat 1.0-mi hike at the Couchville Cedar Glade Natural Area. Quite honestly, I had never even heard of this trail before, but stumbled upon it by chance while looking through a guidebook of local hikes. Although the site is managed by Long Hunter State Park, it has a totally separate parking lot/entrance off of a completely different road than the main entrance, making it quite difficult to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
The small parking lot was completely deserted, which is good because I whipped in too quickly after almost missing my turn. The only indication that I was in the right spot was a single brown sign marking the site as a State Natural Area next to a skinny unmarked dirt trail. Upon following the trail for a few hundred yards, there was finally another sign explaining the history of the site. Apparently the area is known for a large presence of the Tennessee coneflower, a purple flower in the sunflower family, which I saw a few examples of along the route. Shortly past the second sign, the trail split off into the one mile loop.
You can tell the trail isn’t heavily or frequently trafficked because even though it’s well-marked, the undergrowth is thriving and shows no sign of being trampled. As an introvert, the solitude was a lovely change of pace; however, despite the lack of people, there wasn’t any silence. In addition to being cicada season, the trail is in the path of planes taking off from the Nashville International Airport, meaning that the hikers below are regularly
subjugated treated to the sound of roaring airplanes from above.