Memphis, Tennessee, is best-known for Elvis-themed attractions like Graceland and Sun Studio. Though the city is home to a rich history, many fascinating museums, and tons of cultural attractions, it also offers a wealth of outdoor highlights. If you’re spending your time here indoors, you’re missing out. Stretch your legs and try some of these top outdoor adventures in and around the city.
Wolf River Greenway
The Wolf River Greenway is currently about 2.6 miles, running from the Germantown City Greenway system to Shady Grove Road and Walnut Grove Road. The trail follows the Wolf River’s southern bank, with a good portion bordering Shelby Farms Park. In coming years, the trail is expected to expand by another 23 miles, traveling throughout the city of Memphis. Between 10 and 12 feet wide throughout, this pathway makes for a comfortable walk with charming water views.
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
Image via Flickr by SL-Focus-Imaging
Just north of the city, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park is paradise for adventurers who want to get away from it all. The Pioneer Springs Hiking Trail covers about four miles and takes you past the original Pioneer Springs, which still flow freely. Two 18-hole disc golf courses are just the thing for a friendly afternoon game if you’re traveling with a good-sized party. Poplar Tree Lake is a popular spot for boating and fishing. You can rent a boat from the park or bring your own for a modest launch fee.
Though lakeside cabins are available for a rustic retreat, this destination is also less than half an hour from downtown Memphis, for those who prefer to end the day in the comforts of swankier Memphis hotels.
T.O. Fuller State Park
T.O. Fuller State Park offers both recreation and history. The 1,000-acre park is the site of the prehistoric Chucalissa Indian Village. Visitors can tour the remains of the village, view artifacts uncovered on the site, and explore a museum. The park also holds historic significance as being the first park east of the Mississippi that was designated for African-Americans.
The park is just 15 miles from downtown but has no trace of the urban feel of Memphis. Rather, you’ll find rugged hiking trails and picturesque picnic tables and grills. The Olympic-size swimming pool is open seasonally.
If you like to blend your rustic adventures with more cultured highlights, Overton Park has everything you’re after. This public park offers a variety of outdoor activities including a nine-hole golf course, two playgrounds, and the Old Forest State Natural Area spanning 126 acres. Also located on-site you’ll find the Memphis Zoo and Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. If you’re traveling with a pet, this is an essential stop. Overton Bark, located within the park, is a fenced dog park complete with clean-up stations and water fountains for furry friends.
Don’t spend your visit to Memphis confined to the indoors. Get out every chance that you can and hike, bike, or stroll through some of these popular delights that will give you a broader appreciation for all this area has to offer.