Residing in the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee, Henry Horton State Park is home to a wide range of activities and serene spots. Here is where people come when they are looking for a weekend getaway in the picturesque and pastoral Middle Tennessee. The 1,140-acre state park is situated on the shores of the historic Duck River, less than an hour south of Nashville. The park offers hours of recreational fun and entertainment to its visitors.
Henry Horton State Park is named and located at the estate of the late 36th governor of Tennessee, Henry H. Horton. The park was constructed in the 1960s. With its prime location, visitors to the park will get to explore Duck River, one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. On the Wilhoite Mill Trail in the park, you will also get to see the remnants of a mill and bridge operated by the family of Horton’s spouse for over a century.
This Tennessee state park has options for anyone wanting to spend more than a day here. There are a variety of lodging options including one lodge, 8 cabins, 56 TV campsites, ten tenth campsites, nine primitive campsites, and three backcountry campsites. If you have a large company, you can use one of the three group campsites.
When you are here, remember to visit the Governor’s Table restaurant at the Inn for some delicious dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. There is also a lounge to unwind after a long day of adventure and fun.
Henry Horton State Park makes sure no one feels left out. Pick any activity to fill your day whether hiking, swimming, fishing, golfing, sport shooting, or birding among so many others. This park is great for rejuvenation in nature and away from your common surroundings.
As mentioned before, Henry Horton State Park is overflowing with activities and spots you can visit in your stay here. As you select a place for a weekend getaway, time in nature is more than ideal. It’s even better when the destination also has a restaurant and lounge to eat and relax at after a day full of activity.
At Henry Horton, you can pick from hiking, fishing, golfing, trap and skeet, birding, or biking. You can also go on guided river floats and explore Duck River. If you love history, visit the Duck River Educational Room at the park to learn more about the historic river.
There are several trails for hikers to explore at Henry Horton State Park. The trails are varied with many showcasing the park’s diverse ecosystem from wooded areas, the lake, and sinkholes among others. All trails are rich in biodiversity which makes them great spots for checklists for insects or birds. Some of the trails also provide a perfect opportunity for a walk to enjoy nature.
There is an Olympic-sized pool and a snack bar at Henry Horton State Park. The pool operates from 10 am to 6 pm daily. You will need pool passes before using the pool which can be purchased at the park office or online.
The Old Mill Snack Shack which is found at the pool has pizza, delicious burgers, snacks, ice cream, drinks, and much more.
The Duck River provides an excellent habitat for Redeye, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, and catfish. Fishing can be done at the banks or using small boats. There are areas that are perfect for fly fishing.
Henry Horton State Park has many areas that are ideal habitats for birds. These include limestone cedar glades, mature deciduous forests, fields, and young woodlands. The Duck River, which is known to be the most ecologically diverse ecosystem, has many opportunities for birding. The river can be accessed via the Adelie Wilhoite Horton River Trail, Wilhoite Mill Trail, and the river access at the picnic loop.
Herons can be spotted hunting for fish in the shallows while belted kingfishers can be seen flying over. Barn owls are mostly heard during winter and spring evenings in the trees lining the Duck River.
You will spot find black vultures, turkeys, and red-tailed hawks flying above open areas.
Thrasher, yellow-breasted chat, and the common yellowthroat are easily found along the Adeline Wilhoite River Trail as it traverses the cedar glade and the old field habitats. The 20-foot observation tower on this trail is an excellent spot for spotting a variety of birds on the large native grassland and wetland. Song sparrows, ducks, and wild turkeys can be observed here.
During the winter, ruby, golden-crowned kinglets, hermit thrush, Carolina chickadee, barred owl, and white-breasted nuthatch can be spotted in the nearby woods. The spring and fall migration brings with it a variety of wood warblers.
Henry Horton State Park boasts over 70 species of birds that can be observed throughout the year.
Trap and Skeet
Among the varied activities in Henry Horton State Park, one must participate in the sport of shooting. The park is said to have one of the finest Trap, Skeet, and Archery Range in the state.
The range offers Trap, Skeet, Wobble Trap, and four archery target points. The range has several gun rentals, ammunition, and other retail items. To participate, one must be over 18 years and present their Hunter Education card or certificate.
The state park has an 18-hole disc golf course that is free to the public. The course is rated as one of the best disc golf courses in Tennessee so you might want to try your hand at the best of the best. The course has level terrain and well-defined fairways.
Golfers will love the Buford Ellington championship course at the Henry Horton State Park. Not only was it the first golf course in the Tennessee Golf Trail but it’s one of the finest golf courses in the state. The course is challenging and packed with hardwoods. It’s an incredible course that measures 5,625 yards from the Forward tees and 7,060 yards from the Championship tees.
The staff is very friendly and helpful which is everything you could ask for at a golf course. Additionally, the course has great onsite amenities including a driving range, pull carts, on-site lodging, club rental, practice green, and a snack bar.
Guided River Floats
While at the park, sign up for guided kayak float trips along the Duck River. Duck River is undoubtedly beautiful and riding on the floats is the best way to experience it. The floats are about 2 hours long and enjoyable for everyone regardless of their experience. The floats are available during the summer months.
Biking lovers will have a thrilling experience at Henry Horton. All paved roads in the park are available for biking except for the rails. The park also hosts the annual Horton 100 which features a two-day 100+ mile bike ride that begins and ends at the park. The bike ride offers cyclists the best of Middle Tennessee from various prime vantage points throughout the trip.
Duck River Education Room
Duck River is known as the most biologically diverse river in North America. This historic river is the longest river which is located entirely within Tennessee. The river is home to over 151 species of fish and 50 species of freshwater mussels.
Learn about this historically ecologically diverse river in the educational exhibit space in the Henry Horton Visitor Center. This exhibit aims to help visitors learn and protect the Duck River, its watershed, and the parkland’s history. There are two freshwater aquariums that give you a glimpse of life inside the Duck River.
Henry Horton State Park
4209 Nashville HWY
Chapel Hill, TN 37034
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Henry Horton State Park:
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