Our campground in Tennessee was only about 10 minutes away from Warriors Path State Park, and we made sure to take advantage of our proximity to this charming park during our month-long stay. In our many visits to the park, we walked, hiked, fished, paddleboarded, and picnicked.
We first scoped out the park for fishing and paddleboarding opportunities. The park is situated along Fort Patrick Henry Lake, and part of the park, known as Duck Island, creates a calm backwater away from the busy lake.
On our first trip to the park and during several subsequent visits, we enjoyed the walking path around Duck Island. The path is paved and is perfect for pushing a stroller and getting in some quick exercise and fresh air. We walked as a family and both Will and I took Little Bird on our own for that same walk. The path is approximately 0.75 miles around, and a few laps make for a nice outing. There are several tennis and basketball courts that are no longer used, so when I took Bird for a mama-daughter morning, we climbed the hill to one of these courts where Bird could run free. While she enjoys looking at the other people and especially their dogs from the stroller, she really loves getting out of the stroller and stretching her legs now that she has a taste of independent mobility (this recipe also leads to great naps!).
Will was obviously excited about the fishing opportunities, especially when we saw all the bait fish hitting the surface of the water and glimpsed some of the larger fish in hot pursuit. When the shad were really active, it sounded like rain hitting the water as these small, silver fish hit the surface by the hundreds. Will and Bird went out fishing one day and saw tons of fish but unfortunately had no luck.
Paddleboarding on the backwater was an absolute dream. We only made it out once, as the weather took a turn toward cooler temperatures about a week into our stay. However, that one time we got out was so much fun. The area directly around Duck Island is a no wake zone, so it was incredibly calm and there was no one else on the water. I made the mistake of paddling out of the no wake zone to try to get a better look at a heron and had to endure two boats flying by and causing quite a commotion in the water and making for a nerve-wracking few minutes. I am just glad I had enough sense to sit down on the board before tempting my fate. Of course, Will saw the whole thing unravel, with me bobbing along the waves, and called me as soon as I got back to calmer water to ensure I was okay, even if still overcoming my nerves. Before the boats flew by, I got a good, up-close look at the heron, and you can be sure I would do it all over again.
On the day before we left Tennessee, we decided to finally check out a hiking trail in the park. We chose the Devil’s Backbone Trail and really should have been more prepared for the challenges of the trail simply based on the name. However, we did not think it would be very challenging and set off for what we thought would be a quick 2-mile hike. Between the actual rugged and hilly trail and our week off from our typical active lifestyle for our trip to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving (and all of the amazing food we ate while we were there), this trail was more than we bargained for. The small acorn that unknowingly ended up in my boot also did not help matters, especially when I stopped to tighten the laces and pushed on assuming my boots were still being broken in. Even with all of these challenges, this trail was still worth every step (and the acorn-shaped bruise on my foot). The views of the lake and park below were incredible, and the geology was so interesting. Daisy was so excited to get back out hiking and alternated between leading the way and smelling all the smells. The trail is situated between the lake and the golf course that is part of the state park, so we actually crossed a couple tee boxes and skirted the edge of a couple greens. Aside from seeing a few golfers, we only saw one other person on the trail and had an overall enjoyable hike. It was a nice ending to our time in Tennessee.
When we were planning our trip to Tennessee, we knew Warriors Path State Park was close to our campground and hoped we would take advantage of its proximity and recreation opportunities. I am really glad we spent as much time as we did here and would love to go back. Even though it is a small park, there are still plenty of trails to explore and things to do. We highly recommend this state park.
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