Animals & Radnor Lake

deer at radnor lake, nashville tn

Ever hear an acoustic guitar or banjo riff and become transported to somewhere similar the set of ‘Where the Red Fern Grows’ or read a passage from ‘Leaves of Grass’ and find a wilderness landscape suddenly painted across your imagination?  These places are Americana country, where log cabins puff smoke out their stone chimneys and people take short cuts through the woods to get to town.  Radnor Lake is a slice of this world, and it’s free rambling forest makes a great place to spend a few hours

lazily strolling around the lake or hiking up to the ridge tops.  Sure there are plenty of hiking trails in Nashville, but there is nothing as close to the city with the abundance of nature and wildlife as Radnor Lake.

One of the only hints that the world has interceded with Radnor Lake is the dirt trails that skirt the lake and squirrel into the hills.  These simple paths are intended only for walking, running is not allowed, and do their best to be of secondary importance to the preservation of the natural setting.  In fact, we came upon several places where the path split to go around a tree; Jade and I think this is due to a team of romantic forest rangers who divided the walk so people hiking hand-in-hand would have to break apart and then find each other’s hand on the other side of the tree.  While we did not find any Cyrano de Bergerac rangers waiting along the benches or vistas of our walk, the calmness in the air and the lost-wilderness setting is great for either a solo hike or couple stroll.

To me though, the chance to see healthy wildlife living in a purely natural habitat is the most exciting part of any trip to Radnor Lake.  While there, Jade and I saw several deer, about a dozen turtles, and a handful of Cranes (I even hear there are wild turkeys roaming the park).  Seeing any of these animals would make a walk here a fun experience, but what has stayed with me is the tranquility of the animals.  To put my experience in perspective, Jade and I once saw a deer at Griffith Park; it leapt off a ledge, across the trail and into a thicket so fast that I wasn’t sure what it was until I saw it later, hiding in the thicket.  It had been scared, terrified is more like it.  Griffith Park is a natural-ish setting, but  the park’s development has focused more on the civilian experience instead of preserving the land.  The exact opposite is true at Radnor Lake.  Here I sat only five feet from a feeding deer, it was aware I was there and on guard but not scared.  It was also not looking for scraps or handouts from me.  Very rarely, in fact almost never, have I found animals like these, comfortable around people but not dependent on them.  The park rangers and the visitors have worked together to create a habitat in which people can come and go without dramatically altering the life of the animals living on the land.

It is because of the careful balance park rangers keep between the city and this natural habitat that I found myself in the middle of Walden Pond but only a few minutes from the twenty-first century.  Radnor Lake offers visitors everything from a easy lake-side stroll to a full on exhausting hike all of which are tucked away in the forest, without a hint of the surrounding city.

Bob is a lifetime traveler, whose main focus is making the most out of every dollar and figuring out how to do the complicated tasks of traveling. If you see him out, he'll probably be the one with the camera in hand and a pen and notebook in his pocket. If you like what you see here, just wait till you see what I'm dishing up next.


  • Reply August 25, 2011


    How serene!! where is Radnor Lake located??

  • Reply August 25, 2011


    Yay Nashville post! I’ve never actually made it there, tried once and got lost. But Percy Warner is great as well.

  • Reply August 25, 2011

    Cathy Sweeney

    Beautiful place. Your photos and description really do make me think of Walden Pond. I like the romantic forest rangers piece — kind of nice to think about.

  • oh wow, that last deer pic is amazing! this sounds like a perfect compromise between animal habitat preservation and allowing people to experience it. a great model for others to base on.

  • Reply August 25, 2011


    Hey that’s my home! I live just a short drive from there. Only downside is that you can’t take your dog on the trails there.

  • Reply August 26, 2011

    John in France

    What an incredible asset – we need more places like this. I guess this has to be somewhere in the US?

  • Reply August 26, 2011


    The last picture is truely beautiful. There is something magical about the way you captured that deer. Great composition.

  • Reply August 26, 2011


    Lovely photos, it does look like a very peaceful spot!

  • Reply August 26, 2011

    David @ MalaysiaAsia

    As a nature lover myself, I totally enjoy photographing the wildlife at places like this. Love the pictures of the deer as they look so harmless.

  • It is great to find places like this where you can easily get away from the city without going too far.

  • Reply August 27, 2011


    The place looks very serene and how often can you see wildlife nowadays?

  • Finding nature in or near urban settings is one of my favorite activities.

  • Reply August 30, 2011

    Nomadic Samuel

    Love the 1st shot of the deer!

  • Reply September 2, 2011


    Wow, this sounds so great! We won’t be going through much of Tennessee during our current US road trip (NYC2NOLA), but this post really makes me want to take the time to visit and soak up that Americana you’re talking about! Fascinating!

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