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Cordell Hull Lake Horse Trail, Granville, TN


By Josh Guin

My favorite trail this month has got to be at Cordell Hull Lake near Granville, Tenn. The land offers two trails that follow the contour of Cordell Hull Lake, lending to beautifully scenic views along the way. The property is managed by Tennessee Corps of Engineers in cooperation with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Cordell Hull Lake got its name in honor of Nobel Peace Prize winner and Tennessean, Cordell Hull, the longest running U.S. Secretary of State in history, holding the position for 11 years during most of World War II.

The two horse trails available add up to 22 miles. They are available to the public free of charge and cater to all levels of riders.

The “lowland trail” provides close views of the lake and is fairly level, with an occasional climb. This provides a good beginner trail for less experienced riders. The trail is a mixture of woodland paths and old roadbeds, and the footing is a mixture of dirt and rocks. While this trail is an out and back path, most riders start this trail at the gravel parking area located at the corner of Holleman Bend Lane and Hwy 53, then ride Holleman Bend Lane back, making a loop.

The upper trail provides both close and distant views from a higher elevation, and it’s great for advanced riders looking for more technical terrain. The trail is hilly with steep inclines and the footing can be rocky. This trail starts at the primitive horse camp at the corner of Holleman Bend Lane and Forrester Hollow Lane and is made into a loop trail by riding county roads back to the campground.

The horse campground is primitive, but offers a large gravel driveway with plenty of parking on the grass. Amenities in the campground include highline poles, lantern hangers, fire rings, portable toilets, picnic tables, and trash cans. The campground is well maintained and convenient to both the lowland trail and the wilderness trail. Although running water is not available, lakeside access is available to water horses. While the trails are open year-round, the wildlife management area is used for hunting so check the WMA schedule for hunts and wear a blaze orange vest accordingly.

This area has plenty to offer for non-riders as well. All horse trails are open to hikers. Lakeside fishing is accessible from the horse campground, and there are plenty of things to do in town. The tiny town of Granville is often called the “Mayberry of Tennessee.” I took some time to explore the little town and found the warm charm of what you’d expect from a town that considers itself a Mayberry.

Granville offers the typical lineup of shops and boutiques downtown as well as historical monuments and museum tours. The weekend is a busy time for the town, but from my experience, Sundays are still sacred with the shops and streets pretty quiet so, for shopping, visit on a different day.

Editor’s Note: You may have read about Granville in Tennessee Home and Farm magazine earlier this year. On Saturday nights, the T.B. Sutton General Store hosts the Sutton Ole Time Music Hour, a bluegrass dinner show. Historic Granville is open 10a.m.-4p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 10a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday.

Another great option for entertainment is at the Wildwood Marina just down the road from the trails. They offer lodging, docks, a restaurant with fine dining, and live music. The food was a bit pricey, but the quality matched the price.

My trip to Cordell Hull Lake was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to get back out there with friends to enjoy the trail views, the local entertainment, and the joy of horses.

For more information about Cordell Hull Lake Horse Trails, please visit

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