Cedars of Lebanon State Park

Located in the heart of the 9,420-acre Cedars of Lebanon State Forest is the Cedars of Lebanon State Park – a 900-acre state park in Wilson County, Tennessee. The forest and the park are situated about ten miles from Lebanon, Tennessee. Features that make this park popular include the cedar glades and its unique ecosystem that has acclimated to the thin soil layers or no soil. They usually occur in the Central Basin. You will observe that these glades are often encompassed by thick stands of red cedar, a type of juniper that can thrive in soil too thin to support most trees. Situated in the eastern Central Basin, Cedars of Lebanon State Park has a group lodge, a meeting hall, 8 miles of hiking trails, 11 picnic shelters, and 117 campsites. The park also has a disc golf course.

Don’t forget the Merritt Nature Center, a small museum that showcases some of the natural features of the forest. Cedars of Lebanon State Park is located in Wilson County and is surrounded by the Cedars of Lebanon State Forest. The park is named for eastern red cedar trees found throughout the area. The trees reminded early American settlers of the famed Biblical cedar forests that thrived across Mount Lebanon in what is now the Mediterranean area. Cedars of Lebanon became a state park in 1955. The 1,139-acre park has 117 campsites equipped with picnic tables and grills, and electric and water hookups. A modern group lodge, open year-round for organized groups, has a total sleeping capacity of 80 people. In the 1940s, botanists noticed unique natural ecosystems found in and around Cedars of Lebanon State Park and Forest. These areas are natural rock gardens called limestone glades. The presence of glades is due to limestone rock coming so close to the surface of the ground that it causes the soil to be thin or absent. The small amount of soil that does exist along the cracks and potholes in the limestone slab, has been built up over many years. Water and surface temperatures vary so much throughout the year that a harsh, desert-like, inhospitable habitat is created with its own unique plant community. Nineteen rare and endangered species of plants grow profusely here and nowhere else in the world.

Eight miles of hiking trails meander through the cedar forests and glades. There are four trails in the park where you may catch a glimpse of fox, deer, squirrel, rabbits and turkey throughout the park. Picnicking is another popular activity. All picnic tables are equipped with grills and there are also 11 picnic shelters located throughout the park. Three of the picnic shelters can be reserved for a fee.

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