Looking for some local outdoor adventures? In the fast-paced city that is Memphis, sometimes a quick breath of fresh air can be just the remedy we crave. Fortunately, the Bluff City offers much more than just vibrant urban life. Check out these four creative destinations the next time you long for an excursion in the outdoors.

The Wolf River

Nestled in the small tucks of the protected Wolf River Wildlife Management Area is the Ghost River Canoe Trail and Ghost River State Natural Area. This spot has abundant wildlife and a variety of trees. A trail and boardwalk, complete with informative signs about the area, wind close to the bank, which is simultaneously tranquil and adventurous. The 8.5-mile canoe trail, less than an hour from downtown Memphis, embraces both Southern serenity and an outdoor paradise. Kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards are available to rent each day, and the entire Ghost River section takes anywhere from three to six hours to paddle. Lessons, tours and hourly rentals are also available. Whether you are a true adventurist or simply looking for a beautiful view, the Ghost River area will exceed expectations. For details, visit ghostriverrentals.com.

Location: Bateman Bridge, 2 miles past Moscow, TN, on Hwy 57
Open: All weekends; weekdays for parties of 5 or more boats
Other activities: Guide service, shuttle service, hourly boat rentals, lessons
Contact: (901) 485-1220 or [email protected]

Ghost River Rentals

Image credit: Ghost River Rentals

Mississippi River Cruises

A riverboat cruise is the perfect expedition for those of you searching for something a little closer to town and a little less rustic. It’s a trip a few miles down Memphis’ own memory lane. Full of history and beauty, these cruises offer compelling commentary on past and present river life, dinner and dancing. The house band plays a variety of classics, jazz and, inevitably, blues. The Memphis Riverboats company offers 90-minute cruises, evening dinner and music cruises, and special events cruises, while American Queen offers cruises that go in between port cities such as Memphis, New Orleans, Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis. These trips take passengers along farmland, paddling past antebellum plantations and rolling down riverfront towns. This is a chance to see Memphis with new eyes and understand our city’s rich legacy from the unique perspective of the Mississippi River. Visit memphisriverboats.net to learn more.

Location: Beale Street Landing, 251 Riverside Drive, Memphis
Open: Daily board time is 1:30 p.m.; 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday
Other activities: Private charters, field trips, college specials
Contact: (901) 527-2628

memphis riverboats

Image credit: Memphis Riverboats

Shelby Farms Park Trails

Whether you are searching for unpaved, cross country or paved trails, Shelby Farms Park has extensive options for anyone from the experienced hiker to the casual jogger. The nearly six-mile Tour de Wolf Trail winds past hidden lakes and wildlife viewing areas and is perfect for hiking, running and mountain biking. Recent renovations make the trail even more sustainable in order to prevent erosion and renovate the trailhead, which is located at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Path to Play. For other unpaved options, the Wolf River Trails offer various routes that parallel the water and can be used for nearly all outdoor activities. In addition, they offer access to the river for both canoes and kayaks.

Shelby Farms Park also offers less rustic, paved trails, such as a 6.5-mile stretch of the Greenline, which currently runs from the corner of Tillman Street and Walnut Grove all the way to Farm Road in Shelby Farms Park. The shorter Chickasaw Trail weaves past three lakes, as well as beautiful pine and hardwood forests. The South Trail and Connector Trail also offer paved routes, lake views and easy access points for family and friends to walk, run, bike or even skate. Visit shelbyfarmspark.org to learn more.

Location: 7171 Pine Lake Drive W., Memphis. Various trailheads.
Open: Sunrise to sunset daily
Other activities: High ropes course, buffalo, horse stables, boat rentals, dog park, disk golf, BMX race track
Contact: (901) 222-7275

Fishing at Herb Parsons Lake

Boating, fishing and picnicking are all activities to enjoy every weekend at Herb Parsons Lake. Located in Fayette County, Herb Parsons Lake is stocked with crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill, Redear sunfish and catfish. Beautiful landscape covering 177 acres close to the city is perfect for a day’s escape, and available activities include playgrounds for the little ones and fishing piers for everyone. Bait and tackle, rental boats, concessions and fish attractors won’t let any angler, novice or experienced, get away without a catch. Don’t forget sunscreen! To learn more, visit state.tn.us.

Location: From I-40, take Exit 25, Hwy. 205 south to Hwy. 193. Left on Hwy. 193. Right on Fisherville Lake Road to the entrance.
Open: Dawn to dusk daily. Lake store closed Wednesdays.
Other activities: Trail, playground, picnic area, fishing licenses, lake store
Contact: (901) 860-3880

Herb Parsons Lake

Herb Parsons Lake | Image credit: state.tn.us

Get out and explore, beginning with Memphis’ own backyard of local adventures!