Overton Park’s Old Forest is the only old-growth forest in the Southeast to be located in an urban environment. This ecosystem is both a glimpse into the past and a living indication of how humans impact our environment in the present.
Originally a 200-acre tract when Overton Park was founded in 1901, the Old Forest now comprises 142 acres following losses to development over the years. In June 2011, 126 acres of the Old Forest were designated as a State Natural Area, permanently protecting it from future development and preserving its ecosystem.
Overton Park Conservancy manages the Old Forest State Natural Area under the supervision of the Tennessee Department of Conservation (TDEC) Division of Natural Areas.
The Old Forest contains a 1.4-mile limestone running trail, over a mile of paved trails, and four miles of unpaved walking paths, including the popular Old Forest Loop. The one-mile loop begins just inside the arched gate between Rainbow Lake Playground and Overton Bark and contains 35 markers to guide your walk.
Learn more about their ongoing projects and conservancy here: https://overtonpark.org/