The Park

map_cedars-smallCedars of Lebanon State Park is located in Wilson County about 7 miles south of Lebanon, Tennessee. It is situated in the eastern Central Basin approximately 15 miles west of the eastern Highland Rim, 15 miles north of Murfreesboro and 20 miles east of Nashville. The park consists of approximately 900 acres situated within the 9,400-acre Cedars of Lebanon State Forest.

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cedar_gladeThe land in and around the park and forest is known for its cedar glades, a unique type of ecosystem that has adapted to the thin (often nonexistent) layers of soil. The glades of the Central Basin are typically surrounded by stands of Eastern red cedar trees (Juniperus virginiana) that survive in soil too thin to support most other large wooded plants. Beyond the stands of red cedar, the soil is deeper and often features hardwood forests consisting of ash, oak and hickory.
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The cedar glades are usually open areas resembling rock or gravel-strewn meadows. Most glades include small areas of bare rock where nothing grows, gravelly areas where only grasses grow, and patches of very thin soil that support a variety of grasses, wildflowers and shrubs.

Tennessee Coneflower

Tennessee Coneflower

The Cedars of Lebanon State Park and State Forest are home to 350 plant species, 29 of which are endemic to the cedar glades. Here you will find: Tennessee Coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis), Prickly Pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa), Limestone Flame flower (Phemeranthus calcaricus), Gattinger’s Prairie Clover (Dalea gattingerii), Glade Phlox (Phlox bifida), and Nashville Breadroot (Pediomelum subacaule). In addition, nonflowering plants such as reindeer moss and glade moss occur here. Along with the red cedar, trees in the surrounding forest include blue, green and white ash, several species of both red and white oak, and numerous species of hickory.

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Cedars of Lebanon State Park has 117 campsites, 11 picnic shelters, a swimming pool, 8 miles of hiking trails, a group lodge, and a meeting hall. The Dixon Merritt Nature Center contains a small museum displaying historical and natural artifacts. The park also maintains a disc golf course.

The park’s eight miles of hiking trails range in size from 0.5 to 5 miles. The 0.5-mile Cedar Glades Trail, which begins at the park visitor center, is a self-guided interpretive trail that crosses several cedar glade habitats characteristic of glades found in the eastern basin. The 2-mile Cedar Forest Trail loops through a mixed oak-hickory and red cedar forest and passes several sinkholes and rock fields. The 1-mile Dixon Merritt Trail begins behind the Dixon Merritt Nature Center and provides access to Jackson Cave. The 0.5-mile Limestone Sinks Trail  passes several large limestone sinks. The 5-mile Hidden Springs Trail features a large limestone sink and dry stream bed, several cedar glades, and a dense stand of mixed red cedar and oak-hickory forest.

Jackson Cave is one of 18 known caves located in the state forest and the immediate vicinity. The cave’s entrance is 30 feet wide and 4 feet high, and the cave corridor has an average width of 12 feet and an average height of 6 feet. The cave extends approximately 1,000 feet from its entrance to a large pool of water.

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Friends of Cedars of Lebanon State Park
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