The Park

Radnor Lake is a 1200 acre Class II Natural Area. Four unpaved trails wander through the woods surrounding the lake, where hikers can enjoy wilderness native to Middle Tennessee, including river otters, beavers, mink, muskrat, bobcat, coyote and the white-tailed deer.

Remembering Radnor’s Caretakers, Carrie and Jessie McElyea

Jessie McElyea worked for the railroad as a bridge painter prior to his life on Radnor Lake. The silver paint that was used gave him lead poisoning, and he was no longer able to continue in that position. A spillway operator job had just opened up due to a rattlesnake bite that killed the previous caretaker. McElyea was offered the post and lived in the boat house while they readied a home for his family. His wife and the kids moved in some time later.

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Park Hours

Natural Area trails and parking lots are open daily from 6 a.m. until dark. Dark is defined as needing a flashlight to read the signs!

Visitor Center Hours

Open 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.  Closed noon-1:00pm.


Visitor Center restrooms open at 7 a.m.
East Parking Lot restrooms open at 6 a.m.

Rules and Regulations of a Natural Area

Radnor Lake is State Natural Area is set aside by the State of Tennessee for wildlife observation and protected under the State Natural Areas Preservation Act of 1971. To ensure the protection of the Radnor Lake ecosystem and provide ample wildlife observation for all visitors, the following rules and regulations are strictly enforced.

  • Jogging/running on trails is prohibited. Jogging/running allowed on paved/graveled surfaces only.
  • Hiking is restricted to designated trails only. No off-trail hiking at any time.
  • Dogs/pets must be leashed and are prohibited on trails.
  • Collection of any plants/flowers, rocks, mushrooms, or artifacts is prohibited.
  • Bicycles are not to exceed 10mph and are required to yield to all other visitors.
  • Bicycles are prohibited on trails.
  • All bicycle riders under the age of 16 must wear an approved helmet. (T.C.A. 55-52-105)
  • All food, picnicking, and feeding wildlife is prohibited.
  • All alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
  • Fishing, boating with personal watercraft, swimming, and hunting are prohibited.
  • Firearms are prohibited (excluding conceal/carry permit holders).
  • Musical instruments, church services, and weddings are prohibited.
  • Parking on Otter Creek Road is prohibited unless designated as overflow parking. Any illegally/unauthorized vehicles parked will be towed and/or cited immediately by the ranger staff (T.C.A. 55-8-160)
  • Entire area closes at dark. Any vehicles left after dark will be towed at owner’s expense.
Groups & Special Needs Visitors
School Groups

To arrange programming or work days, please email Park Manager Steve Ward.

Handicapped Accessibility

At no charge, two all-terrain wheelchairs (see pictures here) are available at the Visitor Center for use on the road, Spillway Trail and Lake Trail. To make your reservation for a wheelchair, please call 373-3467 24 hours in advance. Please download a liability form here, fill it out and bring it with you when you visit the park.

Hard of Hearing Visitors

Please email Park Manager Steve Ward for sign language assistance for any of our programs.


The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is committed to principles of equal opportunity, equal access, and affirmative action. Contact EEO/AA Coordinator at 888-867-7455 or the ADA Coordinator at 866-253-5827 for further information. Hearing-impaired callers may use the Tennessee Relay Service (800-848-0298).