“Many historians of the American Civil War, and many Civil War battlefield enthusiasts, believe that the only way to truly get to know a battlefield, is to walk it and experience it first hand. This is, perhaps, especially true of the Battle of Fort Donelson. One has to see the landscape personally to appreciate the unique terrain the battle was fought upon…the deep ravines, the rivers and creeks…not to mention how soldiers on both sides fought on this unique terrain in the midst of often harsh Tennessee February weather. At the same time, the sense of peace that this preserved battlefield provides allows a visitor to escape “real life” for a time. While exploring one of the many trails at Fort Donelson, a visitor can imagine the compelling history that happened all around them, or take a moment and appreciate, and revel in, the natural beauty that surrounds them. The trails here often allow a visitor to catch a glimpse of the many species of plant and animal life, some rare, that call Fort Donelson home. But whether exploring for the sake of understanding our past, or to be one with nature, or even just to burn a few calories, the trails at Fort Donelson belong to all.”
Contributed by: Park Ranger Doug Richardson
Fort Donelson is located in Dover, Tennessee. This is considered a difficult hike; due to the hills and the distance, approximately 7.5 miles. The hike is on a combination of sidewalks, unpaved and paved trails.
Suggestions for what to bring and wear:
Sturdy shoes or boots
3 or 4 Liters of water, for locations to refill are located on the map, but some may not be available year round
Pen or pencil with question sheet
A camera for taking pictures
Questions to be answered on the hike:
Fort Donelson Question Sheet Download
- Note to visitors staying at the ‘scout camping’ at Fort Donelson – you may begin and end your hike at the campsite. (It is possible to time the hike so that ‘lunch’ occurs at the campsite).
- If you choose to go to Dover first, you will begin with FD 11 and complete to FD 19, then proceed to FD 1.
- If you choose to go the the Fort first, you will begin with FD 19, then proceed to FD 1
Other file formats (for download – right click and “Save Link As”):
Fort Donelson Trail Map
Fort Donelson Trail Map
We encourage feedback on all of our hikes! Please take some time to let us know how we are doing with this form!