Hikers enjoy a beautiful day at Dunbar Cave State Park JON NELSON|THE ALL STATE

With the stresses of finals exams, term papers and graduations approaching,  students look for a tranquil space to relax and get away, even for a couple of hours.

There are two such sites within a couple minutes’ drive from campus. These locations provide amazing trails to get in touch with nature, while also presenting great photo opportunities and chances to get a little exercise if desired.

The first place is Dunbar Cave State Park. It is a little over three miles from the Austin Peay State University campus or about a six-minute drive depending on traffic.

The park contains three trails for walking or hiking. The trails range in distance from 0.7 miles to 1.9 miles.  One trail is relatively flat and it surrounds the lake in front of the cave and the other two take a bit more effort as they go over rougher terrain and over the top of the cave.

“The cave itself is very neat to be in. I can see why it’s locked behind a gate, because I’d be in there all day if they let me,” said John Mitchell, a sophomore majoring in Computer Science.

The cave is locked off to the public, but you can schedule a guided tour of the cave on the Dunbar Cave State Park website.

“I thought that the park ranger who gave our tour was fiercely educated about the matter and did a wonderful job of mixing native history with the more ‘modern’ history of Dunbar Cave,” said Lilly Phillips, a junior majoring in Psychology. “We hardly see native history told truthfully and respectfully so I give all the tour guides there my respect”.

Another great escape right here in Clarksville is Rotary Park. While it is a bit further from the APSU campus, it has added bonuses.

This beautiful park contains over five miles of hiking trails, and for any ‘Frolf’ enthusiasts it has a full 18-hole disc golf course. For added incentives the park also has picnic and grilling sites, a volleyball court and horseshoe pits. There are playgrounds for children and open fields for other activities available as we

“I always preferred Rotary Park when I wanted to go on a secluded hike and/ or listen to a podcast,” said Joseph Williams, a junior majoring in Business Management and Spanish. “I used to frequent both parks quite often, especially during the pandemic.”

Both of these parks have great opportunities to interact with, and celebrate, the scenic beauty. There are many types of wildlife to observe, such as deer, small woodland creatures, and various species of birds.

“Another thing I had noticed is that there seems to be more animals and wildlife at Dunbar Cave than there is at Rotary, especially closer to sundown,” said Williams.

When students get overwhelmed with the final few weeks it is nice to have a place to get a chance to retreat and refresh with a sense of peace.