5 Amazing Places to Walk and Hike in Nashville
Nashville is an area blessed with natural beauty. This area stands apart from other large cities due to the abundance of nature and the number of parks within a few miles of the downtown area.
Spring & Fall are my favorite times to enjoy the outdoors in Tennessee. With the change of seasons always on the horizon, I wanted to share some of my favorite places in Nashville to take in the beautiful scenery of this river valley we call home.
Percy and Edwin Warner Parks
The Warner Parks are part of the Metro Nashville Park System and are one of the top destinations for hikers in the city. Percy Warner is located just nine miles from downtown Nashville just south of Belle Meade. When combined with Edwin Warner Park, this area spans nearly 2700 acres and is the largest city managed park in the state.
Most consider the Mossy Ridge Trail in Percy Warner to be the best hiking trail in Nashville. This trail was recognized as one of the top seven hiking trails in the nation by Fodor’s Travel Guides.
Also, known as the red trail, Mossy Ridge is the most strenuous in the park. The south loop is the steepest part of the hike. This trail offers the best opportunity to see a variety of wildlife and wildflowers. The Quiet Point Spur overlooks the Deep Well Trailhead and Picnic Area. The Eanes Overlook Spur provides a north-facing view of West Meade.
The Warner Parks also offer 8 additional hiking trails, horse riding trails, picnic areas, nature center, two golf courses, and many other planned activities.
Radnor Lake is part of the Tennessee State Park System and is another top destination for hikers in Nashville just southeast of Green Hills. Because it is classified as a Natural Area, the land use at the park is restricted to hiking, canoeing, and education to avoid upsetting the delicate balance of this unique ecosystem. Radnor Lake is located about 10 miles from downtown Nashville.
There are six miles of trails at the park, with the most popular trail being the Radnor Lake Loop. This 4.3-mile circuit wraps neatly around the 85-acre lake that is the centerpiece of this natural area.
The lake loop is an easy hike with little changes in elevation and beautiful views of the lake. If you are feeling adventurous and would like to take in some gorgeous views of the downtown skyline, take a side trip on the Ganier Ridge trail just off of the lake loop.
Richland Creek Greenway
Richland Creek is part of the growing Metro Parks System of trails and greenways located only 4 miles from downtown Nashville. Although not a true hiking trail, Richland Creek is a great place to get some quick exercise while soaking in the beauty of Nashville.
The greenway offers nearly 4 miles of paved trails for walkers, runners, and bikers. The trails connect the neighborhoods along the Harding Rd and White Bridge Corridors with the Sylvan Park neighborhood.
A family favorite is to hike the Richland Creek Greenway and take in a light breakfast or lunch at one of the great places to eat in Sylvan Park.
Beaman Park is located in a rural area on the edge of the Highland Rim in the northwestern part of Davidson County and is part of the Metro Park System. Beaman Park is a 1700 acre tract that offers 3 trails that cover more than 5 miles of hiking.
Due to its location on the edge of the Highland Rim, Beaman Park offers unique species and variations of plant life. The landscape in this park is more rugged with narrow hollows, streams, and waterfalls.
In addition to the hiking trails, Beaman Park also has a Nature Center and a variety of educational programming. At one time this area was a hotbed for moonshiners and may have been a hideout for the James Gang. Frank & Jesse were known to hideout in this area.
Shelby Park/Shelby Bottoms
Shelby Park is affectionately called Shelby Bottoms by most people in Nashville. Located just across the river from downtown Nashville, Shelby Bottoms contains more than 1,200 acres of rolling green space along the Cumberland River in East Nashville.
The park features 5 miles of paved Greenway and 5+ miles of more primitive hiking trails. The Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge connects the Shelby Bottoms Greenway to the Stones River Greenway.
In addition to the trails, Shelby Bottoms also offers sports fields, picnic area, dog park, boat ramp, community center and two golf courses. This area was part of three separate farms as late as 1994 when it became the pilot project in Nashville’s greenway program.