Hiking In and Around Nashville
Nashville is blessed with an abundance of hiking possibilities. Whether you are interested in a short morning hike or an all day expedition, Nashville has whatever hiking options you may desire.
Nashville has one of the largest parks inside the city limits of any city in the United States. These parks, which are connected, are called Percy Warner Park and Edwin Warner Park and provide more than 2,600 miles of hiking opportunities. The trails in these parks are also popular among equestrians. It’s fairly easy to differentiate which trails are for horses and which are for hikers when the two intersect, but keep in mind not to turn onto an equestrian trail.
* GETTING THERE
There are a few popular entrances to these parks, all of which are easily accessible.
From Downtown: Follow West End towards Franklin until it becomes Harding Place. At this point, there are a few options.
Option 1: Turn left onto Belle Meade Blvd and follow Belle Meade Blvd until it dead ends at the park. Park along the street near the entrance or in the grassy lot next to the entrance and follow the steep staircase to the top where you will find a trail.
# The loop is 2.5 miles long
# If you add on the optional additional loop, then you can travel 7 miles total.
Option 2: Stay on Harding Place until you reach the Highway 70 and Highway 100 intersect. Veer left to stay on Highway 100. A few miles along Highway 100 you will come to the park entrance on your left (this is found immediately after the railroad crossing on the right). From the parking lot, you will be at the location where Option 1’s 2.5 mile loop meets the additional 4.5 mile loop.
Near the Nashville area is Franklin, where the Natchez Trace ends. There are short trails all along “The Trace” – as it is called – that provide plentiful opportunities for exploration. The Trace is also very popular for cyclists, as there are no stop signs and very few elements that distract from the natural beauty of the area. Camping can be found along The Trace as well.
* GETTING THERE
To reach The Trace, simply veer left at the 70/100 intersect (as described above). Stay on Highway 100 until you reach signs clearly indicating The Trace turnoff, immediately after the famed Loveless Motel.
Hiking is wonderful in Nashville. Due to the area’s relatively low traffic congestion, it is easy to get to a trailhead in a very short period of time. In addition, the existence of Percy Warner and Edwin Warner Parks is an invaluable resource for all Nashvillians.
By Mary Fall Wade