We are so blessed to live in a city as beautiful as Nashville. Lush green landscape, rolling hills, picturesque waterways and town squares right out of a Norman Rockwell painting! So it goes with out saying... riding a bicycle or going for a walk in Nashville isn't just exercise, it's an experience.
Nashville has worked hard to expand and improve our city's greenways making it easier and safer for our residents to bike and walk. In fact, there are over 190 miles of trails in Davidson County alone! Greenway efforts are guided by a master plan framework, led by the Greenways Commission and supported by the non-profit friends group, Greenways for Nashville. Per their website, "The goal is to get a greenway trail within 2 miles of every community for recreation and transportation as well as to conserve green space, particularly floodplains and scenic viewsheds, along county waterways."
To plan your next route, check out the maps or choose from the some of the top spots around town listed below:
Multi-use Greenway Trails
Alta Lake Greenway - (0.7 miles, paved) One-mile paved trail connecting residential communities and the Percy Priest Lake recreation area.
Bells Bend Greenway - (7.4 miles, hiking) Part of an 800-acre nature and outdoor recreation park that also includes soft surface trails and a nature center.
Brookmeade Greenway - (0.4 miles, paved) Half-mile paved trail leading to a historic Civil War site overlooking the Cumberland River.
Cumberland River Greenway: Downtown - (1.5 miles, paved) Paved trail extends from MetroCenter Levee Greenway’s Great Circle trailhead into Downtown to 1st Ave along Fort Nashborough and Riverfront Park, with spurs along the way to Morgan Park and Bicentennial State Park.
Cumberland River Greenway: MetroCenter Levee - (3 miles, paved) Three-mile paved trail along the Cumberland River from Great Circle Road into Ted Rhodes Golf Course, featuring public art and a number of river overlooks. Soon to be extended through the TSU campus, connecting with Boyd/Taylor Park.
Harpeth River Greenway: Riverwalk Section - (1.7 miles, paved) One mile of paved trail along the Harpeth River.
Harpeth River Greenway: Harpeth Youth Soccer Association - (0.6 miles, paved) Half-mile loop accessible through the Harpeth Youth Soccer Association parking lot (but only when the soccer complex is open).
Harpeth River Greenway: Morton Mill Section - (1.2 miles, paved) One-plus mile paved trail with a boardwalk overlooking the Harpeth River. Plans are in place to eventually connect it with the Harpeth Youth Soccer Association segment.
Harpeth River Greenway: Warner Park to Bellevue Exchange Club - (2.4 miles, paved) Accessible from two trailheads inside Edwin Warner Park, this paved trail follows the Little Harpeth and Harpeth Rivers through the Ensworth High School campus to the Bellevue Exchange Club Complex.
Mill Creek Greenway: Ezell Park - (1.3 miles, paved) One-mile paved trail with creek access.
Mill Creek Greenway: Blue Hole Road Section - (1.8 miles, paved) Two-mile paved trail linking Antioch Community Center and Middle School.
Old Hickory Dam Greenway - (1.5 miles paved) Half-mile paved trail with a boardwalk and wetland observation platform.
Peeler Park Greenway - (1.9 miles, paved; 1 mile hiking; 3.7 miles equestrian) Two miles of paved multi-use trails along the Cumberland River in this 255-acre park in Neely’s Bend, with expansion underway onto adjacent 388 acres of new park land.
Richland Creek Greenway - (3.8 miles, paved) Over three miles of paved trail connecting McCabe Park and the Sylvan Park neighborhood with shopping centers along White Bridge Pike and Harding Road, and Nashville State Community College.
Seven Mile Creek Greenway - (0.6 miles, paved) Half-mile paved trail runs along Seven Mile Creek from Whitfield Park through the Ellington Agricultural Complex.
Shelby Bottoms Greenway - (6.4 miles, paved) Five miles of paved trails run through Shelby Bottoms, starting from the Shelby Bottoms Nature Center at the western end. The trail connects to the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge that links to the Stones River Greenway as part of the Music City Bikeway. There are also several spurs into the East Nashville neighborhoods bordering the park.
Stones River Greenway - (10.2 miles, paved) Ten-mile paved trail system connecting Shelby Bottoms to Percy Priest Lake and linking to the YMCA on Lebanon Road, Heartland Park, and Two Rivers Park along the way.
Whites Creek Greenway - (1 mile, paved) One-mile paved trail extending from Hartman Park to Clarksville Pike.
Trails Within Parks
Beaman Park - (5+ miles, hiking) One of the most botanically diverse places in Tennessee,this 1693 acre park in northwestern Davidson County consists of 5 miles primitive hiking trails and boardwalks in a natural Highland Rim forest. The Beaman Park Nature Center* provides a hub from which to explore a hilly landscape with narrow hollows, pristine streams and cascading waterfalls as well as two easy quarter-mile trails (one at the Little Marrowbone Rd entrance and the other, encircling the nature center).
Centennial Park – (2.3 mile, walking) Nashville’s premier urban park, occupying 132 acres on the site of the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition, located in the heart of Midtown. Its centerpiece is the historic, true-to-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon, which today functions as an art museum. The park features a lake,meandering trails in addition to the paved multi-use loop trail, a dog park,multiple arts facilities, a band shell, sunken gardens, and a variety of programs and public events.
Bells Bend Park - (7.4 miles, hiking) This 808-acre park of pastoral, gently rolling farmland is located in an arc of the Cumberland River known as Bell’s Bend. The Bell’s Bend Outdoor Center* is its focal point, with much of the hiking trails following old farm roads that were associated with the site’s historic 1842 Buchanan House. (Mountain bike trails targeted for 2013-14.)
Percy and Edwin Warner Parks – (12 miles, hiking and biking) Percy and Edwin Warner Parks, 2,808 acres, form one of the largest municipal parks in Tennessee, and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Percy Warner, the larger of the two parks, contains an extensive network of hiking trails as well as 10 miles of equestrian bridle paths. Horse enthusiasts may also appreciate the unique Steeplechase racecourse, which hosts the annual Iroquois Steeplechase. Picnic shelters scattered throughout the park’s hills and hollows provide a bucolic setting for social events or family get-togethers. Two public golf courses (Percy Warner and Harpeth Hills) are within the park grounds. A one-way paved loop runs through the park, allowing motor and bicycle traffic to access the park’s many amenities. The historic entrance at the end of Belle Meade Blvd leads straight to a set of impressive stone steps known as “The Allee” and serves as a nice jumping-off point for exploring the park’s rugged topography.
Edwin Warner Park, separated from Percy Warner by Old Hickory Blvd, has its own set of hiking trails, as well as Metro Parks’ flagship Warner Parks Nature Center*. Edwin Warner is home to 9 reservable picnic areas, a dog park and the Old Roadway, a multipurpose trail which is closed to motor vehicles. The park hosts two trailheads that are the starting points of the Harpeth River Greenway system. T he two parks are connected by a trail that crosses Old Hickory Blvd.
Radnor Lake State Natural Area - (6 miles, walking and hiking) Radnor Lake became Tennessee’s first State Natural Area after it had outlived its usefulness as a water reservoir for steam engines. Today, it is a 1200-acre preserve, with nearly 6 miles of trails, including a walkway along the top of the dam that created the artificial lake. Visitors are able to view a diversity of wildlife, including waterfowl, songbirds, reptiles, amphibians,and deer, along with an abundance of plant life. Otter Creek Road between the east and west parking areas is closed to motor traffic. There is also a Visitors’ Center at the west parking area.
Cane Ridge Park - (1 mile, walking) This community park in southeastern Davidson County is a major local baseball and softball facility of seven diamonds. Walking paths encircle ball fields and the park also provides a playground and a model air plane strip. (Mountain bike trails are targeted for 2012-13.)
Ellington Agricultural Center - (.5 mile paved; 2 miles hiking) The 207 acre Ellington Agricultural Center located adjacent to the Seven Mile Creek Greenway, a paved trail beginning at Whitfield Park,has been the headquarters for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture since 1958. The grounds, a popular site for birding, are home to the Tennessee Agricultural as well as 2 miles of primitive paths showcasing best practices in landscape preservation.
Hamilton Creek Park - (10 miles, mountain biking) Hamilton Creek Park contains Nashville’s only dedicated mountain biking trails – a“novice” loop on the east side of Bell Road, and an “advanced” loop on the westside (connected by a tunnel under Bell Road). There is also a BMX track. The park is also home to the only Metro-run marina in Davidson County,the Hamilton Creek Marina. The marina provides public sailboat slips and a boat launch for access to Percy Priest Lake.
Ft. Negley Historic Park – (0.5 miles, walking) A paved loop trail, boardwalks and interpretive signs enable visitors to tour this historic site, the largest inland stone fort built during the Civil War. The site, 15 acres perched on a scenic hilltop immediately south of downtown,is open daily from dawn to dusk for self-guided walking tours. A visitors center* interprets Nashville’s strategic role in the Western Theater, the occupation and fortification of the city following Confederate surrender to Union forces in February of 1862,restoration of the fort by the WPA in the 1930’s and Metro Parks’ ongoing preservation efforts. The Adventure Science Center,as well as Herschel Greer Stadium (the home of the minor league Nashville Sounds), are located adjacent to the park.
Peeler Park – (1.9 miles, paved; 1 mile hiking; 3.7 miles equestrian) Peeler Park is a large pastoral park tucked away at the end of a long curve in the Cumberland River known as Neely’s Bend. Its bucolic farmland setting on the river features a 1.9-mile paved multi-use path, equestrian trails, a public boat launch with associated truck and trailer parking, and an air field for remote-controlled planes. Recently, Metro Parks completed the purchase of the Taylor Farm property just north of the park, an addition of 381 acres,giving Peeler Park a total of over 650 acres of parkland. (Taylor Farm trails targeted for 2013-14.)
Shelby Bottoms/ Shelby Park - (5 miles, paved and 5+ miles hiking) The Shelby Bottoms Nature Center* marks the entrance to the Shelby Bottoms Greenway and Nature Park, a 950-acre floodplain preserve along the Cumberland River that features over 5 miles of paved multi-use paths and an equal number of primitive trails, including river overlooks and an observation platform for studying the local ecosystem. The tremendous Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge connects the Shelby Bottoms Greenway to the Stones River Greenway (all shared as part of the Music City Bikeway route). The Nature Center is also a location for the Nashville GreenBikes free bike share program.
Shelby Park is adjacent to Shelby Bottoms, and one of the earliest parks in the Metro Parks system. Shelby Park began in 1909 as a 151-acre purchase of land. Combined with Shelby Bottoms, the total amount of green space is over 1,200 acres.
Shelby Park includes baseball and softball facilities, special events field, picnic areas, a dog park, Sevier Lake and boat ramp,which is a popular spot for fishing, a community center, and two public golf courses (the 18-hole Shelby Park Golf Course and the 9-hole Vinny Links Golf Course).
Cedar Hill Park - (.5 mile, paved) Located in Madison, in northern Davidson County,this Metro Park features a loop walking path inaddition to several baseball diamonds, a playground, tennis courts, a lake forpublic fishing and an 18-hole disc golf course.
Maps of additional walking and hiking opportunities which includes trails at Long Hunter State Park on Percy Priest Lake, as well as state park visitor center hours, are available at www.connectwithtn.gov.
Let us know your favorite or one's that didn't make the list!