Radnor Lake Trail
Radnor Lake State Park is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. The 1,400-acre nature preserve is located south of the city near the affluent Brentwood area. It features nearly 8 miles of trail, including the 1.35-mile-long Lake Trail, which is well-known for its scenic vistas and abundant wildlife.
This hike falls into the short, but sweet category making it perfect for a quick outing. The Lake Trail connects with the 1.65-mile Ganier Ridge Trail, which features more significant elevation gains to get your heart pumping.
Shelby Bottoms Greenway
The Shelby Bottoms Greenway is conveniently located in trendy East Nashville, making it a great place to stretch your legs before grabbing lunch or dinner at a nearby restaurant. The main path is paved and 5 miles in length, with an additional 5 miles of dirt trail to explore. The route is very easy and mostly flat, drawing plenty of walkers, joggers, and cyclists. It also provides excellent access to a surprisingly serene natural setting located in the heart of a thriving metropolitan area.
Long Hunter State Park is another premiere outdoor destination located a short distance from Nashville. The 2,600-acre natural area sits along the shores of Percy Priest Lake and includes rocky bluffs and thick forests populated with oak and hickory trees. With over 20 miles of hiking trails to explore, there are options for just about anyone. But the truly adventurous and energetic will want to give the Volunteer Trail a go.
At 6 miles in length one-way, walking the entire route in a day can be a challenge. However, the trail’s moderate difficulty and excellent scenery—including rocky coves along the lake shore—make this a delightful walk. The route ends at a backcountry campsite that is perfect for backpackers looking for a relaxing overnight adventure well away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Mossy Ridge Trail
Percy Warner Park is home to the Mossy Ridge Trail, a 4.5-mile-long hiking route that meanders up and down Nashville’s surprisingly undulating terrain. The trail is a bit rocky in sections and has some steep climbs, but is generally rated as a moderately easy walk or run if you’re looking for a workout. The route offers plenty of shade along its entire length, which is much appreciated during the warmer months of the year.
Because the park is close to the city, the trail can get very busy at times. But the scenic views and lovely setting make it a relaxing walk, even when sharing the route with others. And if you’re feeling extra industrious, you can add another 2 miles to your hike by starting on the Cane Connector Trail, which is found near the Warner Park Nature Center.
Narrows of the Harpeth
Drive a half-hour west of Nashville, and you’ll find the Harpeth River State Park, a lovely setting with spectacular views of its titular waterway. The park is home to one of the oldest manmade tunnels in the country and is a popular destination for kayakers and canoeists. It also offers several excellent hiking trails, with the Narrows of the Harpeth the standout option.
This 1.1-mile trail is an out-and-back route that won’t overwhelm anyone with its distance, but it does have some fun points of interest en route. Those include the aforementioned tunnel and stunning views from atop a rocky bluff. The hike is relatively easy and doesn’t take long to complete, but you’ll want to linger at the summit to soak in the impressive scenery. If you’re an early riser, head to the trail before dawn to catch the sunrise over the surrounding vistas.
Harpeth Woods Trail
Nashville’s Edwin Warner Park is another excellent destination for visitors looking to get outdoors while visiting the city. The park offers nearly 20 miles of trails, most of which tend to be less crowded than those found in nearby Percy Warner Park. And while all of those walking paths offer standout features, the Harpeth Woods Trail is especially enticing.
The 2.5-mile loop follows a segment of the famous Natchez Trace, a historic travel corridor used by Native Americans for centuries. The route takes hikers over wooden footbridges, along the banks of a fast-flowing river, and up into towering bluffs that overlook a nearby rock quarry. The lush forest provides plenty of shade, opportunities to spot wildlife and is especially beautiful when the leaves make their seasonal change in the fall.
Stones River Greenway
This mixed-use, paved trail is another piece of Nashville’s popular greenway. The route is 5.7 miles long, with lovely scenery throughout, including a segment along its namesake river. Because it sits in the heart of the city, it is a popular path for walkers out for a casual stroll, as well as runners and cyclists getting in a workout.
The trail has a few steep inclines but is otherwise a very easy walk. The smooth, paved surface makes it highly accessible for anyone looking to spend time in the outdoors, including those in wheelchairs. A variety of wildlife can be found along the route, with sightings of whitetail deer a frequent occurrence. Shade is plentiful, too, offering some respite from the often-harsh Nashville sun.
Beaman Park Ridgetop Trail
Located on the northwest edge of town, Beaman Park is a fantastic outdoor playground for active locals and visitors alike. The nature preserve sits on the Highland Rim, a section of land known for steep hills, towering bluffs, and dense forests. If you enjoy immersing yourself in a wilderness setting, this place won’t disappoint. And because it is a bit more remote than some other parks in the area, it is often less crowded.
Without a doubt, the best hiking path in Beaman Park is the Ridgetop Trail. This out-and-back route covers approximately 4.2 miles and is moderately challenging due to the rugged nature of the terrain. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, taking hikers through a lush hickory forest that feels much more isolated from civilization than it actually is.
Bryant Grove Trail
While the Bryant Grove Trail is an out-and-back hike that covers more than 8 miles, it is relatively flat and easy. The route wanders through the cedar forests found in Long Hunter State Park, which provide ample shade for most of the walk. Occasionally the path wanders in sight of nearby Percy Priest Lake, giving hikers an enticing look at its inviting waters.
This trail is perfect for anyone looking for a long hike that isn’t especially demanding. The forest setting makes for a serene escape from Music City, with opportunities to spot wildlife along the way. Due to its length, Bryant Grove Trail usually isn’t all that crowded either, which is a nice bonus for those seeking a bit of solitude.