Top Nature Centers and Hiking Trails in Nashville

Published Jul 5, 2017

It's the time of year to get outside and enjoy nature. Check out some of Nashville's local parks and their highlights here:

Top Nature Centers and Hiking Trails in Nashville

It's the time of year to get outside and enjoy nature. Check out some of Nashville's local parks and their highlights here:

Warner Park

Nashville's largest hiking option with 12 trails to choose from, ranging from the 200 yard Amphitheater Trail to the 4.5 mile Mossy Ridge trail, these trails are all easy to moderate in difficulty.

Be sure to check out the Warner Park Nature Center which features the Susan Warner Bass Learning Center (and history museum), and the Emily Warner Dean Administration building and gardens.

Some of the featured events this summer include the Full Moon Pickin' Party (July 7th and August 4th), The Solar Eclipse (August 21), and the Summer Hummingbird Celebration (August 26).

Nature Center Hours:
Tuesday-Saturday: 9am-4pm

Beaman Park

If you're an animal lover, Beaman Park is a must-see, as it is home to deer, owls, foxes, coyotes, snakes, skunks, squirrels, and even bats!

Enjoy the moderately difficult Ridgetop Trail (2.1 miles one way) and Henry Hollow Loop (2 miles) with their interesting vegetation and scenery.  The shorter, but still moderate Sedge Hill trail (0.6 mile loop) leads up to the Beaman Park Nature Center, where several family programs are offered.

This summer's programs include guided hikes, a scavenger hunt, yoga, and more.

Nature Center Hours:
Tuesday-Friday 12pm-4pm
Saturday 9am-4pm
Other times by appointment

Bells Bend Park

Located in Davidson Country, the 2.3 Mile trail borders the Cumberland River. Some of the more interesting scenery includes the variety of trees and other vegetation.  Birdwatchers will enjoy the meadowlarks, goldfinches, sparrows, woodpeckers, and hawks, among other birds.  

The Bells Bend Outdoor Center at the end of trail offers a variety of outdoor recreation and education programs, including hikes, geocaching, and archery, among others.

Outdoor Center Hours:
Tuesday-Friday 12pm-4pm
Saturday 9am-4pm

Shelby Bottoms Greenway

Also bordering the Cumberland River, Shelby Bottoms Greenway features 5 trails ranging from 2.5 to 8 miles.

The Shelby Bottoms Nature Center not only offers educational programming and exhibits, but also includes a children's nature play area and bicycle rentals, as the Greenways include bike lanes.

Nature Center Hours:
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: 9am-4pm
Wednesday/Friday: 12pm-4pm
Other times by appointment

Radnor Lake State Park

A few different hiking options here with the easy 1.4 mile hike to the lake, or the more difficult Garnier Ridge Trail or South Cove Trails (about the same distance).

Aside from the visitor center, the Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center offers some interesting educational programs, showcasing the area's native birds and other animals.

Visitor Center Hours:
Monday/Thursday: 9:30am-6pm

Long Hunter State Park

Located south-east of Nashville, Long Hunter State Park features quite a number of short hikes (1.5 miles or less), as well as a the moderate Bryant Grove Trail (4 miles), and the Volunteer Trail (5.5 miles).

Other activities offered include camping, biking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and more.

Plan ahead if you're planning to bring your dog, as no pets are allowed in certain areas.

Cedars of Lebanon State Park

Located in Wilson County, the Cedars of Lebanon State Park is home to the largest stand Eastern Red Cedar (hence the name).  Easy to moderate hiking trails are open year-round, covering 8 miles in total distance. The closest one to the Nature center is the 2-mile Cedar Forest trail.

Other activities offered included camping, disc golf, and the unique Olympic sized outdoor pool.

Nature Center Hours:
Open during the summer months upon request

Bledsoe Creek State Park

Located adjacent to Old Hickory Lake, this former native hunting ground includes more than 6 miles of kiking trails.

On August 21st this year, the park is hosting a special Solar Eclipse Picnic, featuring live music from a local bluegrass group.

Bledsoe Creek also offers boating and year-round camping and fishing.

Visitor Center Hours:

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