Hike Nashville with Your Dog
This article was written by Pet Community Center volunteer and winner of the 2022 Jourdan Parenteau Excellence in Service Award, Melissa Mathews. You can learn more about the author at the end of the post.
We are so fortunate to have many options in our area for a quick daytime getaway with our pets. So put your furry best friend on a leash and let’s go for a hike! Here are five dog-friendly trails I can recommend.
Richland Creek Greenway (McCabe Golf Course Loop)
Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 56 minutes to complete the 2.8-mile loop that surrounds a golf course. Years ago, when I lived in Sylvan Park, my furry love of a lifetime, Loretta, and I did this one all the time. It’s a popular trail for walking, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of the day.
Even though the trail surrounds McCabe’s Golf Course, you still go through some wooded areas on the paved and partially boardwalk trail down by the creek. It’s kept super clean with plenty of benches and trash cans along your route. There is ample parking and many areas to enter or exit the trail if needed. This one is particularly busy at peak times, but the path is extra wide, so everyone has plenty of space. It was always my favorite place to wind down after a long workday.
Day Loop Trail at Long Hunter Park
Experience this 3.7-mile loop trail that extends off the Volunteer Trail at Long Hunter State Park. This is a very popular area for hiking, running, and walking – the terrain is all natural and rocky and winds its way through mature trees, mostly oak and hickory, with several bluffs that overlook Percy Priest Lake. This trail is a good one if you want to spot Pileated Woodpeckers, red-tailed hawks, osprey, and common loon. I love hearing loons make their eerie, beautiful calls.
Overall, this is a nice hike with excellent spots for a picnic or, if you’re into it, an easy overnight camping trip. You’ll see lots of kids and dogs on the trails, but it tends not to be overly crowded and has easy-to-find parking spots. One of my favorite nearby trails!
Harpeth River Hidden Lake Trail
If you like a flat, easy, and well-maintained trail with good picnic areas and a sweet little pond with birds, squirrels, butterflies, pleasant people, and four-legged friends – head out on this 1.3-mile out-and-back trail near Bellevue. Considered an easy route, it takes an average of 25 minutes to complete.
This trail starts out in an open field and winds its way into the woods along a creek. Once in the woods, follow the signs to get to a point where you can actually touch the water, as most of the lake is surrounded by high bluffs. There's also a quick, steep trek up to the cliffs, with excellent views of the water below. Almost exactly halfway through the hike, there is a bench that overlooks the whole area. You can then decide to branch off to the far left so you can go farther or head up to the right for even better views.
Rogers Walk Trail (Ellington Agricultural Center)
Get to know this 2.4-mile loop trail where you can be one with nature but never far from civilization as it is in the heart of a Nashville suburb. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 50 minutes to complete. The trail is open year-round, along with the Ellington Agricultural Center, and is beautiful to visit anytime.
I recommend this agricultural trail because it surprisingly has it all: wildlife, a farm, a creek, paved trails, wooded trails, and much more. However, I sure miss seeing the Metro Police Department’s mounted patrol horses now that they’ve moved to Percy Warner.
Beaman is a beautiful hiking area nestled in the foothills just north of our city. It is enormous as the entire park sits on 1,688 acres. Visitors get a unique vantage point of elevation drops and scenic overlooks. I was overwhelmed on my first visit, but luckily the worker inside the Nature Center was kind and knowledgeable and was able to point me on my way. He had maps and seemed happy to highlight the best trail for me given the time I had allotted for hiking.
The six different trails offer a nice shaded and scenic walk through the hardwoods with clearly marked trails. I saw a few water turtles sunning and an owl. The terrain is easy, with gentle elevation gains. There are some rocks and roots along the way, but not continuously. Beaman Park is a great place to take a group because you can choose your own adventure for varying fitness levels or time constraints. The flexibility of the trail system at Beaman Park is ideal for these scenarios.
I hope this gives you some fun and new ideas for trail walks with your pup. I love how excited they get when I lace up my hiking shoes and grab their leashes. Leave your valuables at home, lock up your car, take water for both you and your fur baby, remember to grab poop bags to pick up after your pup, and enjoy feeling like you’re out of town…even though you’re still close to home!
About the Author: Melissa Mathews
Melissa Mathews began volunteering with Pet Community Center in 2017 by helping the organization with its press and marketing efforts. For the past six years, she has devoted countless hours to growing PCC’s client and donor base, planning and executing fundraising events, and supporting many other organizational needs, all while leading a successful career in PR in the music industry.