Tennessee’s lush, often forested greenways are a system of both natural and maintained trails that connect residents to their jobs, schools, shopping, cultural centers, and entertainment—all without the use of cars or busses.
A growing body of evidence suggests that communities that are supported by these beautiful walking and biking trails are in higher demand, which bolsters property values. Because the people of Tennessee have had such positive responses to local governments strengthening the greenway system, there has been a boom of trail-oriented development. Available homes near greenways can move quickly, but you don’t have to be directly on a greenway to take advantage of the positive health and environmental benefits they offer!
The following guide is a quick reference to the 6 best greenways in Middle Tennessee. Whether you’re an elite athlete, beginning a new activity regimen, entertaining your children on the weekend, or working your upper arms in your fastest wheelchair, one of our greenways will be just right for your activity level.
We recommend using your smartphone or GPS to map to the trail access point nearest your starting location.
SHELBY BOTTOMS GREENWAY
10 MILES | NASHVILLE
Shelby Bottoms may well be the most popular park in Music City. With 10 miles of trails winding through forests, past rushing streams, and down by the river, it’s worth heading out on this greenway just to see the natural beauty. You might spy the General Jackson Riverboat or the Wave Country Water Park, which is just over the river.
The trails here are half paved, half unpaved, so consult a map if your expedition will rely on wheels. With over 5 miles of ADA-accessible trail representing opportunities to hike, skate, run, roll, and bike, and another 5 miles of primitive trails for the off-roaders among us, Shelby Bottoms Greenway clearly earns its rank as a local favorite.
Pets are permitted on leashes no longer than 6 feet. Bicycles are available to rent at the Nashville B-Cycle station.
CUMBERLAND RIVER GREENWAY
7.6 TOTAL MILES | NASHVILLE
This gentle trail is a lush respite for those in need of an escape from downtown Nashville. Passing through both Riverfront Park and Fort Nashborough, this trail also has offshoot paths leading to Bicentennial State Park and Morgan Park.
With paths meandering under tunnels, along 3.5 miles of riverside, through arches, and past striking decorative etchings of aquatic wildlife, this unique greenway is locally beloved. Be sure to stop at the various rest areas; the second overlooks Lake Amulet, and the others either display artwork, connect to retail locations downtown, or offer wilder areas to explore.
If you’d like to park, head down the spurs leading to either Bicentennial State Park or Morgan Park. Additional parking can be found at the end of Great Circle Road where the Metro Center Levee begins.
STONES RIVER GREENWAY SYSTEM
13 MILES | MURFREESBORO
This extensive multi-use greenway system encompasses asphalt park trails across the Stones River and Lytle Creek regions. The paved trails are 12 feet wide, permitting wheelchair users, rollerbladers, bicyclists, and pedestrians, and provide access to communities and parks all along the way.
Connecting Two Rivers Park and Heartland Park, this robust greenway is served by a number of parking lots accessible at several trailheads along the way, so if the lot you visit is full, chances are good you’ll be able to find parking at another lot further down.
If you’re in the market for a picnic spot, the General Bragg trailhead is your spot; here you’ll find a picnic area with four tables and a playground.
6.3 MILES | HENDERSONVILLE
Supported avidly by Mayor Jamie Clary and local government, Hendersonville Greenway is designed to give locals a safe way to move throughout town without relying on fossil fuels. Hendersonville residents love meeting on the greenway to walk their dogs, hang out with friends and family, catch a movie, go shopping, head in to work or school, or just to take in the rich natural beauty Hendersonville is so famous for!
CUMBERLAND RIVER BICENTENNIAL TRAIL
8 MILES | ASHLAND CITY
The Cumberland River Bicentennial Trail is a mix of paved and unpaved trails following the breathtaking Cumberland River. Some sections are ADA-accessible, while others are only suitable for experienced nature enthusiasts. Birdwatchers, bring your binoculars! Expect to see grazing sheep, barges moving along the river, and a rich spectrum of local wildlife bustling about alongside you.
BOILING SPRINGS/RAVENWOOD TRAIL
8.2 MILES | BRENTWOOD
Brentwood’s extensive greenway system is well-loved and relied on by residents. The longest trail in the Brentwood system is the Boiling Springs/Ravenwood Trail; however, there are parking areas at several points, and many sprawling wooded areas to explore as you go. Long enough to occupy an entire day, this trail is definitely one we’d recommend to the avid hiker who is looking for a moderate hike. Also well-loved by local bicyclists, the Boiling Springs/Ravenwood Trail connects with Split Log Trail and River Park Trail.