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11 Best Hikes Near Nashville for Waterfalls, City Views & More

best hikes near Nashville
Foto: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash / Matthew Jungling

Looking for a break from the city but don’t want to travel too far? Check out the best hikes near Nashville for some much-needed fresh air and a change of scenery.

Nashville is known for being a hub of country music and soul food, but there is much more to this pocket of Tennessee than meets the eye. For those looking to escape the city and experience a bit of nature therapy, hitting the trails is a great choice. We’ll take a look at the best hikes near Nashville, so lace up your boots and grab your favorite hiking snacks.

Remember: when you’re out, respecting nature and everyone else on the trail is important. Stick to the marked pathways and trails, don’t litter and avoid blaring music, as noise pollution can affect wildlife. You can also practice environmental stewardship and pick up any trash you find on the trails to help keep nature pristine.

1. Radnor Lake Loop

  • Time from Nashville: 20 minutes
  • Trail length: 2.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 170 feet

The Radnor Lake Loop is known for its waterfront views and shady wooded areas. It is located in Radnor Lake State Park, just south of the city. This gentle 2.4-mile loop trail takes you around the perimeter of the lake and is the best hike near Nashville for an easy half-day trip.

2. Best Hikes Near Nashville: Ridge Top Trail

  • Time from Nashville: 25 minutes
  • Trail length: 3.9 miles
  • Elevation gain: 334 feet

Located in Beamon Park, metro Nashville’s second largest park, the Ridge Top Trail, is just outside the city limits. The trail is a 3.9-mile out-and-back hike, and the top of the ridge offers beautiful views overlooking the forest. It’s one of the best hikes near Nashville for dog owners, as this trail is pet-friendly.

3. Narrows of the Harpeth Trail

  • Time from Nashville: 30 minutes
  • Trail length: 1.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 223 feet

The Narrows of the Harpeth Trail is one of the best hikes near Nashville that is suitable for all fitness levels. Located just west of the city, this 1.1-mile trail has a pretty nifty feature — a waterfall that goes through a hole. The waterfall isn’t the only thing to see; you can enjoy views of other incredible rock features along the trail.

4. Volunteer Trail Day Loop

  • Time from Nashville: 30 minutes
  • Trail length: 3.9 miles
  • Elevation gain: 269 feet

The Volunteer Trail Day Loop runs along the shore of Percy Priest Lake, which is just east of the city. This 3.9-mile loop is one of the best hikes near Nashville for those looking to stay close to home. If you’re feeling adventurous, there is a longer version of this trail, but you aren’t missing out by doing the shorter one. Enjoy a walk in the woods and cool off in the lake afterwards.

5. Best Hikes Near Nashville: Burgess Falls Trail

  • Time from Nashville: 2 hours
  • Trail length: 1.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 134 feet

This is one of the best hikes near Nashville for those not afraid of straying further from the city. It’s located in Burgess Falls State Park, which has plenty of trails to make a full day out of it — grab your friends and carpool. Burgess Falls is 135 feet and wraps around a cliff, making it one of the most incredible waterfalls in the state.

6. Best Hikes Near Nashville: Mossy Ridge Trail

  • Time from Nashville: 20 minutes
  • Trail length: 4.9 miles
  • Elevation gain: 882 feet

The Mossy Ridge Trail is the best hike near Nashville that’s accessible by public transit. The trail can be found in Warner Park, which is actually located within the city limits. You can enjoy a shady hike through the woods and get your heart pumping with some elevation gain.

7. Montgomery Bell Trail

  • Time from Nashville: 45 minutes
  • Trail length: 10.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,049 feet

A bit of a tougher hike, the Montgomery Bell Trail is located west of the city in Montgomery Bell State Park. It features a historic log cabin, multiple waterfalls and streams, and lake views, making it one of the best hikes near Nashville for groups of people with varying interests. Keep in mind, however: since the elevation gain is over 1000 feet, you need a certain fitness level to truly enjoy it.

8. Best Hikes Near Nashville: North Fork Laurel Woods Trail

  • Time from Nashville: 30 minutes
  • Trail length: 6.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 597 feet

Another one of the best hikes near Nashville for dog owners, the North Fork Laurel Woods Trail is pet-friendly, and you’ll see plenty of other walkers, hikers, and joggers out with their pups. Remember to keep your furry friend on a leash! This moderately challenging 6.1-mile hike is located just north of the city in Beaman Park.

9. Best Hikes Near Nashville: Fiery Gizzard Trail

  • Time from Nashville: 1½ hours
  • Trail length: 9.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,243 feet

The Fiery Gizzard Trail is the best hike near Nashville for experienced hikers. Located in South Cumberland State Park, this challenging hike is closer to Chattanooga than Nashville, but don’t let that scare you off. You’ll find yourself hiking over rocky terrain and crossing streams, and the views make it all worthwhile. It’s one of the best hikes to see fall colors, particularly at Raven’s Point, along the way.

10. Hidden Springs Trail

  • Time from Nashville: 35 minutes
  • Trail length: 4.3 miles
  • Elevation gain: 167 feet

For those looking for another easy hike near Nashville, the Hidden Springs Trail fits the bill. It’s a relatively flat 4.3-mile loop trail. The caves dotted around the landscape of Cedars of Lebanon State Park make it fun for the whole family. This hike is also great for viewing wildflowers in the spring.

11. Shelby Bottoms Greenway Trail

  • Time from Nashville: 16 minutes
  • Trail length: 8.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 88 feet

Located just 3 miles from downtown, the Shelby Bottoms Greenway Trail is the ultimate nature break within the city. This is the best hike near Nashville for those who need a bit of green space during their city break. Due to its central location, this hike is popular, so be prepared to share the trail. You’ll enjoy forest views and urban architecture together.

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