October 26, 2021

It’s time to take a hike. Here are our picks for the trails less traveled in Middle Tennessee.

Sharing your favorite hidden hiking spot is a bit like posting your go-to restaurant for great food and immediate seating on social media. You just have to tell others about your discovery but hope the crowds don’t ruin the experience. We can’t hold back on sharing these hiking spots that don’t include the ever-popular Radnor Lake, Warner Park or Narrows of the Harpeth.

Beaman Park

5911 Old Hickory Blvd., near Joelton
Nashville, Tennessee 37015

Beaman Park is a 1,700-acre hidden gem in north Davidson County. The nature center includes restrooms, maps, education spaces and parking. It’s the perfect starting point for five miles of hiking trails through the unique highland rim forest.

Hidden Lake Trail

Harpeth River State Park
7851 McCrory Lane
Nashville, Tennessee 37221
Trail map

The parking area for the Hidden Lake area is on McCrory Lane, about 1.2 miles north of Interstate 40 near the Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery. This little pocket of wilderness was a busy quarry until it closed in 1918 and was later repurposed as a summer recreation area. You’ll find relics of old buildings and the quarry while trekking along two miles of trails.

Bells Bend Outdoor Center

4187 Old Hickory Blvd.
Nashville, Tennessee 37218

Walking the 2.3-mile Loop Trail takes you through old farmland transforming back to native grasslands. Much of Nashville turns its back to the Cumberland River. A hike along the bottomland trails will re-connect you with the winding river that shaped the city.

Bearwaller Gap Trail

Cordell Hull Lake recreation area
Marina Lane, off Defeated Creek Highway
Carthage, Tennessee

We have to include one strenuous trail. The trail head is west of the picnic shelter at Defeated Creek Campground, north of Carthage. The 10- to 12-mile round trip to Tater Knob can be intense and the trails are sometimes overgrown from lack of traffic. If you want a challenge, the views are worth the sore legs.