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Journal / Nashville Guide

Get Out! (Outside, That Is)

When it comes to outdoor recreation, Middle Tennessee doesn’t have the following of Chattanooga’s active scene or the popularity of the Great Smoky Mountains. But Middle Tennessee has great accessibility for its waterfalls, lakes, rivers, parks and bike trails. Just outside the doors of the Bobby hotel you can connect with the Greenway to get whatever kind of outdoor experience you crave. Nashville’s Greenway system is a connection of largely paved trails—about 100 miles—which are basically a network of connected parks that wind their way along the riverbanks and through the city. In addition to the hard-surface pathways there is also a network of “primitive trails” which are dirt paths in some of the larger parks.

When it was first introduced the goal was for every Nashvillian was to live within two miles of a greenway. Then, that goal was changed to one mile. Now the goal is one-half mile for the urban core (which includes Bobby’s downtown neighborhood). You can walk or ride a bike. If you didn’t bring your own bike to town, look for a Bcycle station to rent one for your adventures.

From the Bobby it is closest to connect with the 10.2-mile Cumberland River Greenway, which will connect downtown to MetroCenter and Ted Rhodes Park, showing off the river as well as a number of public art installations. Also nearby and in a similarly urban environment is the Gulch Greenway, which connects the Capitol View area to the Gulch by heading under Broadway. It’s dotted with murals and passes by a dog park and an outdoor workout station (that one is for humans).

If you want to go farther afield, here are three more serene Greenways that will allow you to commune with nature in the city:

Beaman Park. Head 11 miles northwest of downtown. You’ll see wildlife here, both flora and fauna. Its 2,371 acres includes wetlands, meadows and forest, and the trails features some good elevation changes.

Shelby Bottoms Greenway. Its proximity to downtown and a pedestrian bridge that connects to Two Rivers Park means Shelby isn’t as quiet as Beaman Park, but there’s plenty of space to get away from it all. Don’t miss the shorebird and wildlife habitat pond at the base of the pedestrian bridge. It is a birdwatcher’s paradise and an excellent place to shoot some photos. You may see the General Jackson showboat go by.

Whites Creek Greenway at Fontanel. This spot on the north side of the city features both big open meadows and winding, shaded trails, so it has a little something for everyone. This is a particularly dog-friendly section of the Greenway with bone-shaped benches for resting.

For directions to specific Greenway trailheads and other tips for getting outdoors, talk to The Guide at Bobby.