Wondering where you and your dog can get in a good walk around Nashville during the winter months? We’ve got three fun (and educational) urban hikes you can enjoy today.
February 2, 2019
Winter is hard. It’s hard to stay outdoors for very long in below-freezing temps. It’s hard to drive in bad weather to your favorite trail. It’s hard to find time to walk with your dog between picking up the kids from ballet or running errands.
If you’re visiting from out-of-town with your dog, maybe you’re looking for a quick hike within city limits.
We’ve got you covered.
These three urban hikes are perfect for when you are short on time and need to stay near home. Because the trails are paved, they are perfect for strollers for the littles. And with all the history and rich detail they provide, they are perfect for out-of-town guests.
Of course, your dog thinks they’re perfect just for getting out and about!
Urban hikes are optimal for winter months. No need to worry about burning pavement on your pup’s tender pads. You’ll stay cooler, too.
Located just south of downtown Nashville, this 4 acre historic educational outdoor center is the site of the largest inland stone fortification built during the Civil War. It has .5 miles of blacktop and .25 miles of boardwalks around the fort remains.
The Visitor Center provides guests with interactive exhibits and detailed information. Nice amenities are the bathrooms available when the Center is open.
Fort Negley is a fragile and historically significant site. Although it is tempting to let your dog climb and explore the stonework, please abide by the park rules to protect this site.
You’ll get a bit of a climb working your way around to the top.
Once inside, you’ll get a spectacular view of Nashville and the surrounding area.
Interpretive panels are found throughout the park.
Take a couple laps around the perimeter and then meander along the boardwalks and you’ll have completed a great urban hike.
What Makes This a Great Winter Walk: Fort Negley is beautiful any time of the year, but the best views of the cityscape are when the trees are bare.
You’ll see lots of dogs and their owners here. Located in downtown Nashville next to the Capitol, this 19 acre park is filled with the history of Tennessee – both historical and natural.
According to sources, Bicentennial Mall has .90 miles of paved pathways. There is an inner and outer loop – be sure and walk your dog along both routes. There is so much to see on this urban hike.
On one side of the Mall, called the Path of History, you’ll see monuments and memorials to Tennessee’s part in history.
At the far north end, you’ll arrive at The Court of Three Stars and the 95 Bell Carillion.
Continuing on the other side, The Walkway of Counties takes you through the landscape and flora of Tennessee.
The Tennessee Amphitheater is at the south end of the Mall.
Be sure and walk beyond the amphitheater to see the Rivers of Tennessee Fountains (usually closed for the winter months) and the Tennessee Map Plaza.
The Visitor Center is located under the train trestle with restroom facilities. There is free two-hour parking available along 6th and 7th Avenues. On weekends, visitors may also park free in the state employee parking lots around the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.
Nashville Farmer’s Market is just across the street on the west side. Although your dog is not allowed inside, you can send over someone from your party to pick up some fresh treats.
What Makes this a Great Winter Walk: You can enjoy Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park any time of the year – but in summer it does get HOT. Paved trails are tough on little paws, so your best bet is a cooler day.
Arguably the crowd favorite for dog owners in Nashville, Centennial Park, located off West End Avenue, is jam-packed with things to do and see. Centennial Park lists their distance at 2.3 miles of walking trails, which includes a 1 mile loop around Lake Wautauga.
The history of Centennial Park is fascinating. The land has been used for fairgrounds, a racetrack and of course, The Tennessee Centennial Exposition. I won’t cover it in detail, but you can read more here. And make sure you learn the story of Anne Robertson Johnson Cockrill.
Although exquisitely lovely during warmer months, winter brings its own beauty.
There is no end to the things your dog will find fascinating about this walk.
With the different pathways, you can make this urban hike as short or as long as you like.
If you’re a fan of dog parks, Centennial Dog Park is right next door.
Plenty of parking is available around the perimeter of the location. Although restrooms facilities (located near the playground) are a bit questionable, you could possibly stop at a nearby restaurant if necessary.
What Makes this a Great Winter Walk: Centennial Park is a great all-year-round location. But it does host many special events during the warmer months. Crowd levels and parking can be big factors. Wintertime sees fewer events and more time to enjoy the park.
Other urban hikes to enjoy:
Do you have a favorite urban hike? Share in the comments below.