Three Urban Hikes for Winter

Three Urban Hikes for Winter

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Wondering where you and your dog can get in a good walk around Nashville during the winter months? We’ve got three urban hikes you can enjoy today. They’re both fun AND educational.

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.

Fort Negley

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 Visitor Center in Nashville

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.

Leash laws in force at Fort Negley Nashville
Fort Negley is a perfect winter urban hike in Nashville.

You’ll get a bit of a climb working your way around to the top.

Dog walking up the trail on an urban hike at Fort Negley in Nashville

Once inside, you’ll get a spectacular view of Nashville and the surrounding area.

Dog taking in the skyline of Nashville from Fort Negley.
Dog enjoying the view of Nashville on an urban winter hike.
Stone walls of Fort Negley in Nashville

Interpretive panels are found throughout the park.

Dog reading interpretive panel at Fort Negley Nashville

Take a couple laps around the perimeter and then meander along the boardwalks and you’ll have completed a great urban hike.

Dog on the boardwalk at Fort Negley Nashville

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.

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

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.

Dog on the lawn at Bicentennial Mall State Park in Nashville

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.

Bicentennial Mall State Park in winter in Nashville
Dog by history wall at Bicentennial Mall State Park in Nashville
Tennessee WWII Memorial in Nashville
Dog sitting next to the World War II Memorial at Bicentennial State Park in Nashville

At the far north end, you’ll arrive at The Court of Three Stars and the 95 Bell Carillion.

Dog at the Court of Three Stars and the 95 Bell Carillion in Nashville

Continuing on the other side, The Walkway of Counties takes you through the landscape and flora of Tennessee.

Dog on an urban hike in Nashville
Davidson County seal at Bicentennial Mall State Park in Nashville
An urban winter hike is enjoyed by this dog.

The Tennessee Amphitheater is at the south end of the Mall.

Dog at the Tennessee Amphitheater at Bicentennial Mall State Park in Nashville

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.

Tennessee map at Bicentennial Mall State Park

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.

Visitor Center at Bicentennial Mall State Park in Nashville

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.

Dog outside of the Farmer's Market in Nashville, Tennessee

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.

Centennial Park

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.

Dog pauses by the Parthenon on an urban walk in the winter in Nashville

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.

Pathways at Centennial Park, Nashville Tennessee
Dog sitting on the bridge at Centennial Park in Nashville
Lake Wautauga at Centennial Park in Nashville, Tennessee

There is no end to the things your dog will find fascinating about this walk.

Dog in front of The Parthenon at Centennial Park in Nashville
Dog on the steps of The Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee
Dog watches a pair of ducks at the lake at Centennial Park in Nashville

With the different pathways, you can make this urban hike as short or as long as you like.

Dog runs with her owner on an urban hike in Nashville

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.

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