I like my walks how I like my friends- Dog Friendly and avoiding the hustle and bustle of downtown (what?). Thankfully, Nashville is quite the dog friendly place, and there are so many places to walk and enjoy nature all within 30 minutes of each other! Allow me to introduce my pack of wild animals:
Knuckles– A chug (chihuahua/pug) one of our dogs found wandering the streets when he was a mere one pound- we decided to keep him after we could not find his owner, and our vet determined he was dumped by a breeder due to a hernia (since they wouldn’t be able to make enough money off of him). He can have trouble breathing, due to his brachycephalic nose, but has no problem keeping up with us when we go hiking. He was basically raised by wild animals, as he grew up at a wildlife rehabilitation center, and can get along with any animal.
Tuesday– A bit of a crazy nut. We found her injured, bleeding, and near death in the woods of Shelby Bottoms. She attached herself to our two other dogs, and was very stressed without them, so we adopted her, and her shrill bark. She is definitely part collie, and has countless amounts of energy; she would run for hours if she was chasing something. Due to her stress from people, cars, bikes, dogs, and anything really (of which we have worked with dog trainers, and dog behaviorists), we all enjoy a much more peaceful walk when it is not as crowded.
Huxley– My favorite, my pride and joy. He is now 10, and has recently had his leg amputated due to a tumor, but still insists on walking or hiking two times a day, and sniffing EVERYTHING. Thankfully, he knows his limits, and stops us to turn around when he’s ready. Unfortunately, he is a 100 pound dog that is terrified of flies, so insects are something we have to think about when thinking of places to walk.
My (sweet, wonderful) husband and I have had to accommodate all three of our dogs on every walk, while still keeping in mind what we enjoy. So here are five walks we enjoy more than anything here in Nashville:
1. Shelby Bottoms Greenway
Shelby Bottoms Greenway has at least three entrances you can hop onto, and you can spend anywhere from twenty minutes to three hours walking these trails. The main entrance leads you by the nature center, and into the beautiful forest and bottoms that whisk you away from the city. You can stop at the observation deck to catch some indigo buntings, deer, or other wildlife creatures.
Cornelia Fort Airpark is a non-functioning airpark with rich history, and one of Nashville’s only grassland areas (often full of deer). Behind the airpark lies a trail that guides you back into the forest, where you can find old farm equipment and even older trees.
The Forrest Green Trailhead is a mix of grasslands and forest, and be sure to check out the pond full of turtles, the resident heron, and a beaver den.
2. Warner Park
With two sides that are dog-friendly (Percy Warner and Edwin Warner), you would need a week to hike all the trails they have! My personal favorite secret is on the Percy Warner side on the white trail, which takes about an hour to complete. Make a right onto the loop from the “Deep Wells” Entrance, and make a left at the first roadway you cross. You will find a trail in the patch of green you come to in the middle of the street. Walk up it to find a beautiful view of Nashville. On Edwin Warner side we often hike the old roadway. The street is much wider than the trail, and it’s not as crowded.
3. Anderson Fitness Trail
A free entrance on Percy Priest lake in the Antioch area with about a mile-long trail that is mostly shaded. There are little points along the way where you can find a spot and hang out by or even on the lake with your pup (this is Huxley’s favorite walk, as he loves to swim).
4. Lockeland Springs Park
This walk may be short, but it is worth the trip just to discover such a fun secret in East Nashville. This riparian habitat is tucked away in Lockeland Springs (behind Lockeland Design Center) on Woodland Street. It’s also a joy (when it’s not too hot), to walk around the neighborhood and read about its rich history.
5. The Day Loop at Long Hunter
Okay this may not be IN Nashville, but Mount Juliet isn’t too far! This is by far our favorite hike/walk to take the dogs on. You travel along the Percy Priest Peninsula under the canopy of the trees. At the tip of the peninsula there is a bench to sit and watch the water, and just relax. On your way around the loop, you’ll go up the cliffs, and there is plenty of points to grab different views of the lake (and snap some photos). While there are the occasional trail runners, you’re not too likely to run into anyone on weekdays and early weekend mornings during the four miles.
Nashville has so many awesome spots to walk your dog! Have a hike that you and your puppy like to enjoy? Please let us know!