Where to Find The Perfect Spring Hike Around Franklin, Tennessee
You’re in for a treat if you’ve never enjoyed a springtime hike in Franklin. The weather in spring is magnificent, the wildflowers are in bloom, and walking through the woods feels like stepping into a storybook. Whether you’re looking for a paved, easy walk or a hike on more rugged terrain, here are some of our favorite Franklin options for a spring hike you’ll remember.
Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary
This privately-owned nature preserve and owl sanctuary is one of Franklin’s best-kept secrets, and it’s at its most glorious in spring. Since only a limited number of $5 day passes are offered each day, the Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary trails are lightly trafficked, and wildflowers bloom in profusion. If you like hiking as much as we do, you really owe it to yourself to make the trip to Owl’s Hill in spring. Hike on your own or attend one of the guided Saturday morning hikes. Just be sure to buy your day pass ahead of time on the Owl’s Hill website.
Bowie Nature Park
One of Middle Tennessee’s best nature parks can be found just outside Franklin in nearby Fairview. Bowie Nature Park has 17 miles of scenic hiking trails that wind around lakes and ponds and cross a beautiful, rocky stream. You’ll notice this park has a sizable pine forest, which is a rarity in these parts. The pines were planted decades ago by Dr. Evangeline Bowie, for whom the park is named. The trails at Bowie are mostly flat, making the park a popular option for families. Be sure and pull up a map on your phone when you go: You can opt for a short walk or a longer one, but the trails often intersect and can be confusing to navigate without a little help. Download a trail map here.
Winstead Hill Park
If you have little ones or limited mobility, the trail at Winstead Hill Park might be just right for you. This 3/4-mile paved loop trail near downtown Franklin is part of a 61-acre historic battle site that once served as the vantage point for General John Bell Hood to observe his advancing Confederate troops. Locals love the trail’s natural beauty, lack of crowds, and kid-friendliness. Be sure and read the historical markers along the trail to understand the significance of what took place on this land during the Civil War.
I always tell people that Franklin’s Timberland Park is just like Nashville’s super-popular Warner Park, but without all the people! Located on the Natchez Trace Parkway just south of the Highway 96 entrance, this beautiful wooded park has several miles of loop trails, including lots of hills and ridges, a lovely pond and meadow, and plenty of wildlife sightings. You’ll spot many wildflowers, birds, and butterflies here in the spring as well. If you’re looking for a classic hiking option, Timberland should definitely be on your list.
The Brentwood Greenway system consists of eight paved trails that range between one and eight miles, roundtrip. Most trails are connected, allowing you to create a walk that’s just the right length to suit your needs. You’ll see all kinds of things along these trails, from historical sights and markers to forests, creeks, and meadows, to peaceful suburban neighborhoods. This greenway is very popular with locals and heavily trafficked, making it a safe yet scenic option for families and solo walkers. Plan out your route ahead of time with this Brentwood trail system map.
Marcella Vivrette Smith Park
This stunning park in nearby Brentwood includes six miles of trails that take you along peaceful forest paths, through lush meadows, and past the historic Ravenswood Mansion, which was constructed in 1825. The trails at Smith Park include lots of hills, making them a good option for those searching for a workout. We love the trails here for the wildlife sightings (deer and wild turkeys are common ones) and the lack of people. You can download a trail map here.
The Park at Harlinsdale Farm
Want to enjoy the sunshine on a beautiful spring day? The Park at Harlinsdale Farm has a 5k soft track for walking and running on one of the most beautiful historic farms in Middle Tennessee. Once the home of famed Tennessee Walking Horse Midnight Sun, the farm has turned out many notable Tennessee Walking Horses over the years and now is open for the public to enjoy. It includes 200 acres of farmland, a dog park, and a 3-acre pond.
Jim Warren Park
This popular Franklin park includes a 2.5-mile paved loop trail that winds around a catch-and-release pond and takes you past ball fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, and a skate park. It’s a good option for those who want a longer paved trail, and it’s always lovely in the springtime.