Your 10,000 Step Guide To Franklin

Getting your steps in couldn’t be easier with sights around every corner in Franklin, Tennessee. Whether you’re shopping around downtown, perusing boutique after boutique at the Factory, enjoying the natural beauty of Leiper’s Fork, or trekking the perimeter of Bowie Nature Park, pick and choose your 10,000-step journey to get a taste of Tennessee’s culture.

Start anywhere

Our very own Franklin is one of the South’s most charming small towns, and idyllic Main Street is a great place to start. A morning of walking up and around the square and into shops will get you at least halfway to your goal—and a few souvenirs to boot.

Pick up a summer tee at Finnleys, buy your out-of-state friends an embroidered Franklin pillow from The Heirloom Shop, or jazz up your art collection with a trip to Gallery 202. You’ll also find a handful of spots to refuel and refresh on the go, including the T-Op Poke Bowl Shop—some of the best bubble milk tea you’ve ever had.

A few blocks away, you’ll find beautiful Hincheyville—a neighborhood of 1800s homes with rich Tennessee roots and stately architecture. Take a self-guided tour of this classic neighborhood with our free Historic Homes of Hincheyville Digital Passport, which outlines the history of houses up and down the street.

While Hincheyville is especially jaw-dropping come holiday time, visitors will appreciate all sorts of seasonal blooms set against dreamy porches. When you’re finished with your walking tour, pop into the downtown visitor’s center and pick up your prize!

Spend the day on a farm

Play with fluffy alpacas at Mistletoe Farm! Led by accountants Leanne and Tom Butchko, this close-knit family farm provides active fun for every member of your group. Run around and take pictures on a half or full-hour visit (by appointment), and you’ll see that step counter rise in direct correlation with the alpaca cuteness factor.

If you’d rather opt to experience a more traditional working farm, walk your way through Noble Springs Dairy in southeast Franklin—complete with adorable little goats and fresh cheese.

Follow in historic footsteps

A historical home tour around outbuildings, ornamental gardens, and classic Southern architecture guide visitors to step where figures from the 1700s stepped.

Walk through the McGavock homestead at Carnton, which served as a field hospital for wounded and dying soldiers during the Civil War. At the Lotz House, near ‘ground zero’ of the Battle of Franklin, visitors will even find an indentation in the floor from a cannonball gone astray in battle. It’s a walk through time—literally.

Explore the Toussaint L’Overture Cemetery in Franklin’s Hard Bargain neighborhood, where 44 Black citizens came together to create a burial ground for persons of African descent.

To further learn about African-American history and accomplishments in Franklin, I recommend checking out the Fuller Story historical markers around the square, which explore notable Black figures, stories, and challenges in Williamson Co. through the years. Follow in the footsteps of soldiers, families, and courageous Franklinites as you stroll through each of these notable historical spots.

Explore the perimeter

If you have 90 minutes to breathe the cleanest air in Middle Tennessee (in this writer’s opinion, at least), take a drive out to Fairview to visit Bowie Park and Nature Center—over 700 acres of protected land. Take the Perimeter Trail for a moderate 4.5-mile hike by creeks, around lakes, and through pine trees.

Knock out a full 10,000 steps around well-marked trails, and be sure to keep your eyes open for wildlife like turtles, owls, woodpeckers, and deer. Plus, your furry friends can reach their step goal, too; it’s one of my pup’s favorite spots to hike.

If you’re looking for a walk closer to town, lace up your sneakers for a jaunt around Pinkerton Park. In addition to some lush foliage through a paved one-mile path, visitors are treated to a vibrant mural under the footbridge—an 8-foot collaboration called “Franklin Past, Present, and Future” by local students through the Franklin Kids Arts Festival.

Stand up for storytime

Perhaps the most entertaining way to get in your daily exercise is to walk and listen at the same time. With Franklin on Foot tours around downtown, visitors can explore our past through the lens of talented storytellers. One of the most popular tours is the Haunted Franklin ghost tour, where you’ll hear all kinds of tales in an intriguing 90-minute trip through time. Not up to get spooked? Franklin On Foot provides walking tour options for folks with every interest, from cooking to history.

If you’d rather take on the spookiness of a solo walking tour, try out the free Haunts & Headstones Digital Passport. On this one-mile walk, you’ll pass by haunted historic homes and cemeteries dating back to Franklin’s founding in 1799. End your tour at the visitor’s center to score a Haunts & Headstones button, and you may be treated to one last ghost story about a young Franklinite named Felix.

Stroll like the locals

The Park at Harlinsdale Farm is one of my favorite corners of the world. Immerse yourself in Tennessee Walking Horse history framed with a picturesque fishing pond, working stables, antique houses, and rolling fields. This 200-acre family-nurtured historic property is a beautiful spot to walk and even features the K-9 Korral Dog Park for Fido to run around.

When you’ve gotten in your steps at Harlinsdale, support local businesses at The Factory at Franklin, a national landmark with its own trademark personality.

Constructed in the late 1920s, the Factory started as Dortch Stove Works before housing Magic Chef and then the Jamison Bedding Company. Now, it’s a bustling hub of local shops, galleries, and eateries. You’ll find me getting my steps in (and filling up a bag with vintage sweets) at Fork of the South, a curated general store with nostalgic flair.

Tour a walkable village

My favorite way to hit 10,000 steps is when I don’t even realize I’m reaching my goal. Nearby Leiper’s Fork, widely considered the South’s quaintest village, is the perfect location to mosey down the street on a Sunday afternoon. You’ll be welcomed by some of the kindest folks in Tennessee.

Plan to spend some time wandering through The Copper Fox, an eccentric collection of colorful, sculptural, and textured handmade art. It sounds counterintuitive, but a trip to this quiet village will not only get your feet moving—it’ll encourage you to slow down and really enjoy what you’re seeing.

Act like a kid

Who says your 10,000 steps need to be land-bound? At SOAR Adventure Park off of Carothers Parkway, you can take to the sky on their unique climbing tower.

Visit in the last two hours of the day to experience their Twilight Climb, where ages 8+ (some restrictions for kids under 11) can harness in and navigate the ropes. The tower has four different levels of difficulty and features over 110 climbing elements. It’s a safe, exciting way to challenge your balance and strength.

If you’re really hoping to raise your heart rate, bounce your way to better health at Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park. At this robust adventure park, guests can climb through a ropes course, flip on ProZone Performance trampolines, take a (harnessed) leap of faith off of a high platform, find their footing on the Wipeout course, or join in a little friendly-family competition on the Battle Beam.

Let’s get active together! Fulfilling those 10,000 steps is a breeze with the beauty and energy of Franklin on your side.

Posted in

Abbi is an adopted Tennessean who has fallen in love with the South—especially its people, warmth, and incomparable food. When she’s not telling stories or experimenting with family recipes, Abbi loves to explore new places with her husband Zach and dog Groot.