Narrows of the Harpeth :: Harpeth River State Park

Harpeth River State Park is unique because it is a linear park following the Harpeth River and it’s split up into 9 sections across 40 river miles. Some sections are just canoe/kayak launching points and others also include a few short hiking trails. Some of the more popular sections of the park are Narrows of the Harpeth and Hidden Lake.

The Narrows is a part of the Harpeth River that consists of a high bluff with two different parts of the river on both sides, forming a very narrow bluff in between the two sections. Above, you’ll see the  view from the high bluff.

There are three very short trails in the Narrows of the Harpeth section: the Bluff Trail, the Harris Street Bridge Trail and the Tunnel Trail.

  • Bluff Trail (.25 mi)  – Steep climb to the top of the bluff, views of the Harpeth and the rolling Tennessee hills.
  • Harris Street Bridge Trail (.35 mi) – Hugs the bluff on the one side (beautiful rock ledges) and the river on the other
  • Tunnel Trail (.2 mi) – Short and flat walk to the tunnel through the bluff.
    • Fun history fact: This tunnel used to power Pattinson Forge which was used to break pierces of iron into smaller pieces of iron – pretty exciting stuff for 1818.

Because they are all so short, I don’t see a reason why you wouldn’t just try ‘em all. You’ll end up doing an out and back of all three trails because they don’t form a loop. So, even though the trails only add up to .8 mi, you end up hiking at least double that amount. (I did about 2.5 miles because I parked near a canoe access and walked along the paved road for a bit.) Although these trails are short, there’s a few pretty nice things to see.

Bring your hammock or a packable chair and hang out on top of the bluff or near the tunnel if you need to get a quick relaxing reset from the city.

 Distance from Nashville: 40 min

Directions to trailhead: Either near Harris Street Bridge parking area off of Cedar Hill Road or near the canoe/kayak access point on Narrows of the Harpeth Road

Trail: Harris Street Bridge, Bluff Overlook, and Tunnel Trails

Link to trail map: Harpeth River State Park Trail Map

Length of hike: ~2 miles after all is said and done, allow about 30-45 minutes

Brief overview: River bluffs overlooks, tunnels through those bluffs and the Harpeth River. Short and close to home.

Hidden Lake Trail :: Harpeth River State Park

I actually stumbled upon this hike, well more drove upon, I guess. I was returning to Nashville from camping in Montgomery Bell State Park, and I saw a sign for one ‘Hidden Lake Trail’. It sounded intriguing enough to make me stop my car and hike it.

It’s part of the Harpeth River State Park, which spans a large portion of the Harpeth River. There are different trailheads and canoe drop off points all along the river. So, this state park is kind of scattered all around.

It’s really close to Nashville and a fun little afternoon adventure. Also, a bunch of weird stuff like a metal thing that looks like a half underground submarine and some concrete that used to be a dance floor (yes, they used to host dances out here). A close one to Nashville if you need to get away. Go wander around all the little connecting trails and find the Hidden Lakes!

The (larger) Hidden Lake

A pup enjoying one of the bluffs

Distance from Nashville: 25-30 min

Directions to trailhead: I-40W to exit 192 and turn slight right onto McCrory. You’ll see a Harpeth River Hidden Lake sign on your left and a small parking lot.

Trail: There’s lots of little loops and paths all surrounding the lake, some accessible, some not. So it’s fun to just wander around and it’s small enough to feel like you won’t really get lost. (See map below)

Link to trail map: Hidden Lake Trails

Length of hike: around 2 miles if you explore all around

Overview: Hidden lakes (2 of ’em), bluffs and some overlooks of the Tennessee countryside.