Thanks to a plethora of challenging natural and man-made courses, biking in Middle Tennessee is superb year-round. Whether you’re searching for the best biking experience in Nashville or longing for a true getaway deep in the woods, we have the perfect destination for you.

Tune up your bike, pump up your tires, pack a lunch, and let’s explore the rich offerings our stunning region has in store!

Shelby Bottoms Greenway
1900 Davidson St | Nashville

Shelby Bottoms Greenway’s 5-mile paved loop trail runs through the greenway’s gorgeous 960 acres, with three miles hugging the banks of the iconic Cumberland River. Wooden boardwalks and bridges will take you over streams and sections of the river.

This gentle route is popular with cyclists, though pedestrians and leashed dogs are also common visitors. Nearly all sections of the main path are at least ten feet wide, and the designated bike lane ensures safe passage for cyclists despite the trail’s multipurpose designation.

Open year-round, this urban oasis is packed with a variety of natural habitats: the famous river, winding streams, fecund wetlands, lush wildflower meadows, and stately hardwood forests are home to deer, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and fish. Visit often throughout the year, and you’ll see how the seasonal changes affect the behavior patterns of the wildlife that take refuge within this nature preserve.

Stones River Greenway
3734 Bell Rd | Nashville

Stones River Greenway’s paved trail winds through the woods and along the river, over charming bridges and small sections of mild and moderate inclines. Most of this trail makes for smooth and gentle cycling, but please do keep a sharp eye out for tree roots that have lifted or cracked the pavement! You may also choose to take advantage of small side trails that will bring you even closer to the banks of Stones River.

Should you arrive on the cycling bridge that spans the Stones at the right time of day, you will have the chance to see General Jackson, the largest steamboat in the country, pass beneath you. At 300 feet, the presence of this majestic boat makes for a magical encounter you will not soon forget!

In addition to the Stones River Greenway’s own captivating wildlife activity and eight-mile route leading to or from Percy Priest Dam, you can choose to cycle to the connection with the Shelby Bottoms Greenway trail. The resulting combined route is a satisfying 15 miles long and will lead you back to downtown Nashville. Should you crave an even longer ride, press on to Nissan Stadium and pick up the designated Music City bike lane there.

Wilkins Branch Mountain Bike Park
5664 Wilkins Branch Rd | Franklin

Wilkins Branch Mountain Bike Park is the result of ongoing collaborative efforts between Outdoor Encounter and the Williamson County Government. Thanks to this blended public/private work, there are thirteen trails running over six miles of the surrounding 156 acres of woods. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced mountain biker itching for the chance to level up your skills, this cluster of carefully planned trails will offer just what you’re looking for.

Begin at the Outhouse Loop to warm up on a short “pump track” trail, then stop at the Hub to interact with your fellow bike enthusiasts. From there, you’ll choose from four options. The Outhouse Loop trail is a great easy loop for laps, while the Parkway trail offers a moderately challenging step up. This traditional path weaves through the valley and up the hill to Moonshine Run. At Moonshine, you can practice your berm, tabletop, and wooden jump skills on a short gravity run.

Once through Moonshine, you can continue on Parkway—but be aware that you’ll pass an opening to your left that leads to the BobSled. This trail is short, but runs quite swiftly through the valley thanks to its incline.

The next two trails are gravity trails and should be tackled by experienced riders only. Stache ‘n Cash holds a black diamond rating and is peppered with various berms and tabletop jumps. You won’t be tasked with jumping your bike up, but you’ll need to make judicious use of your brakes to complete the trail safely.

If you’re in the market for a challenge that isn’t quite so harrowing, Shep Express holds a blue rating, and features rollers, berms, small tabletops, a wooden wallride, and just one wooden drop (though this can be bypassed).

All skill levels are welcome here! Restrooms, bike tools, and a bike wash make this small set of trails a sanctuary for mountain bikers in Franklin.

Greenway Manson Pike (Searcy) Trailhead
1208 Searcy St | Murfreesboro

The Manson Pike Trailhead at Searcy will give you access to this linear park and its mile after mile of quiet, stunning trails. Stop at Ransom’s Mill Dam before your ride to recharge next to the river as it cascades over slick sheets of rock and splashes melodically onto the polished stones below.

Cross a beautiful bridge over the Stones River as you travel from Cannonsburgh to Old Fort Park, then on to Fort Rosencrans, passing by historic and cultural spots along the way. If you are looking for a full five-mile ride, you can link up to nearby trailheads as well.

Cumberland River Bicentennial Trail
177 Chapmansboro Rd | Ashland City

The Cumberland River Bicentennial Trail offers 6.7 miles of bike trails running alongside the Cumberland River. The first 3.7 miles span from Marks Creek to Sycamore Creek. This section is perfect for road cyclists to ride over paved trails, though guardians with baby strollers and wheelchair users are also common sights on these smooth paths.

In contrast, Eagle Pass is a full 3 miles covered with compacted gravel only, making it ideal for mountain bikers. This trail runs from the Dyson Ditch Wildlife Refuge to Cheatham Dam’s Right Bank. Keep your eyes peeled for nature enthusiasts, especially bird watchers waiting for visits from the numerous species that live along the greenbelt.

Harpeth River Greenway
Bending River Dr | Nashville

Despite its 8.3-mile length, Harpeth River Greenway’s trail is considered an easy out-and-back route. Open year-round, this 8-foot wide, beautiful greenway draws cyclists, pedestrians, and dog walkers during all seasons.

Still, there are quiet times of the day if you are in search of solitude in nature within Nashville’s bounds. Depending on the time of year, you may encounter butterflies, birds, deer, rabbits, and reptiles as you pass through the fragrant woods, across open fields, and alongside a verdant golf course.

Barfield Crescent Mountain Bike Trails
202 Hemlock Dr | Murfreesboro

This hand-built trail was lovingly crafted by skilled trail builders to be the single most technically challenging course in Middle Tennessee. Rather than imagining a dirt mountain bike trail packed with rock mounds, though, you should prepare to encounter tremendous piles of rocks between which you may occasionally hit dirt.

Despite having two “beginner” trails, you should know that they are only named thusly in comparison to the rest of the devilish courses within Barfield! If you’ve mastered this region’s mountain bike paths and are ready to take your technical abilities to the next level, these challenging courses will grant your wish. Ride each course over and over until they, too, have become easy; only then should you progress to the next levels.

Each successive trail is labeled according to the challenge contained thereon, with technical features suitable to advancing your abilities. You can obtain a sweat-drenching workout, improve your balancing skills, and continually better your technical cycling at Barfield.

Peeler Park Greenway
2043 Neelys Bend Rd | Madison, TN

At the far end of the curve dubbed Neelys Bend, there is a sweeping pastoral park calling your name. Bike 3.5 miles on a paved trail passing through lush, bucolic farmland in beautiful Madison. Choose from a loop path and an out-and-back; either trail will be surrounded by small wildlife, deer, and a thick wall of trees. This park may be simple, but its natural beauty offers cyclists a recharging respite from life’s demanding pace.

Shutes Branch Mountain Bike Trail
Shutes Branch Rd | Old Hickory

Shutes Branch Mountain Bike Trail presents cyclists with 8.2 miles of progressively challenging trails, including technical sections. It has earned its intermediate rating and should not be tackled by beginning mountain bikers. Prepare to navigate dirt trails, rocky slopes, and winding paths passing by abandoned campsites. These trails should never be attempted when they are wet from rainfall; the soil layer is thin, and the underlying rock has zero traction when wet.

Chickasaw Trace Park
1419 Santa Fe Pike | Columbia

Bring your mountain bikes and enjoy a gorgeous day on the trails at historic Chickasaw Trace Park! The Columbia Cycling Club has enhanced this trail’s natural terrain with man-made drop-offs, packed rock, and paths around large boulders.

You’ll have a taste of smooth cruising alongside the river, steep inclines and descents, exposed tree roots, and the course enhancements hand-placed throughout. Whether you’re in the park to enjoy a restful camping trip or just here for the day, you’ll have the chance to see gorgeous rivers, sparkling streams, and placid lakes everywhere you cycle. Diverse wildlife, both large and small, will make this a memorable ride.

The Takeaway

Let us know which trail(s) from today’s blog post are among your favorite Middle TN biking trails! Did we miss your perfect trail? If you’re generous enough to share your secret spot with your fellow readers, we would be delighted to hear from you in the comments below.

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