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Harpeth River State Park's Hidden Lake

Harpeth River State Park is really a collection of smaller parks around the Harpeth River. (1) If you enjoy paddlesports, you’re probably familiar with this river, and you can enter it from any of the small parks. (2) While the park’s website says there are nine of these "river access sites," the park map shows ten. (3) You can also hike at some of the sections.

I recently visited the Hidden Lake portion of the park, an under 30-minute drive west of downtown Nashville. The history of this area is interesting. In the early 1900s, a company quarried limestone here, and in the 1930s and 1940s, people visited a resort here. (4) Remnants of both of these activities are still visible today.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I was greeted by a wall of beautiful yellow sunflowers and wildflowers.

I found the trailheads behind an informational pavilion. I started on the Bluebird Trail, a mowed path through a field that is also a Storybook Trail. The book featured here is Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler. Children can walk the trail and read the panels with sections of the book.

A panel featuring the cover of the children's book, "Miss Maple's Seeds," sits next to another panel featuring a section of the book in a green field

A roofless abandoned concrete building with plants growing inside sits next to a trail in the woods at Harpeth River State Park in Tennessee

The Bluebird Trail connects with the Ridge Loop Trail, a 1.15 mile loop. (5) This shady trail took me past an abandoned concrete building.

There is some incline, but it’s not too taxing. You can see part of what looks like a train along the trail; the map calls it a “tanker car.” (6) But I think the coolest part is that the dance floor from the old resort still exists on this trail. (7)

On my way back down the Ridge Loop Trail, I took a detour on the Hidden Lake Trail, a .25-mile out-and-back trail. (8) Hidden Lake at the end is a flooded quarry. (9)

A lake surrounded by green wooded bluffs reflects the trees in Harpeth River State Park in Tennessee

If you’re planning to visit, beware that the park is open from 7:00 in the morning to 7:00 at night. There are signs warning that if you leave your car there when the park closes, it might be towed, ticketed, or stuck inside the gates until the park reopens. (10) So just keep an eye on the time.

Maybe I’ll see you out there!

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  4. Informational pavilion in the park; Fuller’s Siding informational panel on the Ridge Loop Trail;



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  9. Informational pavilion in the park; Fuller’s Siding informational panel on the Ridge Loop Trail

  10. Parking lot sign

July 8, 2023


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