Outdoor Activities Franklin TN: 5 Ways to Enjoy Nature in Franklin

Franklin is full of opportunities to have outdoor adventures. From parks to hiking to water recreation, there's a world of outdoor recreation just waiting to be discovered in Franklin.

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Outdoor Activities Franklin TN: 5 Ways to Enjoy Nature in Franklin

Posted by Gary Ashton on Monday, April 18th, 2022 at 9:40am.

Best Outdoor Activities in Franklin

Nestled on the banks of the Harpeth River, the city of Franklin is a beautiful, historic town in Middle Tennessee. Thanks to its prime location in the heart of Tennessee, Franklin offers numerous outdoor activities, from outdoor games and nature expeditions to aquatic adventures and aerial excursions. The list of fun things to do in Franklin is long, ensuring that anyone looking to explore nature can find what they're looking for. Keep reading to learn about the best outdoor activities in Franklin, TN.

Water Recreation in Franklin

Water Activities in Franklin, TN

With the Harpeth River and a state-of-the-art water recreation complex, Franklin provides excellent opportunities for water recreation, including canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, and more.

There are six canoe access points on the Harpeth River located in Ladd Park, Eastern Flank Battlefield, Pinkerton Park, Harlinsdale Farm, Franklin Recreation Complex, and Rizer Point. These spots are perfect for fishing or launching kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards on the south-to-north flowing river.

Don't have watercraft? Paddle Dog on Westhaven Lake offers canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard rentals. After a long day enjoying the lake, visitors can chow down on various Vienna beef hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, and classic fries.

Meanwhile, the Franklin Recreation Complex offers an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, and a large splash park. Although the outdoor pool and water park are closed for the winter season, the indoor pool remains open year-round. Both pools have lap lanes, which should be shared if necessary.

The splash park has various play equipment that sprays, showers, and soaks users. Two water slides offer a swift descent from the play tower. Atop this structure sits a massive bucket, which slowly fills and then tips over to drench everyone nearby!

The complex also offers a park, a playground, a wellness center, a dance studio, a group fitness room, a two-court gym, racquetball courts, tennis courts, volleyball courts, soccer fields, an indoor walking track, locker rooms, and classrooms. The complex's schedule features various classes, including aquatic ones.

The Franklin Recreation Complex has a standard admission fee starting at $2 for access to the pools and splash park and a premium fee beginning at $4 for facility amenities and fitness classes. Monthly, annual, and seasonal passes are also available.

Franklin Hiking & Biking Trails

Hiking & Biking Trails in Franklin, TN

The numerous hiking and biking trails in and around Franklin provide excellent opportunities to exercise and experience Tennessee's natural beauty, history, and culture.

The Harpeth River Trail, also called the Franklin Greenway, is a 4.2-mile paved out-and-back trail stretching from Bicentennial Park in downtown Franklin to Judge Fulton Greer Park at the Franklin Recreation Complex. While much of this trail follows the Harpeth River, as its name would imply, the path passes through a wooded area behind some luxury homes.

The paved Pinkerton Park Trail is just 1 mile long, but it provides access to the 0.7-mile Fort Granger Trail via an uphill trek through the woods. The Pinkerton Park Trail has exercise equipment along its route and an annually changing Storybook Trail, which offers a 20-panel story about forest animals to read while walking the path. The Fort Granger Trail is much steeper than the Pinkerton Park Trail, but it has a boardwalk and provides impressive views of the forest and the fort's remains.

Aspen Grove Park has two trails, a 0.8-mile loop and an extended 0.9-mile trail on the other side of Aspen Grove Drive. The longer trail passes some townhomes and leads to the Harpeth River, where attractive water birds occasionally make an appearance.

The Westhaven neighborhood features a trail system accessible via Grassmere Road or Wild Elm Street. Seven moderate to challenging trails span 9 miles of wooded slopes and ridges.

The bike-friendly Natchez Trace Parkway spans 444 miles, with a stretch passing west of Franklin. This scenic road offers free biking packets with maps, several bicycle-only campgrounds, and various historic locations. The Parkway passes by the 1.7-mile Big East Fork Reserve Trail in Timberland Park. This wooded trail presents opportunities to spot birds, wildflowers, and a little creek.

Meanwhile, the Wilkins Branch Mountain Bike Park offers seven trails for offroad biking across 156 acres. The park's various trails range from beginner to expert in difficulty, making it appropriate for any experience level.

Franklin Parks

Parks in Franklin, TN

While many of Franklin's best parks have trails, these natural spaces have far more to offer than beautiful strolls through nature. Franklin boasts several parks with impressive amenities, like sports facilities, playgrounds, and picnic areas.

In addition to their great trails, Aspen Grove Park and Pinkerton Park also offer other facilities. Aspen Grove Park features a playground, restrooms, and a large covered pavilion with a charcoal grill, lights, and electrical outlets.

Meanwhile, Pinkerton Park claims the title of Franklin's most visited park. The 34-acre park features a wooden playground, a Disney-themed Tinkerbell playground, pavilions of varying sizes, grills, and restrooms. The Sue Douglas Berry Memorial pedestrian bridge leads to downtown Franklin, providing quick access to Bicentennial Park.

The 30-acre Bicentennial Park is a gorgeous passive park offering breathtaking views of the Harpeth River. Visitors can stroll along the riverside, relax on a bench swing, or fish from one of the park's overlooks.

Jim Warren Park offers numerous amenities, including 12 lighted baseball fields, four football fields, two multi-purpose fields, eight tennis courts, an outdoor basketball court, a skate park, two playgrounds, restrooms, and two lighted pavilions. A catch and release pond allows for fishing, while a 2.5-mile trail accommodates hikers.

Often considered the most significant historic farm associated with the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, the 200-acre Harlinsdale Farm now hosts a 4-acre dog park, a 3-acre pond for catch-and-release fishing, a 5k soft track for running or walking, and an equestrian trail.

Franklin also features several parks commemorating significant Civil War battlegrounds. Parks like Winstead Hill Park and the Eastern Flank Battlefield Park feature monuments and signs explaining the area's history.

Golf Courses in Franklin

Golf Courses in Frankklin, TN

Franklin offers several public and private golf courses boasting pristine greenways, premier practice facilities, and luxurious amenities from pools to restaurants.

The riverside Franklin Bridge Golf Club is Williamson County's only public 18-hole championship course, featuring nearly 7,000 yards of golf from the longest tees. The course's back nine holes have a links-feel, culminating in the stunning Island Green at the 18th hole.

The Vanderbilt Legends Club boasts two championship golf courses, a 19-acre practice facility, a golf shop, a restaurant, and a relaxing lounge. The par 72 North Course offers 7,190 yards of manicured lawns winding around breathtaking lakes and babbling streams. Meanwhile, the par 71 South Course stretches 7,100 yards through rolling hills and wooded spaces.

The Golf House Tennessee Learning Center features numerous programs to introduce new players to golf. It also offers The Little Course at Conner Lane, a flexible 9-hole course where holes can adjust to range between 65 yards to over 224 yards.

Just north of downtown Franklin lies the Cheekwood Golf Club, a 9-hole course set alongside the Harpeth River. The par 32 course stretches 2,623 yards through a relaxed, riverside environment.

Located northwest of Franklin, the Temple Hills Country Club offers three private par 36 9-hole courses, golf clinics, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and on-site restaurants. The Deercrest course is the longest, stretching up to 3,423 yards from the longest tees. The Quail Run and Dogwood courses run parallel to each other and Temple Road, featuring up to 3,408 yards and 3,351 yards of golf, respectively.

Other Franklin Outdoor Activities

Other Outdoor Activities in Franklin, TN

Franklin's outdoor fun doesn't end with watersports, trails, parks, and golf courses. In addition to these great outdoor activities, Franklin also offers hot air balloon rides, electric bikes, and equestrian classes.

Middle Tennessee Hot Air Adventures provides a unique bird's eye view of Franklin and the surrounding area. Passengers can soar above foggy valleys, winding rivers, and stunning lakes in one of the local service's three balloons. Rides typically last for about an hour but maybe cut short due to inclement weather. It tends to be warmer in a hot air balloon than on the ground, so riders should dress accordingly.

Electric bikes present a convenient way to enjoy Franklin's roads and trails. Pedego Franklin provides electric bikes, parts, and services. The locally-owned shop not only sells e-bikes but also offers rentals and tours.

Creekside Riding Academy & Stables provides various equestrian courses as well as parties. Horseback riding classes, trail riding classes, and seasonal camps offer fun opportunities to interact with horses.

Enjoying The Great Outdoors Is Easy When You Live in Franklin

From laid-back activities like golf, hiking, and fishing to exciting exercise options like playgrounds, sports facilities, and water parks, this Middle Tennesee city offers nearly countless ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you're looking for a refreshing solo journey or for things to do with kids in Franklin, these outdoor attractions are sure to delight.

Does Franklin sound like the perfect place to live? Contact The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage with Nashville's MLS at (615) 603-3602 to get in touch with Franklin real estate agents who can help you find the ideal Franklin home.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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