From parks to Murfreesboro's hiking and biking trails, many of the best activities in the city involve the great outdoors. The city has two main areas to enjoy hiking and biking: the Murfreesboro Greenway System and Barfield Crescent Park. The city of Murfreesboro is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, and its abundance of outdoor recreation—combined with its proximity to the city of Nashville—is largely responsible for making it such an appealing place to live, bike, and hike.
Murfreesboro Greenway System
The Murfreesboro Greenway System comprises 15 miles of gorgeous hiking trails, many of which feature scenic bridges and boardwalks that show some of Murfreesboro's luxury homes for sale. Spending the day or even a few hours on the trails here is the best way to enjoy the region's stunning natural beauty. There are an impressive 16 trailheads, including the popular Stones River Trail, the easy North Murfreesboro Greenway, and the picturesque Gateway Island Trail.
As you can imagine, the greenway system is favored by hikers, bikers, joggers, and general nature enthusiasts. The trails are popular for birdwatching, as a wide range of bird species live here. There are also two dog parks and three small boat launches for folks who enjoy getting out on the water. Two can be found on the West Fork Stones River and the other on the East Forks Stone River.
Murfreesboro Greenway System trails open at daylight and close 30 minutes before sunset, except for the well-lit Gateway Island and Trail, open year-round from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Stones River Trail
The Stones River Trail is the most popular on the greenway. It's an easy-to-follow paved trail that winds along limestone-bottom lakes and through mature forests. This 10.5-mile trail follows the West Fork Stones River, starting at Thompson Lane Trailhead and ending at Barfield Crescent Trailhead.
Watch for wildlife like great-horned owls, great blue herons, and even bobcats on the trail. You'll also be treated to colorful wildflowers blooming in the late spring and summer months!
Two dog parks and 11 individual trailheads can be accessed from this stretch of the greenway. There are also two small boat launch points on the Stones River Trail, which get pretty busy on weekends.
North Murfreesboro Greenway
If you're short on time, consider tackling the easy, 1.3-mile North Murfreesboro Greenway trail. It follows the East Fork Stones River on the northeastern side of the city and takes most people about one hour to complete. Highlights of this trail include two scenic viewpoints with benches overlooking the river and many waterfront homes.
Bird lovers will especially enjoy exploring this trail because they may be treated to glimpses of a Black Crowned Night Heron or an Osprey.
Gateway Island Trail
The Gateway Island Trail is a great option no matter the season or time of day because it's accessible and well-lit every day until closing at 10 p.m. The trail is entirely flat and often hosts charity walks and races.
This trail is also a longtime favorite of the local and international birdwatching communities. European starlings, the unique northern mockingbird, the Savannah sparrow, and many other species are regularly seen here.
Thanks to its abundance of open green spaces, Gateway Island itself is a popular spot for picnics, birthday parties, and even wedding ceremonies.
Barfield Crescent Park
Barfield Crescent Park, one of the best parks in Murfreesboro, is an extensive 430-acre community park near some of the Murfreesboro condos for sale. It has many amenities, including several picnic shelters with picnic tables varying in size, a baseball/softball field, an 18-hole championship disc golf course, and two playgrounds.
Barfield Crescent Park, open from sunrise to 30 minutes before sunset every day of the year, is an outdoor lovers' paradise with several trails for biking and hiking. There are scenic trails of varying lengths here, catering to every interest, experience level, and ability.
Perhaps one of the biggest attractions at Barfield Crescent Park is the Wilderness Station, a gift shop and nature center that houses many animals, such as owls, snakes, and even a hawk. The station specializes in environmental education and is a great spot to spend a few hours with kids.
Mountain Biking Trails
In the southernmost part of the park, you'll find over seven miles of mountain biking trails, suitable for cyclists from beginner to expert! Some of the most popular biking trails within Barfield Crescent Park include:
- Clubber Lang (AKA Barfield Advanced 2): A 1.3-mile black diamond, rocky trail that's challenging for even the most experienced cyclists.
- Apollo: This moderate trail is excellent for getting in a quick workout or adding to a longer cycling route as it's less than one mile long, easy to follow, and can be biked in both directions.
Beginner or more casual cyclists should check out Mickey Trail, or Barfield Beginner 1, which can be completed in either direction. Although it's rated as easy, it's important to note that a relatively steep 62-foot uphill section can be strenuous. On average, however, this trail takes 10-15 minutes to complete.
Parking for the mountain bike trails at Barfield Crescent Park is accessed from Highway 231 to Oak Meadows Drive. Note that suitable bike helmets must be worn on the trails.
In addition to mountain biking trails, there are three fantastic hiking trails in Barfield Crescent Park. The first is Rocky Path, or the White Trail, a 1.1-mile intermediate trail that is perhaps the most challenging in the park. The trail winds through unique limestone karst formations and sinkholes and is accessed by following the Marshall Knobs Trail south from the Wilderness Station and onto the loop trail.
Marshall Knobs (AKA the Red Trail) is a 2.5-mile loop trail described by locals as a wilderness trail close to the city. From the Wilderness Center, this trail is well-signed, and you can choose to hike either clockwise or counterclockwise. It's paved and relatively flat in the beginning, but after 1.5 miles becomes a dirt trail and links with the Valley View Trail before connecting with the Rocky Path Trail near the parking lot.
Finally, Valley View, or the Blue Trail, offers exactly what its name suggests: a panoramic view of the valley from a platform found 1.25 miles into the trail. This platform is also an excellent place to spot various birds and wildlife, particularly deer and bobcats, so bring binoculars if you have them! Valley View Trail is 2.9 miles long and takes most individuals about 1.5 hours to complete, including some time set aside at the observation platform.
Murfreesboro is an Outdoor Lovers' Paradise!
Murfreesboro is one of the best cities in Tennessee for folks who like to get outdoors and be active—especially hiking, trail running, or biking. Between the numerous things to do in Murfreesboro and its proximity to Nashville, residents enjoy all sorts of big-city amenities while having an abundance of urban wilderness areas and places to recharge outdoors.
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