Cumberland River Greenway - Cycling

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About

Summary

See the city of Nashville by greenway and enjoy the natural beauty of our Cumberland River. By bike or on foot, the trail encourages users to linger before moving on down the line.

Written by

Christy Tedrow

Distance

7.0 miles

The official trail length is 3.5 miles one way for a total of 7 miles out and back.

Destination Distance From Downtown

0.7 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

Uneven brick pavers at Riverfront Park and steep declines on both side of the trail along the Levee could unnerve less experienced or young riders.

Time To Complete

1 hours

The trail is officially only 3.5 miles one way, but there is so much to explore along the way, extra time is recommended to allow for stops. With a stop for lunch or ice cream, riders could easily spend even more time along the route.

Seasonality

All Seasons

Nashville's generally mild winters allows riders to enjoy the greenway year round. On those rare icy occasions, trail use is not recommended.

Dog Friendly

Yes

There are no open spaces for dogs to run but also no restrictions on this trail. Leashes are recommended.

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

The Cumberland River Greenway runs from Riverfront Park in the heart of Nashville’s tourist district past historic neighborhoods and across the Metro Center Levee encompassing both business and industrial areas. Riders will see iconic sections of Nashville by greenway with options to explore further into the city via bike lanes or shared roadways.

What Makes It Great

Gritty alongside beatific and solitude following city bustle can all be found along the Cumberland River Greenway. In contrast to the majesty of the Titans Stadium and the pristine pedestrian bridge, a rusting steel structure brings cargo trains across the river. Tourist and homeless mingle along the paths. Industrial graffiti and neglect war with the natural beauty of the river. In no way do these realities of urban riding detract from the experience; in fact they make the ride more authentic. The mere 3.5 miles of primary trail packs a tremendous amount of variety into the short span, not allowing boredom to set in.

The trail offers two greenway spurs as additional diversions. The Morgan Park spur travels through revitalized Germantown terminating at a small park. While an interesting area, there is little more than a complex fountain at the end. The Bicentennial Capital Mall State Park  in contrast encompasses 19 acres stretched out below the state capital and well worth a visit. The section of this spur that passes through the Sounds Stadium property is currently closed and will reportedly reopen when construction is complete. This section may be circumvented by riding the sidewalks around the stadium and rejoining the trail on the far side. 

For riders wishing to extend their ride, the Shelby Bottoms  and Stones River Greenways are great options. Those undaunted by city riding may take roadways and bike lanes (Music City Bikeway) through the city to explore more of the town.

Who is Going to Love It

Although the trail offers little that will be physically taxing for the avid cyclist, it offers a different experience, one that combines our love of riding with our desire to explore new places. Inexperienced cyclist may find the uneven brick pavers at Riverfront disconcerting and only the most competent young riders should attempt the ride. Even the quiet section on the levee is unnerving for some due to the steep drops on both sides of the trail.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

As with any urban ride, parking requires forethought. The Metro Center Levee trailhead provides some spaces. Additional parking is found near the far west end of the trail near Ted Rhodes Park on Freeland Station Road. Street parking around LP Field provides a downtown option but requires riding a couple blocks in traffic from the end of the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge to Riverfront Park. Street riding may be avoided by making a right U-turn at the bottom of the bridge and navigating the sidewalks. This strategy requires two street crossings that can be accomplished as a pedestrian, i.e., walking your bike. The view from the top of the pedestrian bridge is spectacular and not to be missed. Should you choose to park your bike and walk, a bike lock is recommended. 

Official park maps report parking at the Bicentennial Capital Mall State Park at Harrison and Rosa Parks; however, this is actually Farmers Market parking. Since it is patron parking, other parking options are preferable.

Public facilities are limited. Portable toilets may be found near the Titans Stadium and on the Morgan Park spur. Various restaurants and convenience stores provide facilities for customers only.

Location

Cumberland River Greeway

170 1st Ave. N.
Nashville, TN, 37201
36.163266, -86.775005

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