Harpeth River State Park is a linear park to the west of the city with several paddling put-ins that allow access to the water. Narrows of the Harpeth and the Harris Street Bridge Canoe Access are among the most popular, and therefore the most crowded in high season.
Thanks to the unique oxbow-style bend of The Narrows of the Harpeth, there’s both upstream and downstream access, and the Bell’s Bend five-mile float is possible with just a quarter-mile portage. Because of this layout, on a hot summer day these two parks are packed with hobbyist paddlers who want to get out on kayaks and canoes. This is not the place for a solitary paddle. Several canoe outfitters, including Tip-A-Canoe and Music City Canoe, have delivery service so that those without boats can get out on the river. Rental trips can be booked for anywhere from one hour to ten hours.
Like any river, conditions at Harpeth River State Park determine the paddle’s difficulty. Early in the Spring the river tends to be high enough for standup paddleboards, as well as kayaks and canoes; later in the summer there is easy portage involved for part of the paddle. The Harpeth will also run swift after a lot of rain, and there maybe some small rapids thanks to strainers.
There’s also access to hiking and trail running with in the park.