When people think of “the river” in Nashville, they think of the Cumberland, that 600-plus mile waterway that winds its way through the city.
What Makes It Great
But the Stones River, which near Nashville flows into the Cumberland, offers good flatwater paddling opportunities, without having to navigate barge and other commercial boat traffic. The launch at the Stones River Greenway (which essentially is in the east corner of the Kohl’s parking lot, has a an excellent kayak launch thanks to volunteers at the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association (TSRA). From there you can paddle upstream (easy as a lake when the dam is not generating; a good workout when it is) and turn around under I-40 to paddle back for a healthy 5.5-mile paddle.
Who is Going to Love It
Paddlers looking to explore this area at their own pace.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Another option is to only paddle downstream, putting in at Kohl’s, paddling 3.5 miles and taking out at Heartland Park, which has ample parking (although often filled with families watching soccer games).
Thanks to the size of the Kohl’s parking lot, this launch has lots of parking, but no other amenities. The Stones River Greenway that runs alongside the river is popular with bicyclists and runners.