Bells Bend Park hugs a curve in Nashville's Cumberland River, and offers excellent, easy-access hiking within a few minutes of the city. Six miles of hiking trails wind through the park down to the water, which makes for lovely views out over the wide river. One of Nashville's newer parks, Bells Bend was formed in 2007. Like nearby Beaman Park, Bells Bend is relatively undiscovered, and sees less use than Nashville's popular Warner Park system. On its scenic natural beauty and diverse wildlife alone, Bells Bend certainly deserves to be as well-known and well-loved as these older parks.
What Makes It Great
The size of Bells Bend Park is one of the things that makes it great, as it covers 808 acres. The hiking trails in Bells Bend park are also relatively accessible - you can walk the 2.3-mile loop trail through the park, or the slightly longer old farm road loop. The Bells Bend trails are relatively wide open, which makes for great expansive views. On the downside, this means there is little shade on offer during Nashville's hot summer - during the sunny months you might want to time your hike for the early morning of the pre-dusk hours. River views from a pastoral setting are a huge bonus of Bells Bend Park, and it is hard to believe this is the same Cumberland River that snakes between Nashville's skyscrapers just a few miles to the east. Concerts and events draw visitors to discover the park, and the park's Nature Center provides some great information and demonstration gardens.
Who is Going to Love It
Hikers with dogs will love Bells Bend park - note that dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet, at all times. For overnight camping, you can get a permit for the group-tenting area - this is equipped with fire pits. Bells Bend is home to one of only three mountain-bike trails in the city of Nashville. Opened in Fall 2014, the Bells Bend mountain-bike trail is accessible to beginner bikers. The wide trail of the farm road and gentle elevation changes make the park's trails good options for a shorter hike, or for families.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Plentiful parking is available at the Poplar Hollow Trailhead, and at the park's Nature Center. Bells Bend is open from dawn to dusk each day, and is a pedestrian-use park. Firearms and hunting are not allowed anywhere in the park, which makes it quiet and safe for year-round hiking.