Percy and Edwin Warner Parks are the lungs of Nashville - these wild and wooded green spaces offer amazing running in a natural environment within the city limits. Running in Percy Warner Park, you can really get away from the city and explore a lush natural landscape with varied features and diverse wildlife. The park is simply beautiful, and it has a heritage feel due to the trails being decades old and well-established. The Works Progress Administration began work on the trail system in the 1930s - now three color-coded trails loop and wind through the stunning natural beauty of the park.
What Makes It Great
The natural beauty of Percy Warner Park is perhaps its major selling point. There are three trails within the park, all accessed from the trailhead at the Deep Well picnic area at Route 100. Just a few yards from this trailhead, you can access the 2.5-mile loop of the Warner Woods Trail, blazed in white, or the 4.5-mile loop of the Mossy Ridge Trail, blazed in red. From the southern point of the Mossy Ridge loop, the Cane Connector trail leads 1 mile one-way into the neighboring Edwin Warner Park. The interconnection of these three trails allows hikers to put together loops and routes of almost any distance. The scenic views from high points in Percy Warner Park also make this a great hiking location - Luke Lea Heights offers an amazing view from an open knob at 922 feet of elevation. Access this viewpoint from the Warner Woods Trail, taking a spur on a paved road where it crosses the trail. The Mossy Ridge Trail is of moderate hiking difficulty, climbing hills and descending into hollows as it loops around the park. There are plentiful resting benches as you wind through the woods on this trail, and you are never far from the paved roads that loop through the park if you want to cut out and walk on a paved surface or rejoin your car.
Who is Going to Love It
The Warner Woods Trail is great if you really love trees - the trail travels through really dense forest that provides welcome summer shade. The Mossy Ridge Trail does have one section of trail that runs beside a large swathe of moss, and it's a good place for runners to work on hill training with paved or non-paved options throughout the park. It's also nice that trails for hiking and running are separate from wider trails designated for equestrian use, and those for mountain biking. Runners can focus on their speed and technique without having to worry about encountering horse-back riders or mountain bikers in the park. That said, cars do drive the paved routes in the park and runners should take great care when crossing or running on paved roads. Wear high-visibility colors, and wear a headlamp or carry a flashlight in dark or near-dark conditions. There are few water sources available, so carry your own water for your runs in the park.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The trails in the park are open from daybreak until 11 p.m. daily. The park is a fragile natural environment, and so it's important to stay on marked trails and avoid damaging any fragile vegetation. Parking is available at the Deep Well trailhead and also from the Chickering Road or Cheekwood park entrances. It's possible to park in small areas just off the paved road running through the park. The park is well supplied with trash collection, with receptacles trail-side. Portaloos are provided at the Deep Well trailhead. No hunting or weapons are allowed in the park; dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet.