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You can access the greenway at several places:
Main trailhead, 1900 Davidson Street
Forrest Green trailhead, 2032 Forrest Green Drive
Cooper Creek trailhead, 2544 McGinnis Drive
Neighborhood connectors at 995 Shadow Lane and 2692 Fortland Drive
For more information, contact:
Nashville Parks & Recreation
511 Oman Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37203
It's a great park-trail experience with no substantial hills except (optionally) if you cross the pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland river. The trails and the parking area have a very safe feel to them. Bring your own water!
My Wife, 11-year-old Grandaughter, and I started from the parking lot under the railroad trestle in Shelby park. We rode North on the main trail - crossed the pedestrian bridge to wave country - then continued to the north end of the park, around the north loop, then returned to Shelby park. Just under 10 miles including a bit of messing around in the parking lots to check out our gear. There are other paved connectors and side trails that you could explore if you have the time and inclination.
The trail going up to the pedestrian bridge, and on - through a tunnel under the interstate -to the trailhead at wave country are pretty steep - but very much worth the effort. As we were crossing the bridge, the General Jackson river boat passed under it for a great photo op - and the return ride down the long hill is great fun. Just make sure your brakes are in working order first!
As others have mentioned - use the bathroom before you start and bring enough water.
The reason I give this trail less than 5 stars is that even though it's a great trail, and well worth the (2hr) drive to get to it - it just doesn't have the level of spectacular scenery or interesting landscapes - like the Virginia Creeper, or Chattanooga river park trail. Still - a great resource for mid-TN recreational bikers.
Having partially rode the Shelby Bottoms Greenway (SBG) during the Tour de Nash, I was excited about ridding it thoroughly after starting on the Stones River Greenway. Upon crossing the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge, I rode the upper loop through wooded low lands and swampy open areas. Looping and passing under the bridge, I took the first right about a half mile south. This will take you to a decommissioned airport where it is just plain FUN to race the strip and explore the area. Repeat the spur and take the following right to “make miles” and get you to Fortland Drive. Returning back to the trail proper, you will encounter a couple of creek crossing with the Cumberland River on your side. The Shelby Park trailhead is at the Nature Center under the L&N RR bridge. Ride recommendations: (1) continue riding around or through Shelby Park and ride the Davidson Street (industrial area) dedicated bike lane around Nissan Stadium to downtown “Nashvegas” thus connecting to Cumberland River Greenway or (2) take the SBG loop at the rear of the Nature Center back to trail and yo-yo as long as you want. The trail is about as flat, enjoyable, easy and smooth as it gets but bring enough water. Another great trail, Nashville’s Greenways are awesome!
I would recommend if you are traveling along I-40 and need to do some cranking, you would do yourself a favor by hitting the unique local trails in both Nashville and Memphis.
My wife and I were visiting Nashville for a few days and brought our bikes so we could ride trails listed on TrailLink. We started our first day ride at Two Rivers Park trail head. We barely had to pedal for a couple of miles as we were mostly going downhill. You know there is no reward without earning it. We new we would have to finish our ride going back up those hills. They weren't to bad though (my wife disagrees a little). What a GREAT trail, we loved it. Great paved trails, surrounded by nature, mostly an easy ride except for a couple of short steep inclines near the river crossing. We never saw any gravel roads as described. We managed to rack up a wonderful 17 mile ride. For you racers out there, beware there is a 15 mile an hour speed limit on the trail.
We LOVE this trail. It's a paved loop. Flat, easy ride. Fairly populated. Bathrooms are located at Shelby park. You can even rent the red bikes at the trailhead.
I love to ride my bicycle on the Shelby Bottoms Greenway. Entirely paved and with very little elevation change, the greenway is not particularly physically demanding, but very rewarding. It is indeed green, with a rural feel in the middle of a major city.
I like to start in Two Rivers Park, where another greenway's trailhead is located just off of McGavock Pike. It's about 1.5 miles to the Cumberland River, and on this side of the river, the terrain is a bit hilly. After crossing a really nice pedestrian bridge, from which you can see the Opryland area with its big riverboat, you begin the Shelby Bottoms Greenway. You can go north around the loop and come back to the bridge, or go south immediately, which is what I usually do. This trail runs along the Cumberland River and ends at the south end of Shelby Park. The Nature Center in the park is nice and has restrooms available. I usually continue south from the park, riding on Davidson Street's bike lane, to LP Stadium (home of the NFL's Tennessee Titans), a distance of about 2 miles. From there, you can go across another pedestrian bridge, or go over to the new Cumberland Park, to the left of the bridge.
An interesting side trip is to take the trail from the river toward the Shadow Lane Trailhead. Just before you get to the trailhead, you will pass a trail that leads to the old Cornelia Fort Airport, which is now closed as an airport and owned by the city of Nashville. Ride up and down the long runway and pretend you're about to take off! Cornelia Fort, by the way, was a female pilot who delivered warplanes to the Army Air Corps during WWII and was killed in a crash.
Total mileage for the round trip I've described is about 18 miles.
Although the map does not show it, there is also a trailhead at the Two Rivers Wave country. VERY nice bridge across the Cumberland. It also joins up with another trail that takes you all the way downtown Nashville. We went as far as the pedestrian bridge for pictures before heading back. This trail is listed as having gravel? It was entirely paved. Perhaps this was done after the "great" flood a couple years back. Lots of flowering and colorful birds too.
My daughter and I were walking this trail this morning when a bird strolled rather casually across the paved trail in front of us. It looked like a male peacock with the long tail dragging behind it except the colors were all wrong. It had a bright yellow head and a reddish orange body. We searched for it on google and the closest we could find was a golden pheasant which does not live in North America. I did not have my camera (of course) but I have to say if it had been a bengal tiger it would not have been more amazing.
When I was skating this trail back in 2003 the vegetation was very low on the inland side which made for great viewing of birds and insects. There was a real feeling of being in an open space. Now the plants are way over my head and frankly I felt hemmed in. The length is great for getting a workout... no laps necessary. Lovely view of the river from the pedestrian bridge.
This is a flat, paved 5mi trail that runs along the Cumberland river. Nice outing with the family, or a leisurely day for you. Park at the Shelby Bottoms nature center at one end, or the 3 Rivers water park at the other, and take the new bridge over the Cumberland. You can extend your trip west on city streets into Nashville downtown, or east to the 3 rivers trail to Percy Priest dam (a workout).
The Shelby Bottoms Trail now continues with the Stones River Greeenway. Best trailhead is off the Two Rivers Parkway at the Wave Country pool. Complete trail is approximately 14 miles. I rode it over the qweekend and the trail is great. Kudos to Nashville for maikng this trail!
While staying on the hotel strip just north of Opryland, we took the new red bike/pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland river and rode the Shelby Bottoms Greenway trail / bike lanes into downtown Nashville. There is another new bike/pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland river just before the stadium that leads to the historic district. Hey Nashville,what a beautiful skyline you have, also thanks to the addition info from a well informed group of cyclist we met.
Jim & Mary, Ontario Canada
Shelby Bottoms Greenway has been extended across the Cumberland River through Two Rivers Park, to the Hwy 70 bridge over the Stones River. It now runs 8 miles. It is a "nature trail", which means hills and sharp curves. It is paved and it looks good. The trail can now be accessed from Two Rivers Park, just south of Opreyland Mall.
Great area to run. Flat and fast greenway. The Nashville Striders run two (2) races here on the greenway. First is the Tom King Half Marathon run in March. Second is the Shely Bottoms Boogie 15K the end of September. Both races are well attended and runners have very positive comments on the greenway. Start at Shelby Park and run along the Cumberland River to a large loop at the back end. The loop will bring you back in the opposite direction and toward your car. There is water at the turnaround parking area. The greenway is marked with mileage markers starting at the Shelby Park parking lot. The round trip is 8 miles. Good running!
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