Explore 40 miles of the Harpeth River by canoe and foot at Harpeth River State Park. This river-centric, linear park runs along nearly 40 miles of the Harpeth River from Kingston Springs to Nashville, TN. The river has 9 access points to put in and take out boats, along with several different park sections with hiking trails and opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and scenic walks.
This state park is a great destination for anyone looking for a boating experience or nature hike right outside Nashville. Harpeth River State Park is an ideal spot for a day trip for everyone, with limestone bluffs, hidden lakes, fields of wildflowers, and more- read more about the different areas of the state park and their unique offerings!
Narrows of the Harpeth
The Narrows of the Harpeth is located at the furthest-most end of the park from Nashville, near Kingston Springs, TN. At this section of the park, visitors can hike on three scenic trails to access scenic views, waterfalls, and river access points to start their canoeing adventure.
All three hikes at this park section are under a mile long, start from the same central trailhead, and offer high reward for their short distance. Make a steep ascent on one trail to access panoramic views of the Harpeth Valley. Hike down to the Montgomery Bells Pattison Forge to see the waterfalls remains of the area’s historic iron forge operation. Trek half a mile to the Harpeth River to put your canoe in and take advantage of the river’s great fishing.
Canoeing from this section of the park provides both upstream and downstream access to the river, as well as access to the Bell’s Bend five-mile float nearby. The Class 1 river is perfect for beginners to advanced paddlers. Boaters can expect a 2-3 mph paddle time, depending on river flow and any stops for swimming, picnicking, or other breaks.
Fishers can expect good catches of bass, bream, crappie, bluegill, and catfish species. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy as you float the river, or bring your food along to enjoy while sitting on rocks near the waterfall or while looking out onto the valley below.
The Gossett Tract area of the park offers great opportunities for wildflower and bird watching as visitors can hike on a two-mile loop through open fields of wildflowers. Another one mile trail takes hikers along the river and offers glimpses of the Mound Bottom Archeological Site. This site hosts an archeological area of a Mississipean-period mound center used by indigenous groups native to the area.
Located just down the river from the Narrows, this park section is also a great place to stop for lunch and a stroll as you paddle along the Harpeth.
Deemed a “naturalist’s paradise”, the Hidden Lake section of the park provides an opportune setting for wildlife viewing and serene hiking while exploring the area’s history.
There are three trails in the area, ranging from ½ – 1 mile in length. Hike through meadows filled with wildflowers, up limestone bluffs to a ridgetop, and past old buildings left behind from a 1940s era resort. A small “hidden” lake located in the middle of the forest makes for a great place to wade and cool off during summer months as you keep your eyes out for aquatic and forest wildlife.
Located downstream of the other designated park sections, closest to the Nashville Metro area, Newsom’s Mill offers great fishing and a glimpse of the past.
The .2 mile Fisherman’s Trail leads visitors to fishing access on the river. The area’s namesake, Newsom’s Mill, is one of the oldest gristmills in Davidson County. Visitors have the opportunity to see the remains of the mill and its waterfall as they fish and walk along the river.