Harpeth River State Park

Quick Facts

Harpeth River State Park

Tennessee

(615) 952-2099

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

This unique linear park located along the Harpeth River in Middle Tennessee offers natural, cultural, and recreational day use opportunities in areas rich in historic significance and natural beauty. Visitors can canoe and kayak on the river, which has class II rapids. Visitors can also fish for a variety of species in the river, and swim at their own risk. Hiking trails lead to wildflower meadows, narrow bluffs with breathtaking views of the Harpeth River Valley, an old iron forge, the remains of a resort from the 1940s, views of Mound Bottom Archaeological Site, and access to small lakes tucked away in the woods. Visitors should note that there are no restroom facilities in the park, and the park does not have a visitor center or a park office. Accessibility and parking places are both limited. Vehicles larger than fifteen-passenger vans have difficulty maneuvering along the narrow, winding tree-lined roads.

Map of Harpeth River (TN)

Latitude, Longitude: 36.148364, -87.115919

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Activities

  • Boating

    Canoe access areas are located at all sites, excluding archeological areas, providing beginner and advanced paddlers opportunities to float this beautiful class II river. Visitors can bring their own canoe or kayak or call local commercial outfitters for trip information and boat rentals.

    The Harpeth Scenic River Complex includes canoe accesses at the U.S. Highway 100 Bridge, the 1862 Newsom's Mill ruins, and at the McCrory Lane Bridge at Hidden Lake. Downstream, the Narrows of the Harpeth provides upstream and downstream access, the Bell's Bend five mile float, and a unique quarter mile portage.

  • Fishing

    The river is home to large and small mouth bass, bream, crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, and other game fish. Visitors enjoy fly fishing and spin casting on the river. All Tennessee state fishing and boating rules apply.

  • Hiking

    Visitors wishing to hike and view wildlife can enjoy the solitude and tranquility of several miles of trails, ranging in intensity from easy to difficult. The trails meander through wildflower meadows, lush forests, and along majestic bluffs. Trails leave from the Narrows of the Harpeth, Gossett Tract, and Hidden Lake. At the Narrows of the Harpeth, three trails originate at a common trailhead near the park entrance. The two-mile Bluff Overlook Trail has a steep ascent to a narrow bluff, offering hikers a panoramic view of the Harpeth Valley. A half-mile trail along the backside of the limestone bluff leads to the site of Montgomery Bell's Pattison Forge, where a small waterfall is all that remains of the iron forge operation. Another half-mile trail connects the canoe launch area to the canoe take-out parking area at the Harris Street Bridge Access Area.

    At the Gossett Tract there are two trails. A one-mile trail circles a meadow and another one-mile trail winds along the river, providing a glimpse of Mound Bottom Archeological Site. At Hidden Lake, a one-mile trail meanders around and through a wildflower meadow. Another trail offers a half-mile hike through the forest and along majestic bluffs to a small lake with a one-mile spur trail ascending to the top of a ridge where the remains of an old marble dance floor are all that remain of a 1940's resort.

  • Historic Sites

    Artifacts uncovered during an early 1970s excavation of Mound Bottom are on display inside the park office at Montgomery Bell State Park. Self-guided interpretive signs are posted at most sites. Guided tours of The Narrows, Newsom's Mill, Hidden Lake and Mace Bluff are offered throughout the year by reservation. Guided tours of Mound Bottom are offered November through March by reservation. For program reservation information call (615) 952-2099.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic tables and grills are available at Newsom's Mill Historic Site, the Harris Street Bridge Access Area, and the Gossett Tract.

  • Water Sports

    Swimmers may wade or swim in the river at their own risk.

  • Wildlife Watching

    The park is a dragonfly viewing hot spot. Of the approximate 154 species of odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) in Tennessee, 81 have been documented in this park or Cheatham and Davidson Counties.

Seasonality/Weather

The park is open year-round. Winter lows average about 24 F, and summer highs reach 89 F. March, May, and December are the wettest months.

Directions

Driving

Located off U.S. Hwy. 70 in Cheatham County.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(615) 952-2099

Links