Staff Picks: Favorite Hiking Trails

Trailhead sign from the Warner Parks.

Winter is one of our staff’s favorite times to get out and explore new hiking trails. There’s nothing quite like bundling up and feeling the cold, crisp air on your cheeks while out on a hike. Plus, you can see for miles through the forest without dense vegetation getting in your way! We did a roundup of our staff’s favorite hikes in the Warner Parks for anyone looking to get outside and explore a new trail this winter. We hope you feel inspired!

Need a trail map for reference? Here’s our printable Warner Parks Trail Map.


One of my favorite places in the park is the Burch Reserve. During COVID,  this became the trail that I frequented most as it tended to be less crowded than the other trails. As a newer part of the park and designed for passive recreation, the Burch Reserve trail has stunning views and feels like a special gem to me. The steep hills give you a great workout while it still feels tranquil and peaceful. It is the perfect reset and I always leave feeling refreshed.

Burch reserve trail in the snow
Burch Reserve / photo by Warner Tidwell


Like many Warner Park visitors, I enjoy combining sections of primitive and paved trails to create my own hiking loop. One of my favorites is to start at Beech Woods Picnic Area and take the ascending paved trail towards the Belle Meade entrance. The climb is rewarded with one of the parks’ best scenic overlooks and a pastoral view toward the steeple at Christ Presbyterian Church on Old Hickory Blvd. Half a mile later, turn right onto the Mossy Ridge Trail (blazed red) and descend through Basswood Hollow. In the summer the Basswood trees are loaded with fragrant flowers that attract honeybees and other pollinators. At the next intersection, you can take the easy level stroll back to Beech Woods on the asphalt road, or extend the hike by continuing on the red trail for the steep climb up to Tornado Ridge that offers great winter views of the surrounding Harpeth Hills before completing the loop. Happy trails!


My favorite hike right now is the Old Roadway Tree Trail in Edwin Warner Park. I always used to stick to the hiking trails instead of the paved trails because I wanted to be surrounded by the forest, but the first time I took the Old Roadway Tree Trail, I was blown away. The views are astounding, and some of the trees are absolutely magnificent. I especially like the big walnut tree at Long Hollow (photo below).


My favorite hike is the 5.8 loop! It’s the perfect amount of time, and I am always on it with someone, whether it is one of my children, a friend, or a coworker. I love the familiarity and consistency of the hike… the structure is very comforting. I also love the challenge of climbing those steep hills!


My favorite hike in the parks starts at the Chickering Road Entrance. I take the road that runs along the Harpeth Hills Golf Course and follow it all the way up and around the Talley Bluff Loop, passing Steeplechase on my way back to the trailhead. This hike has one of my favorite old stone walls in the parks! I love that it is a little more isolated, in an area of the park that I don’t frequent on a daily basis. It feels like an escape. 

Steeplechase at sunset
View from above Steeplechase / photo by Warner Tidwell


My favorite trail is the Blue trail – Harpeth Woods. I love to get out there at the end of the day and watch the sun set up on the ridge above the saddle. It’s gorgeous. It makes for a great lil run or just a nice walk in the woods, plus the occasional owl spotting in Owl Hollow!


One of the most memorable hikes I have done in the parks was during my interview for this position at Friends of Warner Parks. Jane, Jenny, and I started off on Gaucho Road, and happened to pick a day where it was freezing cold! We hiked through Sycamore Grove before heading up and around Flag Pole Hill. I can’t say we lasted very long out in those conditions, but it was a beautiful hike!

Percy Warner Park / photo by Warner Tidwell


I have recently been loving the Mossy Ridge Trail (AKA the Red Trail) in Percy Warner Park. Starting at the Chickering Road Entrance, I always veer right along the Red Trail and kick off the hike with a STUNNING view from along Tornado Road.  I love that you have to endure a bit of a climb to get up to the “road”, but you get the instant gratification of a beautiful view. The invasive plants and shrubs are minimal up there as well, so it feels like you can see through the forest for miles. I imagine it would be an incredible hike at night with the full moon to light the way. 


While there is not a trail in the park that I do not regularly hike and enjoy, it is always a treat to venture through the Burch Reserve. It is the most recent addition to the Warner Parks and I have been fortunate to be part of this process. The relationship I have built with this land and the people who helped forge the path, literally cleaning up old homesites and building the trail itself, will always have a special place in my heart. The Burch Woods provides a quiet and more immersive experience unmatched by our more actively used trails. This place really feels like my backyard.

Tunnel at the Burch Reserve
Burch Reserve Tunnel / photo by Warner Tidwell

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