Montgomery Bell is a large state park located about 45 minutes west of Nashville. It is named after Montgomery Bell, who formed one of the largest iron industries in Tennessee during the early 1800s. Attractions include camping, fishing, golf, mountain biking, lodging and hiking. One of these popular attractions is the 10.4-mile Montgomery Bell Overnight Trail. It can be tackled as a day hike or done as an overnight trip by staying at one of the three available shelters. Reservations are free but required for the overnight shelters (no tent camping is allowed along the trail). Make reservations by stopping in or calling the park office at 615.797.9052.
The trail travels through varied terrain, regularly following a stream that runs through the hardwood forest. There are a few stream crossings without bridges that, depending on water level, may require getting your feet wet. The trail passes by two lakes, both popular fishing spots. Train tracks, golf courses, homes, and even a cemetery are found along the trail. One of the downsides is that the trail sometimes includes short road walks and follows a section of what appears to be old ATV tracks.
The trail passes by the site of the first Cumberland Presbyterian Church, founded in 1810. A replica of the church and Reverend Samuel McAdow’s log cabin home are located in the park along with a small commemorative site.
The Montgomery Bell Overnight Trail is fairly well marked, but there are still a few intersections that can be confusing - just make sure to look for and follow white blazes. The Creech Hollow Trail is found around the halfway point, and can be used to shorten the hike and return to the trailhead.
Note that there are several parking areas where one can access the trail, but those on overnight trips are required to park at the warehouse trailhead.