Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
75.00 ft (22.86 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
8.25 mi (13.28 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Shelby Bottoms Natural Area is located in East Nashville and offers miles of both paved and unpaved trails for residents to explore. The majority of Shelby Bottoms is a vast floodplain located right beside the mighty Cumberland River. The fertile soils here have long attracted settlers and farmers, with former residents dating back to Paleoindian, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian cultures. In the early 1990s the area was designated to be preserved, and in the subsequent years action was taken to make sure that happened.

Today visitors can enjoy all 960 acres of Shelby Bottoms by exploring the many miles of trail, visiting the nature center, or even walking the runways at the Cornelia Fort Airpark located here. This guide covers Shelby Bottoms Greenway, an eight mile paved pathway that is perfect for hiking or biking.

This greenway begins at the Shelby Bottoms Nature Center. At both ends of this out-and-back trail are a small loop. The first loop takes you through a diverse sampling of terrain including a swamp area and a stunning field of yellow flowers. The Greenway then continues parallel to the Cumberland River, crossing multiple small bridges along its way through hardwood forest. Many species of birds and amphibians are found along the trail here. Eventually the greenway comes to and crosses under the Cumberland Pedestrian Bridge. It is definitely worth the short detour to walk up to the bridge.

The greenway then passes a small pond and a great viewpoint of the Cumberland River before arriving at the second small loop. On this loop the terrain opens up and you’ll pass by another wetland area. Once finished with this second loop, continue onward and return to the trailhead the way you came.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Easy walk. Close to town. Wildlife.

Cons

Crowds.

Trailhead Elevation

410.00 ft (124.97 m)

Highest point

423.00 ft (128.93 m)

Features

ADA accessible
Near lake or river
Wildlife
Fishing
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Potable water
Wildflowers
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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