Barfield Wilderness Loop in Murfreesboro

November 1, 2011 in Tennessee Hiking Trails by amylaree

Civil War Era Rock Wall at Barfield Wilderness

Civil War Era Rock Wall

Barfield Wilderness Loop in Murfreesboro is hands-down one of the most surprisingly fun and scenic trails we’ve done in the metro Nashville.  We headed down to Murfreesboro with the goal of getting some fresh air, tiring out the dogs and simply marking another trail off our list, but wound up enjoying a surprisingly scenic, fun and (at times) challenging Sunday afternoon hike.

  1. Scenery:  3.5
  2. Difficulty:  3.0
  3. Length:  ~4.5 miles
  4. Dog Friendly Factor: 4.0
  5. Convenience:  4.0
  6. Bonus Funtimes: 4.0

Scenery (3.5 out of 5.0):  Perhaps the most prominent scenic element of this trail are the rock bluffs and occasional sinks and crevasses.  Leaving the Wilderness Station on the paved path, I was surprised by the prominence of the rock outcroppings that cover the landscape.  Despite how much soil these moss-covered mini-boulders take up, there was ample vegetation and abundant trees.  As with our hikes of late, this trail treated us to very scenic fall foliage along with plenty of riverviews along the path and views crevasses of all shapes and sizes.

Rock outcroppings & fall foliage at Barfield Wilderness

Leaf strewn rock outcroppings.

Crevasselike sink on path at Barfield Wilderness

Crevasselike sink on path

Difficulty (3.0 out of 5.0):  Had we opted not to do the Rocky Path Loop this trail would have gotten a 2.0 in difficulty.  The bulk of the paths at Barfield Wilderness are very easy – especially starting out on the paved path to the river and the dirt path of the Marshall Knob trail.

Veering off Marshall Knob onto Valley View and Rocky Path Trail (which lives up to it’s name!), both 1 mile long each, is where you need to start paying attention to your footing.  There are some slight elevation changes, but nothing challenging.  The Rocky Path Trail is where we got a pretty good workout climbing up and hopping across the rock outcroppings.  Pay close attention to your footing on this part of the trail.

(One note on the Rocky Path Trail, evidently we took the trial “backwards” because when we rejoined the main trail after finishing the Rocky Path, we saw signs that the Rocky Path Trail was closed.  Not sure why it’s closed off – it was still well maintained and our favorite section at Barfield Wilderness.)

Length: ~4.5 miles – (map of the trails we took: Paved, Marshall Knob, Valley View & Rocky Path) it took us 1:50 to do these trails… and about 15 min. of that time was spent dealing with tag-along dog issues…

Barfield Wilderness

Tag-along dogs not cooperating

Dog Friendliness (4.0 out of 5.0):  This trail was so dog friendly that we wound up with a pair of tag-along dogs who joined us for most of the trek.  After asking everyone we met on the trail if anyone was missing these dogs (a 60 lb Lassie look alike and a 25 lb funny mutt combo), we decided they must have roamed over from the nearby housing development.  Without names or phone numbers on their tags to contact owners, we let them join us.

All-in-all the dogs did very well… until we got to one set of rocks spaced a little too far apart, intimidating the Lassie dog. Despite the fact that the smaller of the two dogs easily jumped across the small chasm, “Lassie” refused to try to cross.  The little white dog then hopped back across the rocks and planted himself firmly by her side.  (Gotta love dog loyalty.)  Knowing we couldn’t leave them stranded, Nate and I took turns picking up and ferrying “Lassie” from rock to rock when she refused to cross.

Despite “Lassie’s” issues, Ezra, Coltrane and the random mutt all handled these trails great.  Aside from the stop at the river overlook, there were a couple of spots the dogs found water, but if you’re on this trail on a hot day, you may want to bring some extra water for your dog.

Once we arrived back at the Wilderness Station the dogs took off back to the adjacent neighborhood.

Barfield Wilderness

Awkward family photo: Ezra all smiles and Coltrane pathetically tangled in his leash

Bonus Funtimes (4.0 out of 5.0):  Barfield Crescent Park in Murfreesboro is about as family-friendly as you can get.

There are camping spots in the wilderness area, a frisbee golf course, ball fields of all kinds, shelters, tetherball, playgrounds, drinks for sale at the Wilderness Station.  The Wilderness Station also seems to host all sorts of family friendly outdoors activities for kids — as evident by the Halloween decorations on the paved trail.




This hike and others found in 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Nashville, get your own copy now from