Shelby Bottoms Greenway

May 15, 2012 in Tennessee Hiking Trails by amylaree

Shelby Bottoms Greenway Trail map

Shelby Bottoms Trails

Before Nate and I met, Shelby Bottoms Greenway was about the only “outdoorsy” path I had ventured upon. It was my go-to spot for an evening walk or (on the rare occasions) a nice run. On all those outings I always stayed on the paved path… little did I know what I’d been missing by not venturing onto unpaved trails.

  1. Scenery:  2.0
  2. Difficulty:  1.0
  3. Length:  8.5 miles
  4. Dog Friendly Factor: 4.0
  5. Convenience:  5.0
  6. Bonus Funtimes: 4.0
Shelby Bottoms Greenway - Bottomland Trail Offshoot

The surprising Bottomland Trail offshoot

Scenery (2.0 out of 5.0): Shelby Bottoms Greenway slides along the flat plains of the Cumberland River in East Nashville. While you’re routinely very near the river, thick foilage keeps the it hidden from view most of the time. The main greenway path is wide open (wear sunscreen!) and paved, but the trail offshoots have plenty of canopy overgrowth and natural ground cover.

Of all the offshoot trails that we hit up, the Bottomland Trail was the most scenic and least traveled. This long, narrow path is covered by tall trees and you really can feel a sense of wilderness in the middle of metro Nashville. As we were on the trail, I was kicking myself for always sticking to the paved path when I lived on the east side.

Difficulty (1.0 out of 5.0): Shelby Bottoms was designed to be very walkable for all types of people. The long, flat, well-maintained trails make it easy for people of all fitness levels. One major improvement that’s occurred in recent years is the improved trail signage at all the trail intersections. This made our hike much easier when we were trying to pick and choose which paths to take next.

Length: 8.5 miles in 2:35 (We started at the Two Rivers parking are and did the main greenway path (both east and west loops), Cornelia Fort Trail and Bottomland Trail.)

Dog Friendly Factor (4.0 out of 5.0):  Ezra got a lot of miles under his collar during his puppy years traipsing along Shelby Bottoms. The entire pathway is very dog friendly and you’re likely to run into more than a few furry friends on these trails. Water availability really does depend on recent rains – the day we were on the greenway there was only one stream that had running water. That was located about 5 miles into our trek and gave the dogs a nice refresher near the Shadow Lane and Cornelia Fort trail intersection.

Convenience (5.0 out of 5.0): Even though East Nashville is on weekend lockdown this summer, you can still easily access Shelby Bottoms via the Cumberland Pedestrian Bridge from the parking lot of Two Rivers/Wave Country parking lot. There’s also plenty of parking at Shelby Bottoms park as well as the Forrest Green trailhead.

Bonus Funtimes (4.0 out of 5.0): The greenway is very popular for cyclists, runners, roller bladers (our friends at Cloud Hiking even noted watching out for the Roller Girls training practice on certain days!) and more. There’s also easy access to the Shelby Bottoms Park playgrounds, ball fields and dog park.

Shelby Bottoms Greenway

Cumberland Pedestrian Bridge – Looking towards Shelby Bottoms


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