The Brentwood Parks Trail System connects several of the City's parks with multiple marked paved paths to provide a great place to walk, run, bike, etc. They are incorporated around these parks, historic areas, YMCA, Williamson County Recreation Center and more to allow use while family or friends might be utilizing these other facilities. It is a wonderful way to tie everything together!
While I could go on and on about all of the parks, paths and trails in the area that are around, throughout and connected here, I am going to focus on the main long path that connects River Park to Marcella Vivrette Smith Park. I will get to all of these other areas in different posts. Since it is so connected, there are many places you can park and begin but for the majority of people who might want to use this path in its entirety, I suggest parking at River Park (1100 Knox Valley Drive, Brentwood, TN 37027), across from the Brentwood Public Library or you could do it the opposite way and start at Marcella Vivrette Smith Park (1825 Wilson Pike, Brentwood, TN 37027).
Starting at River Park, you have free parking plus a bathroom and water fountain, always a bonus before and after a long run or walk! This is an out-and-back paved course (9.6 miles) that you can easily cut short by just turning around sooner, or you can add mileage with the Raintree Parkway or Split Log Road paths or by adding in some of the connecting park paths (Tower Park, Concord Park, Crockett Park, Smith Park or the connecting neighborhoods). There is also a bathroom about 2.5 miles in by Primm Park and one with a water fountain at Marcella Vivrette Smith Park, as well as benches and safety call boxes along the way.
This is such a lovely traffic-free, wide path with rolling hills (total ascent of about 253 ft). The course is beautiful and scenic with a majority of it being between the woods or along the Little Harpeth River. The trail is popular but not overcrowded. It feels safe but there are definitely areas where you can be pretty isolated at times. This is a great path year-round but also might be a really good option during the summer to help shield you from the sun. Since the paths are so wide it also makes for a great group run, family walk or smooth, safe path to push your stroller and walk your dog!
You don't have to worry about too many turns on the course, just follow the trail markers to Ravenwood/Smith Park. As I mentioned, there are other parks and connectors along the way to parking areas or neighborhoods, but you won't need to make those turns unless you decide to add on extra mileage. When you start at River Park you will cross a few bridges through the woods and will eventually come to a small section of the trail that runs along Wilson Pike, but it doesn't last long before it dips back into the secluded woods. You will pass by an 1830s school house, Native American mounds, the river, farmland, train tracks, tunnels, and will then end up running through the entrance to Smith Park, by the Ravenswood Mansion and more, all the way to the beginning of the hiking trails (where the bathrooms are) before turning back around.
It's an interesting, long, wide, paved trail system that does its job of connecting several of the parks, facilities and neighborhoods around Brentwood. If you want a safe place to walk, ride your bike, or get in a long run, this is a perfect place to do it! I have attached the complete City of Brentwood Park System Trail Map below, as well as a map of my version of the 9.6 mile route.
Checkout Williamson County, TN Paths, Trails and Parks for more places to explore around town!
The Westhaven Trails in Franklin are another set of trails I am extremely excited to feature because I feel like not that many people know they exist...and not only do they just exist, they are amazing, consist of 7 trails and are about 9 miles long in total! If you live in Franklin or the surrounding area and you like to hike, walk or trail run, this is the place for you! If you have ever been to Percy Warner, I would say the trails are somewhat similar, but the ones in Westhaven might be even more intense. For example, if I go in to run 5 miles on any of the trails, I normally come out with at least 1,000 ft elevation gain, give or take a few hundred depending on the exact trails I do.
You might not know these trails exist because you access them through Westhaven, a mixed-use community, in the residential area between the houses. There are two trailheads: Wild Elm and Grassmere. Wild Elm is literally between two houses and the path starts by wrapping behind some houses before getting up into the woods. You might have passed it by and never even noticed it was there. There is a sign there but I recommend parking at the other trailhead: Grassmere. There is a lot more space between the houses on this one and more areas to park (without feeling like you are parking in front of someone else's house). This trailhead is easiest to get to if you enter Westhaven by the golf course entrance versus the main entrance.
Both trailheads start with a pretty decent ascent that lasts 1/4 - 1/2 mile before it levels out a bit. It is a good introduction to the trails in general. Most of the trails are labeled as moderate or difficult. Again, there is some pretty good elevation gain on these trails and some are pretty steep. Make sure you are prepared for that. A lot of the trails have rocks and roots and are a bit technical, but there are also some that you can crank out some faster running on, so it is a great, interesting mixture! Not only are the trails exciting, but you get amazing views and a bunch of wildlife, too! So far I have seen a coyote (just saw it running away in the distance), a turkey, deer, turtles, bird, chipmunks, squirrels and bugs. It is so peaceful and beautiful out there, besides the occasional noise you might hear from the construction being done around Westhaven, you might forget where you are! There is also a new picnic table near the beginning of the trails (about a half mile in). You will work up an appetite as you hike up the hill to get there ;) They are always working on the trails to make them even better and I really like that. Follow @westhaventrail on Facebook and Instagram to find out even more about the trails and what they do to keep improving and adding on to them!
I recommend downloading the Trail Run Project or Hiking Project app (or website) by REI or the AllTrails app (or website) before heading out there for a hike, walk or run so you don't get lost. There are also signs on the trail that let you know which trail you are on. Or you can be like me and get lost but love the adventure of exploring and figuring out where the trails end up (if you have the time). You can read more in depth about the trails so you know what to expect on each one. There are no bathrooms or water around (unless you visit one of the nearby stores or restaurants) so make sure you come prepared. Since it is Middle Tennessee, take all precautions for being in the woods, especially come spring and summer with insects/poison ivy/snakes/etc.
I really can't say enough good things about this trail. I hope you take some time to meander out that way and explore all that these trails have to offer and enjoy being in nature!
Find more paths, trails and places to hike/run/walk in Williamson County, TN here!
I am so excited about my new project highlighting all of the walking/hiking/running trails in Williamson County, TN! As a runner, I am always looking for new trails, paths and places to run/walk to keep things interesting but there isn't a website that has all of that combined, so I decided to create one myself! I also thought it would be a helpful resource for my health coaching clients who are looking for new places to explore and get active, as well as for new people/families to the area or even for those who have lived here forever but just haven't discovered all the trails yet!
The first one I am going to highlight is: Aspen Grove Park Trails. I chose this one to be my first feature since it is a hidden gem in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Cool Springs. I like to think of it as a quick escape from reality as I run through the trees and over the bridges to clear my head. It is just a beautiful, well maintained park and paved trail system that is close to the heart of Cool Springs so it is easy to access while in the area or coming from Mack Hatcher or 65.
There is one main entrance to the park with parking as well as another area where you can park and a few different access trails from the surrounding businesses. The main entrance is at 3200 Aspen Grove Dr, Franklin, TN 37067 with a parking lot, a bathroom and a water fountain. Unfortunately, as of 1/10/19 when I went there, the water fountain appeared that it was currently turned off for the winter. The other parking lot is off Cool Springs Blvd, in between Pie Five Pizza and P.F. Chang's - you can't miss it, there is a large pavilion with picnic tables, a bike rack and a path going into the park.
There are a few other picnic tables around the park with a playground, a large swing, and another large pavilion by the main entrance with picnic tables and a huge fireplace/grill. I always thought this would be a nice park to bring your family, play at the playground, walk your dog, go on a run, pack a lunch or to take a quick break from work (maybe from one of the surrounding businesses) and get some fresh air with a nature walk while listening to the running water from the Harpeth River or Spencer Creek.
Another really cool thing about these trails is that they connect across the street (over Aspen Grove Dr) to The Harpeth River Greenway. It looks like this will eventually be expanded, but for now it adds on about an extra mile by going to the end of it and back. Without having to repeat much, you can get in about 2.25 miles by starting at the main entrance parking lot, running across the street (don't forget to look both ways) down the .5 mile Harpeth River Greenway and back, then completing Aspen Grove Trail 3 (the smallest loop on the left), then completing the Aspen Grove Trail 2 (the loop on the right) + 4 (to the other pavilion and back down). You can definitely do more here by adding on the biggest loop - Aspen Grove Trail 1 and repeating some of the same sections you did before. I normally do that to get in about 3 miles. I have included pictures and the route map with elevation below so you can get more of a feel for what it looks like before you go.
The route is shaded (for the most part) since it is among so many trees. It is also paved but the bridges can be a bit slippery at times so be careful. Oh yeah, and it is dog friendly! I hope you enjoy these trails as much as I do! If there is something else you want me to include in my trail descriptions around town, please reach out to me and let me know! Happy running (or walking)!
I am super excited to announce that I have teamed up with Prepear to make 2019 the best year ever...for you! The new year is a time to start fresh. So many of us are hoping to get organized and eat better in 2019 and meal planning is a concrete, realistic way to tackle your goals. Doing it by yourself might seem daunting, but you don't have to do it alone! I'll provide the recipes for you, so you can focus on getting the food on the table. If you want to be able to take charge of meal planning in an EASY way, look no further.
I have entered my recipes into the app so you can create your own customized meal plan with any of my breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas. Feel good knowing that by using any of my recipes, you are eating healthy, delicious meals within an appropriate calorie range. Even further customize your experience by changing the servings amount to send the exact ingredients needed into your grocery list AND keep track of your pantry ingredients so you don't buy items you already have!
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I had been looking for months at different apps that would do exactly as I wanted them to do for my clients. I started thinking I wasn't going to find anything and would have to hire someone to create one for me until I found Prepear. Once I met with them and we discussed my needs and what they had to offer, I knew it was the perfect fit! The app is easy to use, it's a great place to store my recipes, it shows nutrition information, it provides an automatic grocery list based off your meal plan, the grocery list is easy to follow while shopping at the store, the app stays awake while cooking and provides an easier way to follow the directions as you go, you can upload your own pictures and make notes of the recipes and eventually it will be able to send your grocery list over to the grocery store for you so you don't even have to do the shopping yourself!
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This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Maybe you had every intention to eat healthy, exercise and reduce stress during the holidays but it just seemed to get away from you. That's okay! It happens. Do the best that you can right now. Small steps do lead to big changes. There are still two weeks left of the year. Use them wisely.
If you feel like you just can't commit to anything right now until the holidays are over, I understand that too. The start of a new year always seems to bring about an opportunity to wipe the proverbial slate clean and start again. Although, a New Year's resolution should not lead to deprivation, restriction, diets, hardcore workouts, extreme exercise every day or the idea of making perfect, healthy choices every day. These unrealistic expectations are the reasons why most people don't stick with their resolutions past January.
You also don't even need to make a "resolution". Instead, why don't you just decide to start making small changes that can lead to a huge impact on your life, wellbeing and body? Instead of a major, overwhelming overhaul, these small, attainable steps can lead you to a healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life. Some ideas are to start incorporating small acts of kindness for others once a month, practicing gratitude at the end of each week, taking time to yourself each day for your mental health, try new fruits and vegetables during the week, walk around the block, etc. Whatever it is that you want to work on, decide on one long term-goal and set several short-term goals with achievable, realistic steps to help you get there. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish.
Do you have trouble making goals? Whatever your goal may be, even if it isn't specifically health related, please contact me so that I can help you!
If you do want to start eating healthier and exercising yet you aren't quite sure where to start, join my new Fresh Start menu planning and exercise program! You will receive 4 weeks of menu plans and two workouts (one with weights and one without). You also will gain access to ask me any questions and have me help you along with this new journey.
If you want to learn the basics of how to start living a healthy lifestyle on your own - behavior change information, how to meal plan, what foods you should eat more of, restaurant cheat sheets, a sample workout routine and more, then join Boost!
If you are just looking for a quick reset after the holidays, join 7 Day Slim Down for a week's worth of meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) all planned out for you with a corresponding grocery list and workout guide. Get ready to lose that holiday bloat, look good and feel great, all without feeling deprived, starved, or restricted! Plus you get a bonus treat each day!
If you are more interested in working one-on-one with me for some health coaching, customized menu planning, workout guides, grocery list creation and ordering, grocery store tours, fridge and pantry clean outs, cooking lessons, cooking demos or more, please contact me today!
I am a food loving, activity seeking health coach who resides in Franklin, TN with my husband and two sweet dogs (Lola & Penny).
I believe everyone should eat balanced and not cut food groups if you don't medically need to. All foods can fit in a healthy diet. Unfortunately, I have to avoid gluten and also limit myself with dairy, so my goal is to provide healthy, gluten-free/dairy-free recipes so EVERYONE can enjoy all foods, even if you do have to cut out certain food groups. My recipes are encouraged for everyone to eat, not just for those with sensitivities/allergies! Most of my recipes can be easily converted by using real dairy and whole-wheat in place of my allergy-free substitutes.
Looking for something specific? Everything can be found by category under the "Life" and "Recipes" sections on my website or you can search below.