Pinkerton Park is a 34-acre municipal park located east of the Harpeth River, near downtown Franklin with a 1-mile paved path. Fort Granger is a 1-mile trail located on 14.5 acres and was built in 1862 by Union troops as a federal post and signaling station and is set above and behind Pinkerton Park. It consists of a 1-mile trail with a boardwalk and stairs to reach the overlook.
The trails and paths connect so you can choose to explore them together or on their own. Just keep in mind that the paths/trails are very different from each other. Pinkerton is paved and flat and Fort Granger has a steep, rocky climb with an unpaved trail. It will definitely keep your walk/hike/run interesting!
Starting with Pinkerton, there are four entrances; two are right off of Hwy 96/Murfreesboro Road (405 Murfreesboro Rd, Franklin, TN 37064) with a huge parking lot, one from downtown Franklin through the Sue Douglas Berry Memorial pedestrian bridge and the other off of Eddy Ln (with a parking lot), through the Fort Granger trail. If you are driving, the most direct option is to park in the parking lot accessible by Hwy 96/Murfreesboro Road. You can’t miss it!
There are 3 large pavilions, multiple picnic tables and benches to rest, stretch or enjoy your picnic on. There are also water fountains located around the park; one at the pavilion closest to the river, one by the playground and one by the bathrooms. All important things to know if running at the park or planning to run through it! You could also pack a hammock to relax on after your run, a Frisbee to throw on one of the fields or ping pong paddles to play on the new concrete ping pong table. Don’t forget 25 cents to buy a ball! If you are bringing your family to get some exercise you can take your kids and dogs (or just yourself) along the storybook trail and read a story about forest animals at 20 stops along the way for an interactive walking experience. Another bonus for the kids is a Read Box, a community library box where you can take a book and share a book. There are also several play areas around the park for kids and exercise equipment located at various points along the path with 3 different modifications and options for those in wheelchairs. If fishing or canoeing/kayaking is more your thing you are in luck, there is a public access point to the Harpeth River as soon as you enter the park on the left!
As for running or walking the wide, 1-mile paved path takes you around the perimeter of the park, looping through the fields and along the trees. It is an easy to follow loop with a 22 ft. elevation gain. This makes for a fast course…mile repeats anyone? It is normally pretty busy with other runners, walkers or kids riding bikes on it since it is such a popular park. You can easily add more mileage by starting your run off here and going through downtown to Bicentennial Park (more info on this path in a later post), down the new Hwy 96/Murfreesboro Road sidewalk or just behind the park to the connecting Fort Granger Trail.
The easiest way to get to Fort Granger is off of Eddy Rd (113 Fort Granger Dr, Franklin, TN 37064), you will see a Fort Granger sign with a parking lot down the drive. You could also access it through the back of Pinkerton Park on foot. There is a new pavilion in the parking lot and a Franklin Historic Parks Cell Phone Audio Tour option for those who are interested! If you want water or a bathroom you will need to go through the trail and down to Pinkerton Park. There are several placards located throughout the trail with important information on the history of Fort Granger. Starting in the parking lot you will enter through the boardwalk and can go to the right on the trail loop with the placards (stopping for the beautiful views) and then back onto the boardwalk to the highest lookout point, down the stairs and then back onto a steep, rocky trail that takes you down through the trees and across a little field, by the river and to Pinkerton Park. Turn around and head back where you came from to make 1-mile total, or add in the Pinkerton Park loop for an extra mile. Remember, you will now have to go back up the steep climb (a total elevation gain of about 50 ft.)! There were some extra little trails I found that were connected to the top trail section, one took me to an overlook and the other down to the train tracks. Not quite sure if something else will happen with these eventually but they were still nice to explore and added a tiny bit more mileage.
Both of these paths/trails are dog-friendly but must be kept on a leash. While they are not super long, they make for a fun, safe, quick workout or great family outing with something for everyone! They are also in such convenient locations and make great stops before or after visiting downtown Franklin! There is no excuse to visit these paths and trails and get active!
Find more paths, trails and places to hike/run/walk in Williamson County, TN here!
I am a food loving, activity seeking health coach who resides in Franklin, TN with my husband and two sweet dogs (Lola & Penny).
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