If you are looking for a unique park to run, walk and play with your kids and/or dogs, this is it! The Park at Harlinsdale Farm is a historic treasure right across from The Factory and near downtown Franklin. The 200-acre property of rolling farmland was a working horse farm for 7 decades before eventually being turned into a passive park. It has kept its open spaces, plenty of areas for picnicking and throwing frisbees or flying kites, a canoe launch to the Harpeth River, 3-acre pond with catch and release fishing (fishing license required), 4-acre dog park, an arena area, plenty of space to ride horses and my favorite - miles of trails! The park even hosts polo matches, concerts, festivals and 4th of July fireworks!
The park is located at 239 Franklin Rd, Franklin, TN 37064. There is a South entrance (directly across from The Factory) that takes you to the main entrance where the barn and arenas are. There is plenty of parking and a water fountain for you and your dog. If you keep driving down the gravel road on the left you will get to the canoe launch. The North entrance is a little further up Franklin road and will take you to another large parking lot and to the dog park. There is also a porta potty, potable water source, and an area to park trailers.
The majority of the trails are turf/grass with a tiny portion going up into the wooded trails to an overlook and you can even include some of the park roads, depending on how much mileage you are looking for. You can get about 5.25 miles without repeating anything. There is a total ascent of about 194 ft and is mainly rolling fields except for the short, steep trail to the overlook. If you just want the turf/grass and wooded trail, stick to the first 3 miles. This is similar to the path (opposite direction though) that the free Walk Across Williamson Trail 5k normally follows. The park will eventually connect to downtown Franklin by a sidewalk and to the Chestnut Bend Bend subdivision with a bridge over the Harpeth which will add miles and miles of more paths and trails!
I usually just park on the South side and take off in a clock-wise direction, mainly sticking to the outer areas of the park and then winding through in the middle (the first 3 miles). By going this direction you begin on the gravel road that starts by the arenas, takes you past the canoe launch area and then into the fields. The trail is basically just a large mowed path through the grass that borders the park and the Harpeth River in the back. You eventually come around the pond and a tree farm and can choose to go through the wooded trails with a scenic overlook (a little steep but a short distance before coming back out into the fields again) or just straight through to the North entrance fields. After getting back into the field you still keep to the border of the park and will pass by some nice houses before running close to Franklin Rd and winding through across the North entrance, by Franklin Rd again but still on the rolling fields before getting back to the main entrance. You can then follow the small arrow signs across the fields, back to the gravel road and to where you began. If you want to do the 5.25 miles just follow the trail back to the field on the left and around, back past the barn and then loop through the road by the dog park, around the parking lot, behind the dog park, around the lake and back down the gravel road to where you started. My favorite thing to do though is go without a plan and just explore (as I like to do with most trails so I don't have to remember specific directions). I encourage you to take this approach if you have the time!
While I absolutely love running here, some things to keep in mind are that there is not much shade to protect you from the blazing sun during the summer, you are in a field so beware of bugs and mud, and while it is relatively flat and fast, you might want to wear trail shoes and watch for holes and uneven ground so you don't twist your ankles or fall. Other than that, bring your picnics, frisbees, bathing suit (for the river), fishing gear (for the pond and river), dogs, and family to experience everything this wonderful park has to offer!
Checkout Williamson County, TN Paths, Trails and Parks for more places to explore around town!
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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