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!
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