Trail Review: Mossy Ridge Trail at Percy Warner Park

Nashville’s backyard backpacking conditioning trail

The 4.6 mile Mossy Ridge trail loop at Percy Warner Park is one of my favorite trails in the city. Most people would rate it as a moderate trail; it has some rocky sections and hills and winds through varied scenery and trail difficulty. Want to get into backpacking shape for the upcoming fall? Load your pack and hit this trail. 

Pros:

  • Thanks to the Friends of Warner Parks and good humans in general, this trail has very little litter
  • Varied terrain to really get the feel of your trekking poles, weight of your pack, break in your boots
  • Located in the heart of Nashville, so it’s a quick drive for most in the area
  • Nice benches throughout the trail
  • At a moderate hiking pace (depending on breaks and pack weight and general fitness), the 4.6 mile loop can be completed in one-and-a-half to two hours
  • Trail running is allowed, dogs are allowed, no mountain biking
  • Combine this trail with others or repeat it to get more miles (I like to loop this trail with the 1-mile (one way) connector trail to the 2.4-mile Harpeth Woods trail loop in neighboring Edwin Warner Park for a good 9-mile trail.)
  • Trail is well-blazed and signed

Cons:

  • The humans
    • Parking areas fill up very quickly on the weekends
    • Some people don’t leash their aggressive dogs, so exercise caution if you take your pup (which you’ll keep on leash, of course!)
    • Many inexperienced hikers not familiar with trail etiquette hike the narrow trail two or three folks across, don’t yield to uphill hikers, talk loudly and even blare music, which scares away any hint of wildlife
  • Horse trails intersect with hiking trails, which isn’t a con so much as a reminder to leash your dogs and do your best not to spook horses; yield to riders

This park is also full of paved, winding roads, so you can go on a nice drive through it. There are privies at the trailhead. And for hikers just starting out and don’t feel they are in shape to hike on the trails, the paved roads are a nice place to begin.

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Trail is well-signed and easy to follow
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One of a few rock scrambles
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Neat flora, fauna, and fungi throughout the park
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Doesn’t look scary, but going downhill takes extra care because of all the loose rock
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Chimney from an old Scout cabin
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Small “waterfall” along the trail; heavier water in early spring
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Deceptively steep climb at the beginning of the hike if you go left instead of right

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