Nestled on the outskirts of Murfreesboro, and fewer than six miles from Middle Tennessee State University, the Barfield Crescent Park trail system offers paved and earth trail combinations through forest and meadow – a sure cure for those mid-term and finals blues.
Suitable for all hiking skill and fitness levels, trail combinations range from a 1.5 mile there-and-back paved trail to 4.5 miles of trail combinations (paved, main trail loop, two side trail loops). This park was a great place to take my senior dogs for a little day excursion, and would be perfect for a mid-day escape.
The trails wander through forests of hickory, oak, cedar, elm, and more. The park has even established a “tree trail” along the paved portion with numbers that correspond to this tree guide so you can learn to identify the different trees. Benches are scattered along the trails – even the dirt and stone trail sections – secluded in the woods. They offer a great places to take a break, be alone in the quiet, or have a good cry over a bad grade.
The trails are fairly level and definitely easy; a great place for folks that don’t know if they can hike long distances, kids, and leashed dogs.
As you hike, you’ll notice the trails are well-blazed and signed, and the landscape changes enough to keep it interesting. There is an old Civil War-era stone fence that meanders through the park. There are reminders, though, that you aren’t far from the city; the drone of traffic can be heard in certain parks, and you come across an unexpected tower in the middle of an otherwise lovely meadow.
There are also back country campsites available, but to be honest, it seems to be more hassle than it’s worth. From the official park website:
“Approved groups such as scouts, church youth groups, and college organized clubs are allowed to camp without a staff member. To qualify as an approved group, a Wilderness Awareness workshop and a leader’s orientation must be completed.”
So not an easy overnight getaway if you just feel like disappearing into the woods for a little bit.
Overall, this a great place to go for a peaceful walk nearby campus, to reconnect with nature, and is quick enough to sneak in a hike between your last class and the early winter sunset.