Friday, August 29, 2014

Trail Review: Mossy Ridge Trail at Percy Warner Park

Mossy Ridge Trail winding

Trail: Mossy Ridge Trail
Location: Percy Warner Park, Deep Well Entrance. HWY 100 Nashville, TN 37221
Trail Length: 4.5 Miles (plus 0.4 miles round trip walking to and from Deep Well trailhead to reach loop.)
Difficulty: Moderate
Solitude: Crowded

Map of Nashville's Percy Warner Park
Click map for larger image.
Percy Warner Park is one of Nashville's most popular outdoor spaces. While it may not be the first place to go for solitude, it is a well-managed and expansive park. Because of its well-deserved popularity, I often choose to avoid the crowds and visit other less-crowded city parks. As expected, even on my early morning Wednesday visit, the park was so busy that the trailhead parking lot was full. Despite this, the trail itself was not terribly crowded, and I enjoyed a pleasant hike that felt more solitary than I would have expected. I left thinking I need to visit more often, and the parking lot of this west Nashville enclave could use the charm of my aging Toyota pickup truck to make the BMWs and Mercedes look that much nicer,  anyhow. On this trip, I chose the longest trail in the park, the 4.5 mile Mossy Ridge Trail. It’s a good workout and an excellent “training” trail. Below I’ll offer a few details and some more photos.

Lone fireplace and chimney at Betsy Ross Cabin site in Percy Warner Park
Betsy Ross Cabin site
After walking the 0.2 miles to the loop from the Deep Well trailhead, I chose to take a left and walk the loop clockwise. Almost immediately, I came upon the Betsy Ross Cabin site, though only a tall fireplace and chimney remain on the stone and concrete slab with no real cabin to be found. From there, I was off to the first of many moderate inclines and descents. The Mossy Ridge Trail crosses several park roads and horse trails throughout. Despite this, some sections do feel very cozy and somewhat secluded. Hardwoods abound along the trail and exposed limestone is also a frequent feature. The trails are very wide in most places and well-worn everywhere. As the name would suggest, several sections feature lush, wild moss blanketing the trail edges. 
Mossy hiking trail
The loop's  namesake moss covers much of the trailside. 

For the most part, this is a nice trail with enough changes in elevation to work up a good sweat and work on your "trail legs." There are few water features and no real overlook areas. However, the last mile of the trail (if hiking clockwise) does feature a natural spring crossing (the aptly named “Dripping Springs” given its quiet trickle) and a short spur trail to an area called Quiet Point that offers a bench and clearing, which could make for a nice picnic or respite spot.

Mossy Ridge is one of the most popular trails in an already popular park. If heading there on weekends especially, prepare yourself for the potential of parking frustrations. All in all, though, this pleasant meander through rolling woods and and a couple of open meadows is worth the effort.

Limestone spring with logs
Dripping Springs trail crossing.

More Reviews of Metro Nashville Trails
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