The Hamilton Creek Mountain bike trail is one of the most fun trails near Nashville if you’re looking for something rocky and technical with big drops. It also has some root-filled sections, which should add to the excitement of the ride. As technical as it is, it’s an intermediate-level trail, although there are some beginner sections as well.
Most of the trail sections are named and have different difficulty ratings, so you may want to check out the map of the trail system before heading there so you know what to expect.
The main trailhead is next to the Hamilton Creek Recreation Area parking lot. To get there, you’ll need to head southeast on Highway 41 from the Nashville International Airport until you get to the intersection with Bell Rd. From there, turn north onto Bell Rd and continue past Nashboro Woods and Bayview.
Bell Rd cuts right through the trail system. However, to get to the parking, you’ll go right past it, then turn east at the Percy Priest Yacht Club onto Hamilton Creek Park Rd. From there, turn south onto Heterodox View Avenue, which should take you to the parking lot.
Some of the named sections of the trail include Upper Lakeside Trail, Pinnacle Trail, and Lower Lakeside, with different connectors making it into one big loop. For those who want to ride through the full 11.1 miles, it’s best to stay on the right at the connector intersections.
From the trailhead, you’ll get onto a connector, then head on to the Upper Lakeside Trail. Upper Lakeside is a difficult section with plenty of rocks and some big drops that almost caught us by surprise. There’s also some climbing and a few descents.
Upper Lakeside takes you to the Lakeside to Pinnacle connector, which goes under Bell Rd. At this point, you’re advised to get dismount and walk your bike through the tunnel before getting back on your bike seat.
The Pinnacle Trail offers a lot of variety, from an open trail that allows you to get some speed to rocky and root-filled sections in the middle. It’s worth noting that there’s a hairpin turn that sneaks up on you if you go too fast through the open section. However, once you note where it is, you can plan for it. The Pinnacle trail then loops around back to the Lakeside to Pinnacle connector, where you again have to remember to dismount your bike.
Once you’re back on the other side of Bell Rd, take a right to get onto Lower Lakeside, which is significantly easier than the Upper Lakeside and Pinnacle trails. That said, you’ll still be going uphill and downhill through rocky sections, making it fairly technical. This section is also the closest to the lake, although you won’t see it.
Overall, this trail calls for a full-suspension mountain bike and maybe an adjustable seat post for maximum enjoyment. Otherwise, you’ll feel the impact of some of the drops. That said, you can avoid some drops or even get off your mountain bike if you don’t have a full-suspension bike.
If the weather is clear, this singletrack trail can be a joy to ride on. However, it closes when there’s a downpour, so you may want to find alternatives in the rainy season.
On the trail, you can see much of the Hamilton Creek Metropolitan Park. Also, while technically not on the trail, the Hamilton Creek Marina Upper Boat Launch is nearby.
Avoid this trail in wet weather since it’ll likely be closed.