Shutes Branch is among the few mountain bike trails in Wilson County, with plenty of variety from start to finish making it ideal for riders at different levels. Since it’s a network trail, users can choose different routes depending on their experience level, with maps of the trails also having a recommended beginner route. There are plenty of connectors that you can identify by the letters. Additionally, the trail goes through an old campsite; hence there are some overgrown buildings, benches, and campsites.
The Shutes Branch Trail can be found at the Shutes Branch Recreation Area. To get there, you’ll have to take Interstate 40 east from Nashville and then turn north onto Hickory Rd. Follow Hickory Rd to its intersection with Lebanon Pike, then turn northeast. After that, turn north onto Andrew Jackson Pkwy, just past the Walmart Supercenter.
Andrew Jackson Pkwy turns into Saudersville Rd., which in turn goes right through the Shutes Branch Recreation Area. To find the trailhead, you’ll turn southeast onto Needmore Rd. Once you reach the Recreation Area, turn northeast onto Shutes Branch Rd. This will take you straight to the parking lot and trailhead.
The trail is an 8-mile network of singletrack going through a fairly woody recreation area. It eases you in, with the first two or so miles being quite easy. After that, the network can get fairly technical with multiple rocks on the singletrack and short climbs.
If you’re not that experienced, you may want to get off your mountain bike in some of the rocky sections to prevent an accident. However, for an intermediate-level rider, it offers just the right difficulty to make it fun. There’s even the occasional root on the singletrack and plenty of switchbacks.
One of the more challenging sections is “White Rocks,” which lives up to its name.
With plenty of connectors around the trail, you can use them to avoid some of the sections that you don’t like. However, this will have to come after going through the entire trail system at least once so you know what to go through and what to avoid.
It should be easy to know which connector is which since they’re marked from A to O. Also, there are three kiosks with maps showing the trail with a beginner trail recommended for those new to mountain biking.
Being in Nashville, the trail gets plenty of rain throughout the year. This isn’t a problem during summer since the singletrack surface dries quickly. However, in the winter, it can take a bit longer. As such, gaining traction is difficult, making the technical sections a lot harder to get through.
The Shutes Branch Trail is also one of the few where night riding is allowed, so if you have a headlight on your mountain bike, there’s no reason not to go after dusk.
There’s an abandoned camping ground here, so you’ll come across a few overgrown buildings and picnic tables.
One of the perks of this tail is that it’s rarely ever full, so you can enjoy a quiet ride almost any day of the week.
As for its negatives, it’s rife with bugs, especially in the warmer months, so wearing insect repellent may be a good idea.
All this trail has to offer in terms of views is the greenery along the trail and the overgrown campground.
Wear bug spray to keep the insects away.