Despite living in the Middle Tennessee area for some time now, I had never been to either of the Warner Parks, Percy or Edwin. It was actually a disastrous blind date that brought the parks to my attention (one of his few positive qualities was that he’s a trail runner and frequently uses the same trails in the Warner parks to time himself). So one commitment-free Saturday, I decided to do a hike in Percy Warner for myself to see what it’s like.
It turns out that despite being only 9 miles from downtown Nashville, the Warner Parks are, according to their website, “the largest municipally administered parks in Tennessee”, measuring at 2684 acres. I parked at the trailhead (which was unbelievably packed) and opted to hike the 4.5-mile Mossy Ridge Trail, described in the brochure online as “Moderate”, thinking that if I felt like it, I would take the connector trail to Edwin Warner, before coming back to finish the loop. Well…that didn’t happen.
It turns out Mossy Ridge Trail is listed as Moderate because it’s incredibly hilly. Aside from flat moments which were few and far between, I was ascending and descending practically the whole 4.5 miles, huffing and puffing away. Thankfully I had plenty of water and nowhere to be, so there was no need to rush. That’s why I enjoy day hiking primarily alone in the first place – I’m not subject to anyone else’s schedule or whim.
The hike itself was beautiful. I was so close to a large metropolis, but, except for once or twice when I could see the road, it’s like I was in the middle of nowhere. No cars rushing by, no horns blaring, no babies crying. Just so peaceful. There were a few other hikers and trail runners, but at no point (except the parking lot) feel like the trail or park were crowded at all.
Some of my favorite moments included:
- the areas where the trail was moss-covered on either side in a sea of green;
- Quiet Point;
- Dripping Springs (where you either walk through the water or take a small detour around it);
- and the random chimney at the bottom of Chimney Hill (I did a lot of research and still wasn’t able to figure out why this chimney exists beyond the generic ‘old cabin’ explanation I’ve found online in various sources)