Anchored by Belmont University, the historic Belmont-Hillsboro neighborhood (added to the National Register of Historic Districts in 1980) is one of Nashville's best places to go for a run. If you need a relatively flat track, this neighborhood has it. If you prefer a hilly course complete with steep inclines, this neighborhood's got those, too. There is also much to look at and take in as you jog/run these tree-lined streets. From one after another cute bungalows and craftsman-style homes to urban gardens to trendy neighborhood restaurants and coffee houses, this truly is an area designed for both optimal aesthetics and active transportation.
For those unfamiliar with the neighborhood, here are a few routes to help get you started. (And for those who are familiar with the area, please feel free to share your own favorite Belmont-Hillsboro routes in the comments section!)
The first run I call simply the "Bridge and Back." This is a flat, pleasant 2-mile run that takes you from the corner of Delmar Avenue and Belmont Boulevard, out in front of Belmont's Sport Science Building, past Sweetbriar Avenue and Martin's Barbecue and Osborne's Bi-Rite (on this route you will also pass Jack Clement Recording Studios, an amazing piece of Nashville music history), all the way to the midpoint of the bridge over I440. This is exactly 1 mile. Turn around and go back for an easy 2-mile jaunt.
Next, I have a run for you I got from Belmont Sport Science Associate Professor Nick Bacon. He calls it the "Green Loop!" (I am not sure why this is his "green" route, although it is indeed lined with trees, is a loop, and is worthy of an exclamation point.) For this one, again begin at the Sport Science Building and head toward 440. When you get to Sweetbriar Avenue take a left; then take another left at 15th Avenue; then a left on Linden Avenue; and then take a right to get back onto 15th Avenue. While on 15th, you will pass through the campus of Belmont University, and you will continue to enjoy views of the beautiful campus buildings that line Wedgwood as you turn left and head toward Magnolia Boulevard.
Veer left onto Magnolia. Then, finally, take a left at 18th Avenue and stay on it all the way until you get to Ashwood Avenue. Take a left on Ashwood, which doglegs back to Belmont and returns you to the Sport Science Building. Congratulations, you just ran 2.3 miles!
For one more quick variation, do the "Bridge and Back" run, but at the end keep going. Run past the Troutt Theater and take the first right onto Compton Avenue. Ascend the steep hill and take another right onto 15th Avenue, then turn right onto Ashwood, which takes you back to Belmont. This short loop pushes the Bridge and Back run past the 2-mile mark and adds a significant incline toward the end.
Try these routes through this scenic and historic neighborhood, and again please remember to share your favorite runs down below in the comment section. Tis the season for outdoor exercise, Nashville. Lace up those running shoes and get moving!