If you live in the Nashville area, particularly on the west side, and you are not taking advantage of everything the Warner Parks have to offer, then you really should consider doing something about it (i.e., shame on you). If you are a fan of expansive wooded areas; wide-open fields; the best views for miles around; wildlife; and great spaces for meeting and having various outdoor events (for free) ...then there is something for you at these well-supported parks.
For runners and hikers, the Warner Parks are especially alluring with their clearly marked trails winding through fields and shady woods, some offering forgiving alternatives to the paved surfaces individuals typically pound for aerobic exercise. Percy Warner, in particular, features two wooded hiking trails that accomplish just this: the Warner Woods (White) Trail and the Mossy Ridge (Red) Trail. The White Trail is a 2.5-mile loop; the Red Trail is a 4.5-mile loop. And although they are each described as "moderate" in official park literature (see map below), buyer beware: they are both full of steep inclines and challenging spots to traverse throughout. Therefore, if you are hiking and are of advanced age, or just not in the best shape of your adult life, you may seriously want to consider taking a cane or walking pole along.
However, if you do happen to be in good running shape, you would still benefit from a quality pair of trail shoes with some grip. And be sure to run mindfully. Always pay attention to where you step, looking out for roots, rocks, and crevices, and as author Christopher McDougall instructs, whenever there is a choice between taking two steps or one, take two!
Like Percy Warner, Edwin Warner Park also features a 2.5-mile loop, but in addition, Edwin Warner includes "the old roadway," which is 6 miles of paved, hilly walking trails, closed off from car traffic. The inclines here are very steep; however, this area provides wonderful shade throughout and is therefore an excellent, relatively cool location for hikes, even during the dog days of summer. And down at the bottom of the hill is the Warner Park Nature Center, a place where one can explore and learn about wildlife, stroll through an herb garden, or simply have a seat and rest after a hike.
For more information about the Warner Parks, please visit the Nashville.gov webpages for the Warner Park Nature Center and Warner Parks Hiking and Trails, and the website for the nonprofit organization Friends of Warner Parks. And please take advantage of these lovely fall days that are right around the corner by hiking or running as you watch the leaves turn brilliant shades of orange, yellow, and red at one of the region's most breathtaking public parks!