After 20 Years In Exile, Mountain Bikers Welcomed Back To Percy Warner Park

Since being banished to Hamilton Creek, mountain bikers have also helped build trails at Metro's Bells Bend Park and in Cane Ridge. Credit: alice teoh via Flickr

Since being banished to Hamilton Creek, mountain bikers have also helped build trails at Metro’s Bells Bend Park and in Cane Ridge. Credit: alice teoh via Flickr

After getting banned from Nashville’s Percy Warner Park in 1992, mountain bikers have been invited back. New professionally-built trails have opened to the public, according to an announcement from Friends of Warner Parks.

Mountain bikers have long been drawn to the rolling woods of one of the city’s largest and most beloved parks. But they were never specifically welcomed.

“There were trails there. We went and rode it,” recalls Darryl Glascock, Middle Tennessee head of the Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association.

Hikers, runners and horseback riders were there first. And after enough near misses and spooked horses, wheels were sent packing.

Hamilton Creek, a Metro Park along the edge of Percy Priest Lake, has been the refuge for mountain bikers. The trails are well-used but fairly technical and tricky for a first-timer.

Metro’s outdoor rec director Neel Deshpande says riders have been “petitioning” for trails at Warner Park for years.

The new 9-mile bike trail system includes easy loops for beginners and advanced riders. They will be maintained by volunteers. The city spent $360,000 to have them built by a company that specializes in trail building.

The more technical trails include table-top jumps, quick descents and berms for banked turns. None of the bike trails intersect with any other trails. The segregation was intentional.

“We don’t want to have hikers on the mountain bike trails. We don’t want to have mountain bikers on the horse trails, that kind of thing,” Deshpande says. “It reduces conflict all over.”

The trails are now open for use, as long as it hasn’t been too rainy. Rutted trails are no fun once they dry out.

A new 150-car parking lot is planned by the trailhead, near the entrance for Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. The trails will also be accessible at a Hwy 100 entrance.

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