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Harpeth River State Park is composed of an archipelago of public islands in a sea of private land. Hiking to the top of the Harpeth River Narrows reveals miles of emerald green farm land as far as the eye can see.

Harpeth River State Park is composed of an archipelago of public islands in a sea of private land. Hiking to the top of the Harpeth River Narrows reveals miles of farm land as far as the eye can see. We had just gotten a new care package, courtesy of Duluth Trading Company, and decided this would be the time to take it for a spin.

Harpeth River State Park is composed of an archipelago of public islands in a sea of private land. Hiking to the top of the Harpeth River Narrows reveals miles of emerald green farm land as far as the eye can see.
As an added plus, we had cell phone reception!
Harpeth River State Park is composed of an archipelago of public islands in a sea of private land. Hiking to the top of the Harpeth River Narrows reveals miles of emerald green farm land as far as the eye can see.
It’s hard to conceive of the beauty laid out below us.

There are nine river access sites along the forty river miles that string together the Harpeth River State Park. This makes the river popular for kayakers and canoers. The entrance to the park is flanked by private canoe rental operations along with many launches intended for individuals who bring their own equipment. But we weren’t interested in getting on the Class I river, we were interested in getting high above it.

Narrows of the Harpeth

The Narrows of the Harpeth is one of many park sites connected by the Harpeth River to create the state park. While much of the surrounding land is defined by gently rolling hills, here, a dramatic bluff towers above the river. Three hiking trails diverge from a shared trailhead: a short but steep bluff overlook trail, a route behind the back of the bluff to the historic Montgomery Bell tunnel, and a half mile trek to the remains of an iron forge. Guess which route we took? You are probably right, because we took two.

Harpeth River State Park is composed of an archipelago of public islands in a sea of private land. Hiking to the top of the Harpeth River Narrows reveals miles of emerald green farm land as far as the eye can see.
Looking out on our first peek at the brilliant green landscape.

Bluff Overlook Trail

The Bluff Overlook Trail may appear daunting at first blush. As the trails diverge to each of the respective destinations, the overlook trail immediately and steeply climbs the bluff. But after some rapid elevation gain, it quickly levels out to reveal panoramic views of the river and farm land below. The trail peters out at a “no trespassing” sign, but not before it reveals the most perfect photo opportunity I could hope for: a solid rock outcropping with sheer cliffs and photographic angle that revealed it all.

Harpeth River State Park is composed of an archipelago of public islands in a sea of private land. Hiking to the top of the Harpeth River Narrows reveals miles of emerald green farm land as far as the eye can see.
We have to be very cautious when we get close to the edge of the ridge.

Harpeth River State Park is composed of an archipelago of public islands in a sea of private land. Hiking to the top of the Harpeth River Narrows reveals miles of emerald green farm land as far as the eye can see.
Yes, we are standing at the edge of a cliff that descends strait down to the Harpeth River below.
Harpeth River State Park is composed of an archipelago of public islands in a sea of private land. Hiking to the top of the Harpeth River Narrows reveals miles of emerald green farm land as far as the eye can see.
It is a delight to share days like this together!

Montgomery Bell Tunnel Trail

It is a very simple hike to the Montgomery Bell Tunnel. The fairly short, level, dirt trail makes this route accessible to most. At the end of the trail is what first appears to be a waterfall descending from a cave mouth. But then you start to notice how symmetrical the cave mouth is and realize that the rough cut stone mouth is manmade. The 100 yard long tunnel was cut through solid rock for Montgomery Bell’s iron works. It is one of the oldest manmade tunnels, dating back to 1818.

Harpeth River State Park is composed of an archipelago of public islands in a sea of private land. Hiking to the top of the Harpeth River Narrows reveals miles of emerald green farm land as far as the eye can see.
Hiking along the Harpeth River Narrows Trail.

Harpeth River State Park is composed of an archipelago of public islands in a sea of private land. Hiking to the top of the Harpeth River Narrows reveals miles of emerald green farm land as far as the eye can see.
Montgomery Bell Tunnel
Gear courtesy of Duluth Trading Company
His Outfit

Gear courtesy of Duluth Trading Company
My Outfit

Lexi lives in a truck camper down by the river.

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