three butterflies in a field

Hidden Lake + Loop at Harpeth River State Park

AllTrails doesn’t appear to have this version of the Harpeth River Hidden Lake Trail in its database, but it’s a hike that Dave and I have done semi-regularly since we found out about this park a few years ago. We went yesterday. According to his map, we did 1.85 miles with an elevation gain of 167 feet, which took us 1 hr 10 min. Our whole hike was on natural surfaces, which is easier on my knees, but there’s a paved loop at this park with a trailhead to the left of the Bluebird trail for people who need a flatter surface.

Note that we walked only half of the back part of the double loop – you can see the rest of it in the dotted lines above the green line that shows our route – and we also skipped the bit that goes out to the railroad by Charlotte Pike, which I can tell you from past trips is a flat-ish, relatively easy, natural surface in-and-back trail, but it was pretty overgrown so I was a bit leery of ticks (probably didn’t need to bewe didn’t see any).

There’s a reasonably-sized parking lot, recently re-surfaced, with a portapotty and a couple benches. Our route:

  • the Bluebird trail (which we call the storybook trail since it has charming illustrated signs of a children’s book, Miss Maple’s Seeds), which is directly off the parking lot behind the information signs, and is an unpaved trail through a fieldthe only part of our hike with no shade
  • to the trailhead for the Hidden Lake trail, which is a fairly flat natural surface
  • at the Hidden Lake/Ridge Loop sign, go left
  • then at the end of the Hidden Lake trail, we deked off to the left up the un-sign-posted trail, climbed some rocks, clambered over some other rocks to go around a tall natural rock structure (this is the hardest part of the hike for me)
  • went left
  • past a bench with a nice look-off
  • danced a bit at the old dance floor (this should really have an informative sign, but doesn’t; I might have mistaken it for a random paved area, but it’s actually the remains of an old dance floor that is all that remains of a resort that burned down in the 1940’s)
  • and passed the remains of an old building (and an old water tank was off to our left as well but I forget if it was before or after the dance floor)
  • looped back to the Hidden Lake trail
  • at the trailhead, went left to complete the Bluebird trail
  • back to the parking lot.

Pretty much all of the elevation changes are in the back loop section, though there’s a bit of a climb in the Bluebird trail up to the trailhead as well. There’s another map here.

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