I have to get out of this house.
So into the woods I go
I headed to the trail at Fontanel. Nashville has many trails so why did I choose this one?
Most important (to me) is it’s close to my house. It’s always been one of the quietest in Nashville due to its not being in a park. Unknownest to me, the best reason was gnomes!
Gnome land at the Fontanel Nashville
Finding this quiet trail
Located only 9 miles from downtown, it’s far enough to escape a lot of the noise. The Fontanel itself is a large log cabin once owned by Barbara Mandrell. The mansion along with the restaurant have been closed since June 2019. There are many ideas about what is going to become but for now there isn’t a lot going on.
You park next to the restaurant then walk across a bridge on a city greenway to eventually reach the trails. The greenway is largely in the open so it can be rather hot at mid day. But once you reach the trail, the trees shade you the whole way.
When facing away from the street, walk to the left. As you pass some large trees you start seeing the gnomes. There is a large Gnomeland set up between 2 trees. Once the pandemic started, a local kept herself busy creating this village. I’ve seen many children rather excited by all the spectacle offers.
After this you’ll cross Whites Creek which provides a great respite from the heat for dogs and humans a like. A recent visit provided a creek full of girls splashing and yelling. A cool treat in the muggy heat of July in Nashville.
Continue to the left up a hill and you’ll find the trailhead entrance. Unfortunately a mound of old dog poo bags greet you. There used to be a garbage can here but since there isn’t regular upkeep right now so it was removed. There is a dumpster behind the restaurant near the parking lot. Be sure to bag and take your dog poop with you.
The solitude within
Once inside the woods though, you discover the solitude you came for. I’ve hiked this trail many times through the years and never encountered more than 2 people on any given trip. Many bird songs waft through the woods but ,oddly, I’ve never encountered other animals while on the trail.
I mark the trail as 2.3 miles from my car and back. Online, I’ve seen it marked as 2.6. But I’ve gotten 2.3 at least twice. So expect less than 2.5 miles roundtrip that takes a little less than an hour.
Due to the lack of regular maintenance, prepare for the possibility of down trees. Most are passable with a few ducks and jumps but not all. If they’ve been down awhile, people may have forged trails around.
Since the trail is not well traveled, expect spider webs. I always keep my whomping stick for the purpose. My whomping stick/ hiking stick helps me in many ways! But that’s a story for a different day.
A zipline company operates along the trail so there are platforms and bridges. But I’ve never been there while they were busy. So I don’t know what precautions they take when people are flying among the trees.
Benches are available for you to take a break or enjoy the view. I can’t say that the view is amazing. It’s just some trees. This trail is for solitude not views.
The fun is looking for gnomes along the trail. These creatures are only about an inch tall so you have to look closely! There are at least 15 along the trail but I’ve only ever seen 3! Because my dog is on a mission to finish as quickly as possible. When we walk her on the road, she spends too much time stopping to sniff. So I’m always confused by her pulling non stop when on the trail.
Looking out for gnomes keeps the trail interested even after I’ve walked it many times before.
What a great way for me to get out of the house, feel peaceful and get my mind off the craziness that is America right now.
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