Franklin, TN Sports and Recreation Overview

Williamson County offers many parks and other facilities for leisure

By Chris Russell on May 2, 2014 at 6:00 am EST
Natchez Trace Parkway in Williamson County, TN

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeffrey S. Otto

Williamson County is a hub of activity, but also home to many scenic refuges of peace and quiet. Set against the backdrop of the Tennessee hills, its many parks are perfect for hiking, picnicking or just enjoying the outdoors. There are also several indoor sports facilities for year-round enjoyment.

City and County Parks Systems

Between the county and city parks systems, Williamson County residents are nothing less than spoiled by choice when it comes to excellent and plentiful public parks. The City of Franklin oversees 16 parks comprising 700 acres of parkland.

The City of Brentwood oversees approximately a dozen parks, greenways and facilities total, which cover more than 860 acres.

Williamson County Parks and Recreation oversees 34 parks and parks facilities throughout the county, ranging from complexes designed to support hugely popular adult and youth baseball, softball and soccer leagues, to indoor recreation and community centers.

Preserved Natural Parks

Bowie Nature Park in Fairview covers 700 acres interspersed with 17 miles of walking trails. The park also has a modern nature center, as well as an outdoor classroom to teach students about the area’s natural resources. Children will especially enjoy the Treehouse Playground, while visitors of all ages will appreciate the opportunity to bike, hike, ride horses and picnic.

Deerwood Arboretum & Nature Center in Brentwood features 27 acres of native beauty and almost 70 different species of trees. Those who love an active lifestyle can visit the bikeway and jogging trails, and nature enthusiasts of all kinds will appreciate the wildflower meadow and amphitheater at this state-certified arboretum.

Brentwood’s Owl's Hill Nature Sanctuary is dedicated to preserving its 160 acres. The trails remain unpaved, and the sanctuary can be accessed by reservation only. The sanctuary hosts many events, including workshops, private tours and family programs, such as the popular Fairyland program for children.

Marcella Vivrette Smith Park in Brentwood, the city's newest and largest park, encompasses 400 acres of hiking trails and wildlife habitats. The park also includes the historic Ravenswood Mansion, built in 1925 by early Brentwood settlers James Hazard Wilson II and his wife, Emeline. Plans are in development to add multipurpose athletic fields and make the park even more accessible.

In other recent news, The Park at Harlinsdale Farm, which is considered the birthplace of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, will be the site of a $1.1 million equestrian arena in 2015 thanks to the fundraising efforts of local nonprofit, Friends of Franklin Parks.

Natchez Trace Parkway, a national park for almost 75 years, spans 444 miles from Nashville to Natchez, Miss. Those looking for a scenic drive will not be disappointed in the parkway’s natural beauty. Pioneers and presidents alike have traveled the route, as do today’s outdoor enthusiasts, who enjoy biking, camping and hiking in the park.

Dog Parks

Maggie's Bark Park became the first off-leash dog park in Tennessee in 2001. Located behind the Williamson County Animal Control & Adoption Facility, the park offers two fenced areas, a pup-friendly pool, gazebo and quarter-mile walking trail. The park caters to all types of dogs and offers agility equipment for older dogs, as well as Rascal’s Run Around, a play area for smaller dogs weighing 30 pounds or less.

The City of Franklin operates two dog parks, Freedom Run Dog Park at Liberty Park, which is a 1-acre park with separate sections for large and small dogs, and K-9 Korral Dog Park, which is located at The Park at Harlinsdale Farm.

The county's newest dog park, Nutro Dog Park, opened in Thompson's Station in late 2014, thanks to a $100,000 donation from Mars Petcare plus more than 900 hours of volunteer work by Mars Petcare employees.

Indoor Sports

In addition to two public state-of-the-art indoor soccer facilities, Williamson County residents have an excellent YMCA facilities plus plenty of private gyms and indoor sports complexes to help residents stay in shape and have fun. For example, A-Game has two ice rinks, 12 volleyball courts, six basketball courts and a fitness center; while The Crag at Cool Springs offers indoor rock climbing for beginners to experienced climbers.

Discover more recreation opportunities in Franklin, Tenn.

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