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Get Out and About in Rutherford County

Rutherford County makes it easy to enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle.

By Cary Estes on June 23, 2020

Rutherford Co. TN
Murfreesboro / Smyrna Golf Course

Getting into the great outdoors is so easy to do.

In Rutherford County, you actually don’t have to venture very far for recreation options. After all, there is a 430-acre park with 13 campsites inside the city limits of Murfreesboro – Barfield Crescent Park. That’s right, a campground within a city park.

In addition, there are extensive greenway systems in Murfreesboro and Smyrna, easy access to nearby lakes and mountains, more golf courses than you can shake a putter at, and a river and reservoir that cut through the heart of it all.

Rutherford County’s Recreation is Fun for All

“There’s just such a variety of outdoor activity, and it’s all very accessible,†says Monty Waldron, a 20-year resident of Rutherford County. “You have a major river, hills all around, and within 30 minutes, you can be out on the lake or in the mountains. It’s amazing that all of this is so close.”

For the residents of Murfreesboro, it doesn’t get much closer than Barfield, located in the southern part of the city. Along with the camping options, Barfield has more than 7 miles of paved and unpaved trails, a baseball/ softball complex, an 18-hole disc golf course, two playgrounds, a grass volleyball court, and the Wilderness Station nature center and outdoor store.

“Barfield is one of the jewels of Rutherford County,†says Sarah Lovett, president of the Murfreesboro Bike Club. “It’s a gorgeous park that is easy to get to from all parts of the county.”

Rutherford Co. TN
Murfreesboro / Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department

Other parks that offer similarly easy access include the 360-acre Sharp Springs Natural Area in Smyrna and the 55-acre Veterans Memorial Park in La Vergne. There also is a mixture of paved and dirt trails within the 570-acre Stones River National Battlefield.

“The parks all around Rutherford County are really well-maintained,†Waldron says. “You can tell that a lot of time and effort is put into making these places look so beautiful for people to enjoy.”

Rutherford Co. TN
Murfreesboro / Jeff Adkins

A Lengthy To-Do List

In terms of specific outdoor activities, there is some “ing†for everyone in Rutherford County, be it hiking, biking, boating, fishing or golfing.

One of the most popular activities is walking and biking on the greenway systems. The one in Murfreesboro runs alongside the Stones River, providing picturesque views as well as access points for kayaking and canoeing.

“I love how the greenway is becoming such an integral part of the community,†Waldron says. “You can hop on a bike or walk for a mile and be at a restaurant or a park or get on the river. That kind of connection is what really makes for a good community.”

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Boaters, canoers, anglers, swimmers and campers can enjoy J. Percy Priest Lake and its 265 miles of shoreline. The lake brims with bass and other fish, and the view from a boat at sunset is spectacular.

Golfers in Rutherford County can choose from a number of different courses, including Cedar Crest in Murfreesboro, Champions Run in Rockvale, Indian Hills in Murfreesboro, Old Fort in Murfreesboro, the city-owned Smyrna Golf Course and Stones River Country Club in Murfreesboro.

Rutherford Co. TN
Murfreesboro / Smyrna Golf Course

Meanwhile, cyclists have a wide array of opportunities in Rutherford County. Those who enjoy a more relaxing ride can easily find it along the flat terrain in and around Murfreesboro. More challenging hills are just a few miles away, and it takes only a short drive to find quality mountain biking trails in the area.

The Murfreesboro Bike Club leads several rides each week from April through November. There are rides for all levels of cyclists.

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“One of the great things about Rutherford County is that no matter what you like to do outside, you can find a group of people to do it with,†Lovett says. “I’ve been here since 1982 and raised four children. It’s pretty easy to find people in this community who want to get outside and do stuff.”

If you’d like to learn more about the Rutherford County area, check out the latest issue of Livability: Rutherford County, Tennessee. 

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