Visit Montgomery Bell State Park for one last summer adventure


As July turns into August and the excitement of a new school year begins to make summer a memory, there are still several great warm weather events happening at Montgomery Bell State Park to enjoy before to go back to the books.

The park is a great getaway even for those not looking for special late summer activities. There are magnificent nature trails, a swimming pool, as well as a “beach” on the lake, mountain bike trails and boats for rent, including pedal boats. For those looking for a quick local getaway before the fall madness, there is a lodge, cabins and a campground.

As one reviewer put it, “I have many memories of Montgomery Bell State Park, and especially of a swimming area where my family often went when I was a kid. I was surprised to stop and realize the park is incredibly bigger than I originally thought. At over 3,700 acres, I must have only really seen 100 acres, and the same 100 acres over and over again as a kid. I was super excited to explore more… There’s still a ton to do,… so I’ll be back.

Originally the headquarters of Tennessee’s steel industry, the park is named after industrialist Montgomery Bell, known as “Tennessee’s first ironmaster.” He made cannonballs for the War of 1812 and farm implements, becoming the wealthiest man in the South before the Civil War. He began freeing his slaves long before war broke out, but was unable to free them all before his death in 1855. Remnants of the ironwork are still on site, as well as the church Cumberland Presbyterian which was founded on the property in 1810. first in a log cabin.

The park was originally part of a WPA program during the Great Depression, providing much needed jobs at that time. The area was given to the state as a park in 1943. Since then, many activities have been added to the park’s schedule throughout the year. Here are several events happening before Labor Day.

August 13
Harpeth River Canoe Float

Pre-register for this popular half-day, four-hour guided float on the Harpeth River. Park Rangers will share their knowledge of the park’s breathtaking natural environment and the area’s interesting history. It will be a three or four hour interpretive program.

Participants will meet at the Montgomery Bell State Park office at 9:00 a.m., then carpool to the Harpeth River. The park will provide canoes, life jackets, paddles, bottled water and light snacks. The fee is $20 per person. There will be two people per canoe. Be sure to wear clothes and shoes that can get wet. A change of clothes for after the canoe trip, a towel and lunch should also be brought in waterproof containers. Upper body strength is required as participants will need to help load and unload their canoe, and be able to paddle for several hours. Children under ten, personal boats or pets are not permitted. There are no refunds on float day. Space is limited.

August 20 and September 3
Golf Cart Safari

A great way to learn about the flora and fauna of the area, participants can see foxes, squirrels, raccoons, possums, deer, and a wide variety of birds and wildflowers. Ranger Eric will lead the golf cart tour of Montgomery Bell Golf Course. He will share some of the history of the park, point out some wild animals and talk about their lives in the wild. All of this takes place on the golf course from the convenience of a golf cart.

All ages are welcome. The cost for the event is $8.00 per person with a maximum capacity of two people in each golf cart. Registration is compulsory for the visit the day before departure. Registration can be done online, by calling the park office or at the park office in person. No pets are allowed on the tour.

When not in use for tours, the golf course offers wide fairways, few bunkers and virtually no water hazards. The staff even packs coolers filled with bottles of ice-cold water on hot summer days.

“The park is definitely the ‘Queen of State Parks,’ as listed on the website,” noted another reviewer.


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