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Parks and Recreation

About Your Visit to Shelby Bottoms Nature Center

Shelby Bottoms Nature Center by James Fullerton

Getting to the Nature Center

Shelby Bottoms Nature Center (and Shelby Bottoms Greenway Main Trailhead) is located at

1900 Davidson Street
Nashville, TN 37206

Public transportation routes

  • MTA bus route 4 - Shelby
  • MTA bus route 20 - Scott

Hours of Operation

  • Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday and Friday from 12 noon to 4 p.m.
  • Closed Sunday and Monday

Kids having fun at Shelby Bottoms

Shelby Bottoms Greenway

Open from dawn to dusk every day.

Shelby Park

Open from dawn to 11 p.m. every day.

Additional Information

  • Free admission
  • Free programs offered year-round
  • Pets allowed; must be on 6 foot or shorter leash
  • Collecting of plant, fungi, wildlife, or other natural or historic items is prohibited without permit from Metro Parks (contact Nature Center for permit information)
  • 15 MPH bike/pedestrian speed limit on greenway
  • Bike on paved trails only
  • 20 MPH vehicle speed limit on park roads
  • Motorized vehicles not permitted on Greenway trails
  • Camping not permitted in parks
  • No alcohol, drugs, or firearms allowed in parks at any time
  • No hunting or trapping permitted

Hiking and Trails

Hiking at Shelby Bottoms by James Fullerton

Shelby Bottoms offers:

  • 5.5 mile ADA accessible paved greenway trail
  • 2 primary trailheads with parking
    • Main Trailhead/Nature Center
    • Forrest Green Dr.
  • 4 paved pedestrian entrance trailheads connecting to main greenway trail
    • Fortland Dr.
    • Shadow Ln.
    • Cooper Creek (McGinnis/Moss Rose)
    • Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge (with trailhead parking at Wave Country across the river, and connecting to Stones River Greenway in Two Rivers Park)
  • 2.75 mile primitive trail (Cornelia Fort Trail)
  • 9 secondary primitive trails under a mile in length accessible from paved trails at various locations throughout the park

Trail Maps are always available at the Shelby Bottoms Nature Center. Contact us for more information.

Viewing Wildlife

Butterfly on flower by Katy Hea

Shelby Bottoms and Shelby Park are ideal sites to view many species of flora and fauna of middle Tennessee. With diverse populations of amphibians and birds, late winter through spring is a particularly active time. Warblers and many other Neotropical migratory birds may be seen or heard during this season of migration, especially in Shelby Park. In Shelby Bottoms, Upland Chorus Frogs begin calling as early as December and January, soon to be followed by Spring Peepers, Southern Leopard Frogs, Green and Cope’s Gray Treefrogs, Green Frogs and more.

Mammals are also abundant year-round in both parks, with White-tailed deer spotted regularly along with Groundhog, Beaver, Mink, Eastern cottontail, Red fox, Gray and Fox squirrels and much more.

Mallard drake by Kinley Winchester

If you aren’t sure what you saw, or maybe you are sure and want to tell someone about it, please stop in the Nature Center and ask to speak to a naturalist. We can often help you identify that animal or plant or make note of it in our records. We even keep a sightings notebook on the front desk for visitors to log nature observations.

To learn more about Tennessee’s wildlife, visit the Watchable Wildlife website.

Please remember that collecting, taking, hunting or harassing any wild animal within Shelby Park or Shelby Bottoms is strictly prohibited other than fish in Shelby Park’s Lake Sevier.

Important Bird Area

The Important Bird Areas Program, directed by BirdLife International and coordinated in the Americas by National Audubon Society, is a global effort to identify and conserve areas that are vital to birds and other biodiversity.

Important Bird Areas are key sites for conservation – small enough to be conserved in their entirety and often already part of a protected-area network. To qualify as an Important Bird Area, sites must satisfy at least one of the following criteria:

  • Species of conservation concern (e.g. threatened and endangered species)
  • Restricted-ranges species (species vulnerable because they are not widely distributed)
  • Species that are vulnerable because their populations are concentrated in one general habitat type or biome
  • Species, or groups of similar species (such as waterfowl or shorebirds), that are vulnerable because they occur at high densities due to their congregatory behavior

Egret at wildlife pond by James Fullerton

Audubon Tennessee Important Bird Areas

Learn about birding in Tennessee at the Tennessee Ornithological Society

The Nature Center often participates in wildlife research and citizen science projects. Contact us for more information or to get involved!


Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online. Thanks to a permitted member of the Middle Tennessee Geocachers Club, Shelby Park and Shelby Bottoms Greenway each have several hidden “treasures” within their boundaries!

Learn more about geocaching

View a map of geocaches in Shelby


Biking Shelby Bottoms by James Fullerton

Shelby Bottoms is a great place to ride a bike! With its scenic paved greenway trail, connection to the Stones River and Cumberland River Greenways, and flat topography, it provides a quality experience for riders of any experience level.

In addition, there is a Nashville B-Cycle station in our parking lot that allows users to rent a bicycle for a small fee via credit card.

Please remember that Shelby Bottoms Greenway is a multiple passive use greenway and bikers must share the trail with walkers, runners, skaters and wildlife. Please be respectful of others (including wildlife) and observe the speed limit of 15 MPH. Stay to the right, give an audible signal when passing pedestrians, and pass on the left. Bikes allowed on paved trails only.

Enjoy the ride!