Where to Paddle Board in Middle Tennessee/Nashville: Hamilton Creek Park

Located off of Bell Road, this is by far the most popular access point for paddle boarders and kayakers on Percy Priest Lake. The Metro Nashville Park offers easy to access for paddling, sun bathing, lake swimmers and weekenders looking for a day on a grassy beach. The Nashville Paddle Company (currently closed due to Covid-19) operates from this location. This is a great location for the solo paddler as there are others on the water, particularly on the weekends and when Nashville Paddle is open.

The access is somewhat protected from heavy boat traffic which makes it great for all levels of paddler. Kids can stay in the area near the grass beach. 

New paddlers or those looking for a relaxing paddle can take a right and head for the end of this arm of the lake. There is a small cove that is a great place to drop anchor and relax. Continuing toward the end is an easy out and back for all levels and a good place to stalk Blue Herons. Do watch the water levels as the lake becomes very shallow toward the end. Dragging a fin on the rocky bottom is never good. There is some boat traffic.

Take a left out of the access point to go by the Hamilton Creek Boat Launch and Sail Boat Marina. This is a good paddle for novices or those wanting a short time on the water. Continuing on opens up more of Percy Priest with access to several islands, Elm Hill Recreation Area/Marina and a good view of the dam.  Boat traffic does become heavier past the boat launch and marina.  When paddling towards the islands, remember that boats have the right of way. When approaching a channel, treat it like a busy road: look both ways, wait for traffic, then go when totally clear giving you enough time to paddle across.

Heading straight out of the access area leads to the Anderson Road campground. Hugging the shoreline offers lots of opportunities for bird watching and spotting wildflowers. There is lighter boat traffic on this side as the Anderson Road Campground take up much of the shoreline. For a longer paddle, follow the shoreline around to the Anderson Road Beach and several islands.

    Parking: Large parking lot that fills on the weekends

    Bathrooms: When Nashville Paddle Co. is open

    Amenities: Picnic tables, grills, playground

    Boats: Varies, more boat traffic when heading left towards Elm Hill area, the dam and the islands

    Distance from car to the water: 100 yards or less.

    Single woman/solo paddler safety: Very safe, particularly on weekends and when Nashville Paddle Co. is open *

    Rentals: Nashville Paddle Company offers a variety of classes and rents paddle boards and kayaks

*beyond the inherent danger of paddling alone

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