Bicycle Ride Across the Highland Rim

September 18, 2017  |  Permalink

The 2017 ‘Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee’ began Saturday September 16 at Montgomery Bell State Park. This year’s route, on the first two days, is across the Western Highland Rim geologic province of Tennessee. The riders will travel south to David Crockett State Park through this hilly section of the state. Although mostly made up of limestone, these hills were protected from erosion by the resistant chert that is layered over the limestone. Streams in this area usually run clear over gravelly beds. The forested hills, valley farms, and picturesque streams will make this a beautiful ride.

For several miles the route follows the Natchez Trace Parkway. This road is managed by the National Park Service as a linear recreational facility. The Natchez Trace was an animal trail, Indian trade route, and pioneer highway. The road utilized the ridge tops as much as possible to avoid wet areas. Many historic sites are featured along the parkway, adding a lot of interest.

On Saturday the riders will start in the Harpeth River Watershed, cross into the Duck River Watershed and then the Buffalo River Watershed. These streams are some of the most biologically diverse in North America. The Duck River has been recognized by the Nature Conservancy for its diversity. At the end of the day the riders will cross Shoal Creek, where David Crockett built a mill in the 1820s and started his political career.

Sunday’s ride will cross the Highland Rim into the Great Western Valley of the Tennessee River, Pickwick Landing State Park marks the return of the big river to its namesake state. 

About the author

Randy Hedgepath

Tennessee State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath is a native of west Tennessee, where his family’s farm was just 15 miles from the Tennessee River. After graduating from UT Martin and working seasonally for several years for the National Park Service and Tennessee State Parks, he has spent the last 33 years with state parks. Randy worked as a ranger/naturalist at South Cumberland State Park on the Cumberland Plateau and at Radnor Lake Natural Area in Nashville until 2007 when he was given the opportunity to be the statewide naturalist for the state park system.