Not many rivers offer such a long stretch of boating and floating opportunities. Paddlers can choose from a variety of short and longer trips varying from 90 minutes to 8 hours. Whether you want a slow, relaxing paddle or a action-packed vigorous white-water challenge, the Harpeth offers ample opportunities for paddlers of all levels of competency.
Floating up- or downstream with only the sound of birds and rippling water to break the silence is an unforgettable experience. As one of the freshwater rivers in the southeast that is host to the most diverse aquatic wildlife in the world, you will spot beautiful species all around.
This is where the great blue heron and king fisher feed and breed. The shores abound with deer, wild turkey, geese, ducks and other waterfowl. Bring your binoculars and spend a quiet, relaxing afternoon paddling among tree-lined river banks where the bald eagle nests high above in the cypress trees.
Another popular option is guided excursions and day trips, that include paddling instruction by American Canoe Association certified guides. These guided group trips also include kayak rental, all the necessary gear as well as a convenient shuttle service back to your vehicle. Customized trips for up to 20 people can be arranged.
There are various launch and access points for boats and kayaks along the river. You can bring your own kayaks or rent some from local commercial outfitters who also offer guided day trips and group excursions of varying duration along the river. Some companies also provide kayak lessons to paddlers of all levels.
Nothing beats a day of kayaking for outdoor exercise in sublime surroundings. It is a wonderful way to meet like-minded people and enjoy family time in pristine nature. If you are new to the area, the guided excursions and day trips for groups of up to twenty people are a good option to get to know the area. These trips are all-inclusive and even offer paddling instruction by certified guides.
The Harpeth offers something for everyone. From a kayak, you get an unsurpassed close-up view of the majestic cliffs and waterfalls. You can paddle past heritage sites such as the Indian burial mounds that date back as far as 700 - 1,300 AD. Or paddle to the tunnel at the Narrows of the Harpeth where Montgomery Bell allegedly used slave labor and explosives to blast a tunnel through 100 yards of rock to gain access to the 14-foot waterfall for his iron forge. The beautiful pond at the foot of the waterfall that now marks the site of the old forge, is a wonderful spot for a family picnic.
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