Middle Tennessee is home to some great Mountain Bike trails, in fact, I have an article dedicated to the best bike trails near Nashville.
While Tennessee is not known for its Mountain Biking scene, we definitely have a few trails to be proud of.
Coming in at the top in my list, is a Mountain bike trail system located in the humble town of Gallatin Tennessee.
If you’re looking for a fun time on an amazing trail system, and you’re not too far from Nashville, make sure you don’t miss out on the Lock 4 Mountain Bike Trails.
Where are the Lock 4 Mountain Bike Trails?
The Lock 4 trail system is located in Gallatin Tennessee, a town just 40 minutes north of Nashville.
Making things even better, the Mountain Bike trails are a part of sectioned off area right at the edge of the Cumberland River peninsula.
The official address for the Lock 4 Mountain Bike trail is 1598 Lock 4 Road, Gallatin, TN 37066, however, it is really easy to get to if you have a cellphone.
From Downtown Gallatin, hop onto W Broadway/Gallatin Pike/Nashville Pike. After roughly 2 miles, take a left onto Lock 4 road, right at the intersection next to Panera Bread. Even though you will pass through a stop sign, stay on this road for another 3 miles until you see the water tower and trailhead on the right. It is the gravel parking area just ahead of the turn off for Lock 4 Point Park.
Why You Should Go
Now I am a little bit biased, having Lock 4 as my local trail system, but I think there are plenty of reasons to make the trip.
Starting off, the Mountain Bike Trails at Lock 4 are some of the best in Middle TN.
They offer enough variety and excitement to satisfy riders from Beginner to Advanced.
There is 7+ miles of singletrack that beginners can take advantage of, which offer enough challenge and flow to improve your skills and endurance. The limited elevation change prevents any grueling climbs or descents, and the beautiful scenery is the perfect background for the ride.
Advanced riders will also love this trail, as its easy to maintain a solid flow with the right skill. In addition to several Advanced trail sections, the main trail is a great way to see how your endurance has paid off.
Master the jump line at the start and then tackle the technical sections scattered throughout. If you’re keen for the challenge, take on a few modest drops before the climb to the jump section.
Whether you’re new or advanced, or somewhere in between, there are great features for just about every rider.
Lock 4 is also the middle tn bike trail with the most wildlife I have seen. Since the area is protected, you will see large groups of deer throughout, in addition to the endless number of squirrels scurrying about. I have even seen a few turtles from time to time.
What to Expect
Firstly, please be aware that these trails are also open to hikers. Always make sure you are courteous to others and exercise appropriate trail etiquette.
Like I mentioned before, there is not too much in the way of elevation change. But that’s not to say its lacking in challenge.
The Mountain Bike trails at Lock 4 are some of the most diverse, with rock gardens, jump lines and flowy singletrack. There are even a few tough climbs scattered throughout, with rewarding descents there shortly after.
The main loop on the east side of the trail system is a fun loop for the scenery and practice, it also has one of the fastest sections in the park and two of the major climbs.
The west side of the trail system is closer to the lake, so it tends to hold more water than the east, but offers its own challenges when the conditions are right.
Navigating Lock 4 Mountain Bike Trails
Once you arrive at the trailhead, navigating the Mountain Bike trails is straight forward and easy.
Although there are several entrances to the Mountain Bike trail, there is one main parking area to the trailhead.
The trailhead has a bench for breaks and the Lock 4 Mountain Bike Trail Map.
Make sure you stop for a quick look at the map before proceeding.
Once you get started, the signage is easy to follow and available at all the intersections. These intersections come in handy of you are trying to break up the main loop, as they provide a shortcut to the parking area. You can utilize these offshoots to cut your trip short or to revisit your favorite sections.
What Do I Need to Ride at Lock 4?
Being relatively beginner friendly, you don’t really need anything too special to ride here.
A solid Hardtail would shine here.
Although there are a few jumps and drops, you can really maintain a good flow on a Hardtail. As well, a Hardtail gives you a good feel for the trail, with all the features and intricacies that make it unique.
A full suspension won’t go to waste here though, and it may be a needed upgrade from a Hardtail depending on how hard you want to go.
Like I mentioned before, Lock 4 is pretty easy on the body and on your bike, so you can get by with the bare minimum during your trip.
Since the trails are more natural and raw, make sure you bring an extra tube or two and a pump.
What Are the Trails Like?
The Mountain Bike trails at Lock 4 are varied and well-maintained.
They weave through a beautiful section of woods near the Cumberland River, with a few sections offering great views of the water and the surrounding neighborhoods.
The whole park is geared towards a more natural and raw experience, so you can expect plenty of rocks and roots.
The dirt is also hard and packed in most areas, with the exception of the lakeside west trail, where it holds more moisture.
Although some sections or multi-directional, the main loop is one continuous direction.
This makes for a well-planned ride, as the elevation changes promote flow and speed, with enough challenge to keep you engaged and focused.
The total package makes for one of the most repeatable rides in middle TN.
The whole trail system at Lock 4 is great, but there are definitely a few sections and features that stand out more than most.
For those considering the visit, here are a few notable features to pique your interest.
The Rolling Table – A short ride from the trailhead lies the only jump section of the park. Again, these jump trails are more natural and less flowy than some. Although they aren’t that long, you can easily loop through a few times for good measure.
Rabbit Run – Rabbit run is one of the first speed sections you will encounter. It is full of rocks and can get really sketchy depending on how hard you go. It is also just as fun to climb as it is to descend.
The ShoreLine Trail – This section of the trail system has some of the best views and one of the toughest switchbacks.
When are the Lock 4 Mountain Bike Trails Open?
The Mountain Bike trails at Lock 4 are open from sunup to sundown. While this changes during the Winter, as the days are shorter, you should be clear to ride until 5-7pm.