Run, walk, picnic, sail, kayak, cycle, play, hike, mountain bike, walk the dog — the possibilities at Shelby Farms Park are nearly endless!
With over 4,500 acres of green space and more to do than you could imagine, Shelby Farms Park is a true treasure. It is the perfect place to head out to exercise or to just kick back and relax with your friends and family. In the midst of our busy city, this one-of-a-kind urban park is an oasis just calling us to get away from the hustle and bustle and escape in its breathtaking green expanse.
Shelby Farms Park has recently had a makeover. In the fall of last year, the renovations and enhancements to “Heart of the Park” were completed, turning what was already a beloved park into a stellar community attraction. Heart of the Park was a visionary reimagining of Shelby Farms Park’s largest lake, recently renamed as Hyde Lake. What was once a well-loved but ecologically dysfunctional body of water in the center of The Park is now a vibrant and diverse community hub and a gathering place for all Memphians.
“We started with a big idea, engaged the public to build a collective vision and commitment and worked hard to deliver an incredible, world-class public space for the people of Memphis and Shelby County,” says Executive Director of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, Jen Andrews. “Shelby Farms Park has long been one of the city’s most loved open spaces. The Park is enjoyed by millions of people a year. The addition of the amenities and activities, Heart of the Park allows visitors to interact with the environment and one another in countless new ways.”
It’s like a 4,500-acre choose-your-own-outdoor-adventure paradise! With spring in the air, now is the perfect time to head to this community treasure.
What to Do at Shelby Farms Park
Shelby Farms Park is a cycling paradise! Whether you’re a novice or an experienced biker, there is a trail for you.
Don’t have your own bike? You can still enjoy the trails at Shelby Farms Park. The Park has two options for renting some wheels. The Hyde Lake Wheel House at 6903 Great View Drive North and the Greenline Wheel House at 6489 Mullins Station Road both have mountain bikes, hybrids, cruisers, trailers and even tandem bikes available for rent by the hour.
Shelby Farms Park offers over 20 miles of paved trails for cyclists. The Greenline connects the city with The Park. This paved urban trail — which now reaches across the city from Tillman Street at Walnut Grove Road in Midtown to B Street in old Cordova — is over 10 miles in length. Jump on at one of the many access points and roll straight into The Park.
Within The Park, Hyde Lake now has its own 2.45-mile paved bike trail just for cyclists. The 2.75-mile Chickasaw Trail, the 4.1-mile South Trail and the 3.6-mile Connector Trail are three additional paved options for cyclists that meander through park grounds.
The 5.79-mile Tour de Wolf is a popular trail for mountain bikers. This loop travels through the northeast portion of The Park and is currently under renovation thanks to a grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. This sustainably built trail brings you to hidden lakes and wildlife viewing areas.
Feel like more off-roading? The Wolf River Trails (Yellow, White, and Blue trails) are located on the south side of Walnut Grove Road and wind through the Lucius Burch Jr. State Natural Area forest, parallel to the Wolf River.
The Park is home to Shelby County’s only BMX race track. Renovated in 2014, Shelby Farms BMX sits across the street from Hyde Lake on the southern end of Walnut Grove Road. With novice-, intermediate- and expert-level courses available, the track is perfect for every BMXer, from budding biker to die-hard dirt-shredder.
Bike repair stations
If your bike needs a little work while you’re on the trails, visit one of the free bike repair stations on the Greenline and in The Park. The four bike repair stations include all the tools you will need to keep rolling, including an air pump.
Shelby Farms Park features over 40 miles of trails for runners, walkers and hikers. The majority of the trails — such as the Greenline and the Tour de Wolf — are shared with cyclists. However, the 2.3-mile paved pedestrian trail at Hyde Lake is only for those on foot.
When out in the park, no need to carry a map. Instead download the Shelby Farms Park App, which will show you exactly where you are on a detailed map. Click the pins located at each trailhead to read more about what you’ll encounter along the trails.
The Park is home to many road races throughout the year. The Earth Day 5K happened this past weekend on April 9, the Greenline Half-Marathon is in November, and the Starry 4K is in December.
With over 20 different bodies of water, Shelby Farms Park is a water lover’s paradise! With lakes and ponds of all sizes, The Park offers tons of water activities, from canoeing to stand-up paddleboarding. If rods and reels are more your thing, there are plenty of places to wet a line in The Park too.
The new and improved Hyde Lake, formerly known as Patriot Lake, is teeming with water activities. Stop by Hyde Lake Boat House — located on the north side of Hyde Lake near the main entrance to The Park — to rent canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.
Want to launch your own kayak or boat? A boat launch ramp is located on the north edge of the lake in the Heart of the Park, just off Great View Drive North. Motorized watercraft are not permitted on Hyde Lake, but “people-powered” boats, such as kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, sailboats and other personal watercraft (14-feet or less) are encouraged.
Catfish, stripers, crappie, bream, large and small-mouthed bass are all found in the Shelby Farms Park waters. Fishing at Hyde Lake is currently only allowed by boat; fishing off the bank is available at the other lakes and ponds.
Scenic Pine Lake is located next to the Woodland Discovery Playground. This smaller lake is perfect for boating and fishing with the kids. The Pine Lake Boat House rents paddle boats, canoes and kayaks for those that want to head out on the water. Fishermen can set up along the banks or walk out onto the pier to fish deeper waters.
IN THE TREES
Want to see The Park from a new perspective? You can now zip, swing and climb through the treetops at Shelby Farms Park. Go Ape Treetop Adventure is a great outdoor adventure for families, friends and groups. “Our mission is to inspire everyone to live life adventurously. Go Ape is popular because it’s challenging and an exciting way to get outside and get active,” explains Suzanne Coblentz of Go Ape. The course is set within a gorgeous pine forest and borders Pine Lake. You will be equipped with harnesses, pulleys and carabiners and then let loose into the forest canopy, free to swing through the trees. There are over 40 crossings and obstacles, including rope ladders, net bridges, Tarzan swings and six zip lines. Reservations are required.
Explore the park on horseback! Shelby Farms Stables offers guided trail rides of various lengths. Little ones will love the 20-minute pony rides. If you are up for an adventure, participate in a one- or two-hour trail ride, for which reservations are required. Horseback riding lessons and summer equestrian camps are also available.
You can also BYOH, that is, “Bring Your Own Horse,” if you’d like! The horse trails are located on the south side of The Park off Mullins Station Road.
FOR THE KIDS
Woodland Discovery Playground
It’s not just about a swing set and monkey bars at Woodland Discovery Playground! This one-of-a-kind place to play and learn set a new standard for eco-friendly and educational “play-scapes” when it was built. Featuring six play “nests,” a winding steel arbor planted with flowering vines and willow trees, innovative play structures, an open grass lawn and a giant net-and-treehouse climbing structure, this internationally acclaimed playground is just plain fun for kids of all ages.
Water Play “Sprayground”
Bring a towel! The brand new 4,000-square-foot Water Play “Sprayground” will be your new favorite spot to cool off this summer. Little ones under the age of 10 will have a ball splashing around in this new “just for kids” playground that includes a water tunnel, multiple interactive spray jets, water pumps and geyser boulders. Visit Hyde Lake Boat House to purchase wristbands.
The Park closes at sunset, but you and your family can experience its splendor under the stars at one of the many special nighttime programs throughout the spring and summer. Sign up for an evening of stargazing with the Memphis Astronomical Society or camp out with the family at one of the Park + Pajamas Family Sleepovers. Advance registration required.
Summer camps at Shelby Farms Park connect our little ones to the great outdoors. With its upland lakes, swamps, walking paths and biking trails all peppered with wildlife like buffalo, barn owls and beaver, Shelby Farms Park encourages kids to connect with nature through exploration, inspiration, discovery and fun. Kids will also enjoy archery, fitness games and water recreation for the ultimate in outdoor summer fun! Camps are available for children in grades K-9.
FOR THE DOGS
With more than 100 acres of off-leash fun, Shelby Farms Park is a “paw-tastic” place for your four-legged friend. The Outback is an off-leash home to trails, lakes and ponds for your enjoyment. This area has a water fountain with a doggie bowl and a dog wash station so you can keep your pooch hydrated and clean him up after all the fun. Please remember that in all other areas of the Park and on the Greenline, dogs must be kept on a leash.
The Park loves dogs so much that they have created a festival just for man’s best friend. Dog-A-Roo Festival will be held on May 13, 2017, in The Outback Off-Leash Dog Park. This pup-friendly festival offers a wide range of activities for your furry friend, including talent and costume contests, rescue parades, the Four-legged 4K Fun Run, gourmet pet treats, pet specialist information sessions and more.
Get in touch with your creative side at The Park! Arts in the Park offers classes and workshops featuring a wide variety of mediums. On the schedule this spring: an environmental sketching class and a watercolor painting course.
And don’t miss out on The Park’s new “Concoct Class.” Grab your girlfriends and sign up to learn how to make a craft cocktail and an art project that matches that month’s cocktail theme! At the April 15 class, attendees will make sangria and stamped tea towels, and on May 20, attendees will whip up mint juleps and make a Derby hat. Advance registration required.
Free fitness classes
Shelby Farms offers free fitness classes all year long. Yoga, Tai Chi, Boot Camp, Meditation and Zumba are some of the many options. Get Outside! Fitness Programs are offered at all fitness levels and for all ages. Classes are held on weekdays and weekends. Advance registration is recommended.
The FedEx Event Center
The FedEx Event Center at Shelby Farms Park offers 7,000+ square feet of space for events of all styles and sizes. With extraordinary lakeside views plus a large lawn, patio space, covered porch and private garden, The FedEx Event Center is a spacious, airy, idyllic lakeside space, perfect for hosting a stunning soiree, gorgeous gala or wondrous wedding.
FOR YOUR TASTE BUDS
The Kitchen opened last August to much excitement and fanfare. A popular restaurant group from Colorado brought this American bistro to Memphis. And boy did they pick the perfect spot! Located adjacent to The FedEx Event Center on the banks of Hyde Lake, this casual dining spot offers farm-to-table fare with a breathtaking view. How does General Manager Ken Freeman describe the fare? “‘Tasty’ and ‘crave-able’ are the best compliments we hear from our guests! The Kitchen serves real food sourced from American farmers. It’s locally sourced whenever possible. Everything on the menu is simply prepared with as few ingredients as possible.” Our favorites on the lunch menu include the charred edamame to start, with either a Gulf shrimp salad or pan-fried Lake’s catfish for the main. On the dinner menu, the wild mushroom ravioli, seared scallops and the pork chop from Home Place Pastures are not to be overlooked. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Brunch is served on the weekends.
The Kitchenette is The Kitchen’s grab-and-go outpost in The First Tennessee Foundation Visitor Center. On the menu: salads, sandwiches, snacks, coffees, beverages and much more. If you need some quick nourishment after hanging out in The Park, this is the place to go. The sliced turkey sandwich, sliced turkey on wheat berry bread with cucumbers, sprouts, avocado spread and sunflower seeds, is spectacular. Or try the smoked chicken salad, hickory smoked chicken, roasted corn, black-eyed peas, red onion and cherry tomatoes on a bed of green leaf lettuce and crunchy kale with a side of homemade jalapeño ranch dressing. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Shelby Farms pavilions
Planning a picnic or an outdoor event? Shelby Farms Park’s pavilions and picnic areas provide a perfect setting for outdoor events of all sizes. Pavilions range in size from large enough for 100 guests to smaller pavilions, perfect for 25 to 30 guests. Picnic areas with picnic tables and grills are also available. Reservations recommended for the pavilions.
Head to Shelby Farms Park and explore the trails and waterways of this gorgeous Memphis treasure!
Shelby Farms Park and Greenline are open sunrise to sunset each day. For more information, visit shelbyfarmspark.org.
All images not credited appear courtesy of Rebecca Dailey of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy.
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