You can get on the Natchez Trace at several locations and ride. The closest one to Franklin is just outside of Leiper's Fork, TN. Depending on where you are coming from, you can get on the Trace at Hwy 100 in the Belle Meade area, very close to the Loveless Cafe. You would go south on the Trace to Garrison Creek, where they have a trail head, trailer parking, restroom, etc. Or you can get on the Trace from Hwy 46 just outside of Leiper's Fork. You can ride from Garrison Creek all the way down to Hwy 50 (I think, we haven't ever made the whole route, just sections of it). Or you can get on the Trace from Hwy 7 and go up towards Nashville or south towards Hwy 50. The trail at Garrison Creek is a little confusing, the sign seems to be pointing in another direction from where you actually need to go. It loops back to your left and up a hill to a ridge top. It is very shady and breezy up there but fairly rocky in areas. We rode down to the first overlook/pull off after Garrison Creek, then turned around and went back because it was late in the day. There is a section where the trail goes UNDER the Trace in a concrete tunnel and our horses didn't want to go through it, so we just crossed over the road and picked up the trail on the other side. We have also ridden north from the Hwy 7 access. You have to cross the Trace several times and may be hard to find the trail if you don't go with someone who's been. Trail isn't too rocky in this area as I recall. You can also get on the Trace from Hwy 50 between Columbia and Centerville and go north towards Hwy 7. We have never ridden this section so can't say how the trail conditions are.
No problem at all. I personally prefer to go to Why Not (which is closing the first of October, darn it) or Many Cedars, usually, just because I like being as far out into the woods as I can get. The Trace is a good place to go for a day ride when you don't have a lot of time, but you can hear the occassional car or motorcycle going by. My friends and I are planning a ride to Timber Ridge over by Jamestown the 14th-17th of October if you would like to join us. They have 3 cabins, but we have reserved 2, so if you would like to go and want a cabin you better call quick! Their number is 931-879-7433. They do have campsites for tents or living quarter horse trailers.
Do be aware that you can be ticketed for crossing the Trace, or even getting too close to the Trace. Please be good stewards and stay on the trail so that we can all continue to enjoy the trail-too many trails are closing to horses because of the misconception that horses cause damage-which they can if ridden off trail, especially if you ride after a rain Thanks!