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TENNESSEE WILDLIFE VIEWING TRAIL » East Tennessee
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Piney Falls State Natural Area

Site Directions From Spring City take Hwy 68 North toward Crossville, or from Crossville travel south on Hwy 68. As you get to the crest of the Cumberland escarpment, you enter the unincorporated town of Grandview. Look for a sign for Piney Falls State Natural Area and turn onto Fire Tower Road (a.k.a., Hillary Road). The trailhead is on the right approximately one mile from Hwy 68 or one-fourth mile before you get to the fire tower, which is located at the end of the road.
Near trailhead - Lat: 35.72774°N Long: -84.85558°W
Hours: daylight hours
Seasonality: year round
Fees: none

Site Description Piney Falls is a 440-acre natural area located in Rhea County where Little Piney and Soak Creeks have carved deep gorges into the Cumberland Plateau. It is a pristine forestland featuring creeks, deep gorges, waterfalls and old growth forest. Piney Falls is also recognized by the U.S. Department of Interior as a National Natural Landmark. Piney Falls is especially significant because of its old growth forest. The tallest and most magnificent trees are the white pines that are found in the mixed mesophytic forest that occur on lower slopes in the gorge below Lower Piney Falls. These trees are nearly 40 inches in diameter and exceed 100 feet in height. The mixed mesophytic forest below the Upper Falls is not nearly as spectacular, as it lacks the giant white pines found in the gorge below Lower Piney Falls. However, large tulip poplar, hemlock, buckeye and basswood do grow below Upper Piney Falls. The upland rim above the falls is comprised of a typical plateau oak-pine forest. Spring visitors to the area will see an abundance of wildflowers that include several state-listed species. The old growth forest structure, diversity in species composition, and picturesque waterfalls provides both scenic value and ecological significance.

Wildlife to Watch: Woodland wildlife and nature watching is excellent. Spring visitors to the area will see an abundance of wildflowers that include the state listed dwarf milkwort, bloodroot, hepatica, crested iris, yellow wake robin, perfoliate bellwort, and spotted geranium. Migrant songbirds abound in spring and fall.

For more information:

State Natural Area web page

State Natural Area map

Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau Nature Trail


Submit your data to eBird and help us build a list of birds seen at this site


Be sure to check out our Safety Tips page for important information regarding viewing wildlife in these areas.