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Percy Priest Dam and Stones River Greenway

Birding Seasons:
Spring A
Summer B
Fall A+
Winter A

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Site Description and Habitats

The Stones River Greenway access area provides views below the dam and the Cumberland River, while the greenway proper is a 10 foot wide paved trail that travels over 10 miles and connects to other parks in the Nashville area. The greenway winds along the Stones River and through mixed riparian woodlands with scattered fields and early successional habitats. Some parts of the trail are on high ground, while some splits in the trail travel into the floodplain.

Be sure to visit the adjacent Percy Priest Dam overlook.

Bird species of interest

Spring and Fall Migration: Warblers, vireos and thrushes can be common, flycatchers of all regularly occurring species may occur in the right habitat. Bobolink and Dickcissel have been found in the big grassy field along the road down to the parking lot below the dam.

Summer: Prothonotary Warbler, Black-crowned Night-heron, Blue Grosbeak, Dickcissel and Eastern Meadowlark likely nest in the big field along the road to the parking lot.

Winter: Great Blue Herons, Swamp, Song and Savannah Sparrows are common by the dam and along the trail. Eastern Towhees can be abundant in the old fields and edges. Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Brown Creepers are often found in the mature trees along the greenway. Ring-billed Gulls are common in winter before the dam. Ring-billed and Bonaparte's Gulls can be found at the dam in winter.

Year-Round: Black-crowned Night-heron, Bald Eagle

Species list via eBird Hotspot Explorer

Submit your data to eBird here

Detailed directions for birding Stones River Greenway
From the east of the lake, take Exit 221 and head south on Old Hickory Blvd. At the first major intersection at a light (you can't really go straight here), make a right onto Bell Rd. Travel on Bell Rd for about 1.25 miles to the dam overlook on your left. Greenway and west side parking lot is on the far side of the dam.

Start birding at the dam, scan the dam proper for Black-crowned Night-herons and Great Blue Herons that may be hanging out. If the water is low and there are few fisherman, shorebirds could be present on the sand bar below the dam. Ring-billed Gulls can be abundant here during winter. Walk the trail that goes under the interstate and explore the woods, fields, and side trails to various small wetlands and the river proper.

Lat-Long (GPS) coordinates
Stones River Greenway trailhead: 36.158658, -86.620955

Fees and Hours
No fees are required to access this area. The area is accessible during daylight hours.

There are no facilities, but a port-o-john is usually available if desperate.


Info for other sites
Tennessee’s Watchable Wildlife web site