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Fall Creek Falls State Park

Birding Seasons:
Spring A
Summer B
Fall A
Winter B

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Site Description and Habitats

A paradise of more than 20,000 acres sprawled across the eastern top of the rugged Cumberland Plateau,Fall Creek Falls State Park is one of the most scenic and spectacular outdoor recreation areas in the United States. Laced with cascades, gorges, waterfalls, streams, and lush stands of virgin hardwood timber, the park beckons those who enjoy nature at her finest. While Fall Creek Falls, at 256 feet, is the highest waterfall in the eastern United States, other waterfalls in the park are Piney and Cane Creek Falls and Cane Creek Cascades.

The oak and hickory forest that covers most of the park gives way to tulip poplar and hemlock forest in the gorges. The plants and animals of the moist, protected gorges are not unlike the species found in southern Canada. Mountain laurel and rhododendron are abundant throughout the park, as are other plants and animals.

Many of the features of the park can be viewed from overlooks, but the park also boasts extensive hiking trails offering a visitor the chance to explore the area more deeply. This park is considered a must see for any visitor to the region.

Bird species of interest

Spring and Fall Migration: Nearly all warblers, vireos, thrushes, and flycatchers can be found in migration, including Blackpoll (spring only), Tennessee, Nashville, Canada, Magnolia, Bay-breasted, Blackburnian, and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Philadelphia and Blue-headed Vireo, Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrush, Veery, and Least Flycatcher. Eastern Whip-poor-will can be common in the woods at dusk and night. Sandhill Cranes can be seen and heard flying over in November and throughout the winter.

Summer: Louisiana Waterthrush, Indigo Bunting, Prothonotary and Kentucky Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher, Osprey, Wood Duck, Eastern Wood-pewee, Chimney Swift, White-eyed and Red-eyed Vireo.

Sparrows including White-throated, White-crowned, Song, and Swamp can be found, Hermit Thrush, Winter Wren, and both kinglets. Sandhill Cranes may be seen or heard flying over.

Eastern Towhee, Wild Turkey, Barred Owl, Eastern Screech-Owl, Cooper's Hawk, Killdeer, Red-tailed Hawk, Cedar Waxwing, and Eastern Bluebird.

Rarities Seen at this Site: Red-necked Grebe, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Common Raven (super rare here)

Species via eBird Hotspot Explorer

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Detailed directions for birding Fall Creek Falls State Park
From Nashville: take I-40 East to exit 288 in Cookeville. Turn right onto 111 South. Park entrance is on the left on Highway 284 (40 miles from I-40 to the park).

From Atlanta: take I-75 North to Chattanooga, take I-24 toward Nashville, take Hwy 27 North toward Dayton and follow Highway 111 North to the park entrance on the right.

From Knoxville: take I-40 West to exit 322, Peavine Road, in Crossville. Take a left off the exit, onto Hwy 101 South. At the 4-way stop, go straight on Hwy 392, through the first traffic light (at hwy 127). Continue straight to the 2nd traffic light (Lantana Road, Hwy 101). Take a left turn onto Hwy 101 South, and travel approx. 30 minutes to a dead-end. Turn left (still on Hwy 101 South) and go approx. 4 miles to Hwy 30. Turn right on Hwy 30 West. Park entrance is approx. 5 miles on the left (at Hwy 284).

From the Lodge, walk the shoreline trail and scan the lake and bird along the woods. The lake never seems to have much in terms of waterfowl in winter, but various species show up from time to time.

Obtain a map from the Visitor's center at the lodge and explore the miles of trails. The woodlands can be great in spring and fall migration.

Lat-Long (GPS) coordinates
Lodge/Visitor's Center
: 35.65457, -85.36657

Fees and Hours
No fees are required to access these areas. Open year round, 24 hrs a day, with the gate to the falls being locked at dark.

There are restroom facilities, camping, cabins, and a resort lodge with restaurant.

Fall Creek Falls State Park
2009 Village Camp Road
Spencer, TN 38585

Info for other sites
Tennessee's Watchable Wildlife web site