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North Cumberland WMA

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

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Site Description and Habitats

Two major habitat types are found at the 146,000 acre North Cumberland WMA. Mature hardwood forests cover approximately 75% of the landscape, while timber harvest, strip mining, and gas well development have provided extensive clearing and early successional habitat.

The Sundquist Unit is approximately 70,000 acres and home to a diverse array of habitats and wildlife. It is the site of an Elk Reintroduction program. The best place to view elk within this region is at the Hatfield Knob Elk Viewing Tower. In addition to the elk, the trip is worth the time because it is also an ideal spot for birdwatching, wildflowers and butterflies. Be sure to look for early successional bird species along the road leading to the Elk Viewing Tower.

North Cumberland WMA supports the largest population and highest density of breeding Cerulean Warblers in the world. From mid-April through early June, they can be extremely common in mature forest. Golden-winged Warblers can be found in scrubby-shrubby habitats, and is one of the few places in the state where they can be found breeding in Tennessee.

Notes: During daylight hours in deer gun and muzzleloader seasons, all users outside of an enclosed vehicle or outside of camp must wear, on the upper portion of their body and head, a minimum of 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange, visible front and back. Visitors to the tower are reminded to remain quiet while viewing the elk to avoid startling the animals.

Bird species of interest

Spring and Fall Migration: Black-throated Green, Kentucky, Worm-eating, Yellow-throated, Palm, Magnolia, and Hooded Warblers, Cerulean Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler(breeding), Swainson's Thrush, among many other migrants.

Summer: Cerulean Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Willow Flycatcher, Blackburnian Warbler, Ovenbird, Blue-headed Vireo, Wood Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, occasional Veery, and Scarlet Tanager. Yellow-breasted Chat, Indigo Bunting and Prairie Warblerin recent clear cuts.

Winter: White-throated and Fox Sparrows are regular, Hermit Thrush, Winter Wren, Golden Eagle

Year-Round: Barred Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Towhee, Common Raven and Ruffed Grouse are rare but regular.

Species list via eBird Hotspot Explorer - Hatfield Knob

Species list via eBird Hotspot Explorer - Royal Blue Unit

Submit your data to eBird here

Other wildlife viewing opportunities
White-tailed deer and elk are local and common.

Detailed directions for birding Cumberland WMA
To Royal Blue Unit: Take I-75 to exit 141. Go west on Hwy. 63 approx. one mile. Turn left onto Titus Hollow road. Area approximately ½ mile and follow gravel roads around the WMA.

To Sundquist Unit at Hatfield Knob: Go north out of Lafollette on Highway 25W approximately seven miles to the top of the mountain. Turn left at the red gate located at the top of the mountain (just before the road starts to break over the mountain and go down the back side.) Proceed on the gravel road approximately 3.1 miles to a fork in the road. Take the right fork approximately 1.4 miles to the parking area. Park and walk up the hill to the observation area. All roads are open to vehicle traffic, and gated roads can be walked.

Lat-Long (GPS) coordinates
Titus Hollow Rd and Hwy 63: 36.38391 -84.25569
Hatfield Knob: 36.44899 -84.1227

Fees and Hours
Permit is required to be on the WMA. The areas are accessible during daylight hours year round. Check hunting guide as access is limited or not recommended during some hunts.

For tips for safely watching wildlife during hunting seasons and year round please refer to TWRA Hunting Guide about hunting seasons and public access dates.

There are no restroom facilities.

TWRA Region 4 Office
3030 Wildlife Way
Morristown, TN 37814
423-587-7037, 1-800-332-0900

Info for other sites
Tennessee Watchable Wildlife website