A land 500 million years in the making, Tennessee is riddled with natural wonders, topographic enigmas and prehistoric mysteries.
Home to the third oldest river in the world, a fossil site dating back more than 5 million years and a mountain chain ten times older than the Rockies, Sierras and Andes, Tennessee's natural history is a story well worth a closer read.
From dinosaurs to ancient forests, prehistoric fossils to glacier-carved gorges, Tennessee is a land 500 million years in the making--and has quite the scrapbook to prove it. Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a World Heritage Site, where you can see the largest block of virgin red spruce remaining on earth. Or, dig below the soil at the Gray Fossil Site, where you can find remains of animals last seen on earth more than 5 million years ago. Walk the Appalachian Trail and feel, beneath your feet, mountains formed millions of years ago. And, explore the Cumberland Plateau, an area geologists believe was once covered with water.
Science books are no match for the fascinating story told through Tennessee's colorful natural wonders. Start exploring. You won't believe the mysteries that unfold.
Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge
Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge lies in the Lower Mississippi River floodplain along the Chickasaw Bluff in western Tennessee. Chickasaw NWR currently encompasses 25,006 acres and includes the largest block of bottomland hardwood forest in Tennessee. ...more
A wonderful river to fly fish, bring a stealthy approach, delicate presentation and small flies to the Clinch River, one of America’s premier trout streams. The Clinch tailwaters flow 13 miles from Norris Dam, at River Mile 80, to Highway 61 Bridge in Clinton, Tennessee, at River Mile 67 and can be accessed at several locations. ...more
At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is Great Smoky Mountains National Park's highest point. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the second highest point east of the Mississippi. ...more
Colditz Cove State Natural Area
Colditz Cove is one of Tennessee's newest natural areas. It is characterized by high bluffs, rugged gorges, lush rhododendron, large trees and a beautiful waterfall. ...more
Coon Creek Formation
Located near the Leapwood community in northeast McNairy County, Coon Creek is known internationally to geologists and paleontologists for its exceptionally rich Cretaceous fossil beds. Located at the eastern edge of the Coastal Plain of West Tennessee, the area was covered by the sea's Mississippi Embayment in the Late Cretaceous Period (140 million to 68 million years ago) and much of the Tertiary Period (68 million to 2. ...more
Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail
One of the nation's most historic routes, the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail was blazed by the legendary frontiersman in 1775 from Long Island of the Holston at what is now Kingsport, TN, through the Cumberland Gap of Virginia and into Kentucky. It would become the route for hundreds of thousands of settlers of the western frontier. ...more
Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park
Davy Crockett's Birthplace State Park was established in 1973 and has been preserved as a historic site on land acquired from the Davy Crockett Birthplace Association. The park consists of 105 partially wooded acres of land along the Nolichucky River in Greene County. ...more
East Tennessee Crossing Scenic Byway
This rich stretch of Tennessee landscape follows the original path of the Cherokee Warriors Path, the Wilderness Road across the Clinch Mountain and the Cumberland Gap, the Dixie Highway of the Civil War period and the legendary bootlegging corridor of Thunder Road. Staring out, Pinnacle Rock at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park provides visitors with a bird’s eye view of the Gap’s panoramic vistas. ...more