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.
Foster Falls Recreation Area
Experience and enjoy one of the most scenic, wildest areas in Tennessee with a visit to the Foster Falls Recreation Area. Operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority and located near Tracy City, Tennessee, this recreation area provides a safe, and beautiful base for exploring the south end of the Cumberland Plateau. ...more
Foster Falls Small Wild Area
Enjoy one of the most scenic, wild areas in Tennessee with a visit to the Foster Falls Small Wild Area. Operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority and located near Tracy City, Tennessee, this recreation area provides a safe and beautiful base for exploring the south end of the Cumberland Plateau. ...more
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America's most visited national park. ...more
Harpeth River Blueway
As a joint endeavor between the Harpeth River Watershed Association (HRWA) and the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association (TSRA), the vision of the Project is to promote recreational opportunities, safety and the preservation of natural and cultural features along the Harpeth River through the provision of canoe/kayak access sites and accompanying signage. The Harpeth River, 125 miles long with over 1000 miles of tributaries, meanders through agricultural, forested and suburban areas of six counties in the greater Nashville region until it joins the Cumberland River. ...more
To the west of the Appalachian Plateau lies the Highland Rim, an elevated plain with steep slopes, surrounding the Central Basin, or Nashville Basin. The Nashville Basin is characterized by rich, fertile farm country. ...more
Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park
Conceived as a long-distance hiking trail, the 300-mile Cumberland Trail, the only linear park in the state, from the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park on the Tennessee-Virginia-Kentucky border to the Signal Point near Chattanooga. The trail now is a resource for many types of recreational activities. ...more
Lucius Burch Natural Area
The natural area is a remnant of historic river meanders, bald cypress-water tupelo swamps, bottomland hardwood forests, and open river channel habitat. Unfortunately, much of this ecosystem has been significantly altered as a result of change in hydrology and the invasion of common privet, an invasive exotic pest plant. ...more
Mississippi River Corridor - Tennessee, Inc.
<p>The mission of the Mississippi River Corridor - Tennessee, a 501 (C)(3) non-profit organization, is to identify, conserve and interpret the region's natural, cultural and scenic resources to improve the quality of life and prosperity in West Tennessee. We provide managed access and national marketing for the Great River Road National Scenic Byway in Tennessee. ...more
This scenic waterfall, managed by the Tennessee State Parks System, offers an array of hiking and naturalist activities. Ozone Falls is a 43-acre natural area in Cumberland County. ...more
Savage Gulf State Natural Area
Savage Gulf, a 15,590-acre natural area, is carved into the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau in Grundy and Sequatchie Counties. The sheer sandstone cliffs and canyons make it one of Tennessee's most rugged and scenic areas. ...more
Sequatchie Cave State Natural Area
Sequatchie Cave is a 10-acre, biologically significant, natural area where Owen Spring Branch flows from the mouth of the cave at Sequatchie Cave Park in Marion County. The cave and its cold spring water support three federally and state listed species, three species of state concern, and many other aquatic and cave species. ...more