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TENNESSEE WILDLIFE VIEWING TRAIL » West Tennessee
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Reelfoot WMA
Located about 5 miles NE of Tiptonville, TN and east of TN Highway 78, Lake County, TN
Site Directions: From Tiptonville, TN take TN Highway 78 north and northeast. Go about 3 miles. The Wildlife Management Area lies east of Highway 78 and may be accessed by several roads (Eagle Nest Road, Ernie Pierce Road, Choctaw-McCutcher Road) leading east from the Highway (look for signs).
Lat: 36.44052°N Long: -89.41579°W (entrance to the WMA on Ernie Pierce Rd)
Seasonality: year round
Fees: none

Site Description: The area contains a mix of habitats across its 24,000 acres. The more elevated lands contain cultivated fields and a mix of shrub and early successional forest habitats. Wetter and lower elevation areas contain bottomland hardwood and cypress swamp habitats. There are also freshwater sloughs, bayous, marshes and some lake habitat. There is a wetland area that is pumped with water for waterfowl in winter (and hunting access for handicapped hunters). At the end of the road is a small parking area with a trailhead. The trail traverses through the woods for upwards of a mile.

Site History: Reelfoot Lake was created by a series of earthquakes in the winter of 1811-12. Although the lake was up to 40 feet deep, excessive siltation from poor land use practices surrounding the lake has led to the lake being generally less than 20 ft deep.

Wildlife to Watch:
Site is a good location to observe waterfowl in the winter when up to 750,000 individuals may use the site at one time! Large numbers of Bald Eagles may be seen in winter, although several pairs nest around Reelfoot Lake. Woodland bird is generally good and many species may be seen along the hiking trail. Prothonotary Warblers are a common breeding bird, while migrant birds of most species occurring in Tennessee can be found here. Short-eared Owls are found in the vinicity in winter months. Reelfoot Lake is the only place where 7 species of water snakes can be found in Tennessee. Across all protected lands on and around Reelfoot, there have been 50 mammals and 70 species of amphibians and reptiles documented.

NOTE: Please refer to TWRA Hunting Guide about hunting seasons and public access dates. Access dates vary by site.

For more information:

Reelfoot Lake WMA map

Great River Birding Trail website

Tennessee Ornithological Society - Important Bird Area web page

Birds of Reelfoot WMA from eBird submissions


Submit your data to eBird and help us add to the list of birds seen at this site.


Be sure to check out our Safety Tips page for important information regarding viewing wildlife in these areas.