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TENNESSEE WILDLIFE VIEWING TRAIL » East Tennessee
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Rock Island State Park

Site Directions: From junction of Hwy 56 and US 70S in McMinnville, travel east thirteen miles on US 70S. Turn left (south) onto Hwy 287 and follow signs into the state park.
Lat: 35.80676°N Long: -85.63549°W
Hours: 7:30am - 10pm
Seasonality: year round
Fees: none

Site Description: The scenic beauty and tranquility of this wooded park is dominated by the Great Falls of the Caney Fork River - an imposing limestone gorge (called a "gulf"). It provides scenic overlooks, waterfalls and deep pools for fishing, rock-hopping and exploring. Located at the confluence of the Collins and Caney Fork Rivers, this 883-acre park has a natural sand beach on Center Hill Reservoir. Historic features of the park include a 19th century textile mill and one of Tennessee's early hydroelectric plants. The park offers several marked hiking trails.

Wildlife to Watch: Rock Island State Park has one of the largest Black Vulture roosts in the state, with hundreds of individuals seen roosting on power poles. Yellow-crowned Night Herons are seen in summer along the gorge. Migrant warblers and other songbirds are common in spring and fall, with many species nesting in the area, including Indigo Bunting, Acadian Flycatcher, Scarlet Tanager, and Yellow-throated Warblers. In winter, sparrows abound grassy areas and Yellow-rumped Warblers and Brown Creeper can be found. White-tailed deer are common.

For more information:

State Park web page

Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau Nature Trail



Submit your data to eBird and help us build a 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.