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TENNESSEE WILDLIFE VIEWING TRAIL » East Tennessee
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Hampton Creek Cove SNA

Site Directions:

At the town of Roan Mountain, turn onto TN 143, go 0.8 mile and turn left onto Old Hwy 143, proceed 0.3 mile and turn right onto Hampton Creek Road, go 3.3 miles to the parking lot / trailhead on the left.

From Roan Mountain State Park, turn on Sugar Hollow Road (just up from visitor center), then turn left onto Dark Hollow Road, and turn right on Hampton Creek Road to the parking lot.

Parking area - Lat: 36.1523°N Long: -82.0556°W
Hours: daylight hours
Seasonality: year round, although spring through fall is best
Fees: none

Site Description: Hampton Creek Cove contains a diverse array of habitats including 500 acres of mature hardwood and mixed mesophytic forests, 25 acres of grasslands in the form of hay fields, 100 acres of pastureland with a significant amount of early and mid successional scrub-shrub habitat, a small scrub-shrub wetland, and numerous scattered seeps. These seeps were once the source of drinking water here and are fairly common, often found on slopes. One such seep forms a small scrub and shrub bog. There are three miles of hiking trails.

Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area consists of hardwood forest, open areas, and transitional edges. The lower section is a working farm with pasture for cattle and horses and a hayfield. Parts of the site are managed specifically for nesting Golden-winged Warblers, with other species benefiting. The upper boundary of the property is contiguous to the Cherokee National Forest where the Appalachian Trail crosses on Little Hump Mountain and Hump Mountain.

Management on site is creating more early successional habitat for Golden-winged Warblers and other species requiring native grass and shrubs for nesting.

Wildlife to Watch: The large mosaic of vegetative communities found at Hampton Creek Cove supports at least 89 species of birds, of which 71 species breed or are potential breeders. Of these, 44 are neotropical species. Others migrate through the area or overwinter on the property.

This site is best known for a substantial population of nesting Golden-winged Warblers, which may be found in any of the early successional edges. Beginning at the parking area look and listen for Least and Willow Flycatchers, Yellow and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, Chipping Sparrow, and Gray Catbird. As you walk up the trail or the gravel roadbed White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Indigo Bunting should be encountered, while Black-billed Cuckoo and Alder Flycatcher are possible. Blue-winged Warblers have been seen at Hampton Creek Cove for a few years without evidence of a nesting pair. Brewster's Warbler (a hybrid) has occurred here sporadically for over 10 years. Woodland birds include American Redstart, Black-throated Blue and Hooded Warblers, Ovenbird, Wood Thrush, Veery (higher up the slope), and Scarlet Tanager. Broad-winged and Red-tailed Hawks nest in the vicinity. Wild Turkey and Ruffed Grouse occur regularly, as do Common Ravens.

The Left Prong of Hampton Creek, which flows through the site, is home to a restored population of Brook Trout.

For more information:

Tennessee Ornithological Society - Audubon Important Bird Area web page

Tennessee Ornithological Society - Seasonal Bird Checklist

Birds of Hampton Creek Cove SNA from eBird submissions



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

Information for this site page was generously contributed by Rick Knight.


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