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TENNESSEE WILDLIFE VIEWING TRAIL » East Tennessee
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Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park

Site Directions: The Obed Wild and Scenic River Visitor Center is located at 208 North Maiden Street in downtown Wartburg, Tennessee.

From the East, take State Route 62 West, then veer to the right onto State Route 27. Make a left onto Kingston Street, and follow the brown Obed road signs to the Visitor Center on North Maiden Street.

From the West, take State Route 62 East, then make a right onto State Route 27 South. Make a right onto Kingston Street, and follow the brown Obed road signs to the Visitor Center on North Maiden Street.

From the North, follow State Route 27 South into Wartburg. Make a right onto Kingston Street, and follow the brown Obed road signs to the Visitor Center on North Maiden Street.

From the South, follow State Route 27 North into Wartburg. Make a left onto Kingston Street, then follow the brown Obed road signs to the Visitor Center on North Maiden Street.

Directions to Lilly Bluff Overlook: From Wartburg, travel north/west on Hwy 27 to Hwy 62 on the right. Turn right on Hwy 62 and follow to Ridge Road on the left. Turn Left on Ridge Road and follow. You will cross over the Obed River and then see signs for the Lilly Bluff Overlook. Follow the signs to the parking lot.
Headquarters in Wartburg - Lat-Long: 36.10597, -84.59765
Hours: daylight hours
Seasonality: year round
Fees: none

Site Description: The Obed River corridor extends from one mile downstream (east) of Highway 298 (Genesis Road) in the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area to the confluence with the Emory River; Clear Creek from the west Morgan County line to the confluence with the Obed River; Daddys Creek from the Morgan County line to the confluence with the Obed River; and the Emory River 1/4 mile upstream from the confluence with the Obed River to Nemo Bridge. The site is the only Federal scenic river in Tennessee. These waterways have cut narrow gorges creating bluffs some 500 feet high and narrow river beds. Represented are old growth trees, clear waters, and sharp elevation changes. Many large hemlocks and small steams are present.

The National Park has opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, camping and many hiking trails. We recommend visiting the park headquarters and visitor center in downtown Wartburg.

The pristine, non-dammed rivers attract whitewater boaters to some of the finest paddling (class I-IV rapids) in the United States. There are numerous waterfalls both in the streams and falling off the steep walls of the canyons. The steep ravines and gorges have kept a few areas from being logged, and, thus, there are several areas where old growth trees occur. One of these is near Nemo where the Cumberland Trail crosses the Emory River.

The rock walls that form the canyons in Clear Creek and the Obed River are very steep and beautiful. Rock climbers come from all over to these sties that are rated easy to very difficult. The Lilly area has a handicap accessible boardwalk that offers several scenic views of Clear Creek Canyon. It is also the site of a large unique sandstone bluff that contains several endangered plant species that grow no where else in the world.

The Lilly Bluff Overlook on the Obed Wild and Scenic River looks much the same today as it did when the first white settlers strolled its banks in the late 1700s. The Lily Bluff Overlook is just a short walk through the woods from the parking lot and boasts an excellent boardwalk to the edge of the bluffs overlooking the river.

Wildlife to Watch: The site affords an intense assemblage of neotropical species and one of the largest concentrations of Swainson's Warblers in rhododendron/hemlock habitat in Tennessee. The narrow forested gorges and bluffs created by the Obed River, Emory River, Clear Creek, and Daddy's Creek create a distinctive habitat type for important species assemblages. In all, 87 species nest of which 42 species (48.3%) are Neotropical migrants. The assemblage of Acadian Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Wood Thrush, fifteen species of warblers, and Scarlet Tanager in significant numbers is testament to the viability of this distinctive habitat type. Of the 15 species of breeding warblers on point counts in the period 1998-2003, the eight most numerous were--Hooded Warbler, Ovenbird, Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Prairie Warbler, and Louisiana Waterthrush.

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


For more information:

Tennessee Ornithological Society - Audubon Important Bird Area web page

Checklist of birds for the Obed Park

National 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.