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TENNESSEE WILDLIFE VIEWING TRAIL » East Tennessee
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Franklin State Forest

Site Directions: Take Hwy 41 to Hwy 156 (between Sewanee and Monteagle), also known as South Pittsburg Mountain Road. Turn south onto Hwy 156 and follow to signs for Franklin State Forest on the left.
Lat: 35.10531°N Long: -85.87299°W
Hours: Daylight hours
Seasonality: year round
Fees: none

Site Description: Franklin State Forest was acquired in 1936 from the Cross Creek Coal Company and was highly degraded. Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division assumed management of the area in 1940 and has since done a wonderful job of restoration. The Forest is on the Cumberland Plateau and located in south-central Tennessee, in Marion and Franklin Counties. The forest is 35-40 miles west of Chattanooga. About 99% of the land is forested and about 96% of the land is in mature hardwood. Only about 3% of the forest is pine. The area has a history of timber abuse by diameter-limit cuts and uncontrolled wildfires. Current silvicultural prescriptions are geared towards timber stand improvement and management of wildlife habitat, so the area is sure to provide some opportunities to see some of the native wildlife of the region. The forest has been traditionally used for hunting. There are also excellent spots for picnicking, primitive camping and approximately 20 miles of marked trails for hiking. Other recreational uses include horseback riding, and mountain biking.

The site features restrooms, parking and a campground. Both Monteagle and Sewanee are nearby and offer amenities.

Wildlife to Watch: Game species are common. General woodland birding is good year round.

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


For more information:

Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau Nature Trail

Department of Agriculture web page for Franklin State Forest


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.