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TENNESSEE WILDLIFE VIEWING TRAIL » Middle Tennessee
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Percy Priest Lake, Anderson Road Recreation Area

Site Directions: From Nashville, take I-40 East to Exit 219 - Stewarts Ferry Pike. Take a right on Stewarts Ferry Pike (which actually turns into Bell Rd) and travel approximately 4.7 miles on Bell Road to Smith Springs Road (stop light). Turn left on Smith Springs Road and travel 1.1 miles to a four way stop at Anderson Rd. Turn left on Anderson Rd and travel 1.4 miles to a day use area on your left with a parking lot. This parking lot is the first left after the entrance to the campground and is open year round during daylight hours.

From I-24, take exit 59, Bell Rd, east 3.9 miles to the intersection with Smith Springs Rd. Turn right onto Smith Springs Rd and travel 1.1 miles to a four way stop at Anderson Rd. Turn left on Anderson Rd and travel 1.4 miles to a day use area on your left with a parking lot. This parking lot is the first left after the entrance to the campground and is open year round during daylight hours.

This parking lot provides access to a "fitness trail" that is a paved loop that travels around the recreation area and returns to just north of the parking lot. Directly past the parking lot to the fitness trail the entrance to the recreation day use area that is closed in winter.
Lat-Long: 36.107976, -86.60188, parking lot for the fitness trail
Hours: day light hours
Seasonality: year round, but best fall through spring.
Fees: In summer, the recreation area has a fee per car.

Site Description: The fitness trail provides many good views of the lake, travels through mixed hardwoods and cedar forest, and leads to a day use area that is closed to vehicles from fall through spring. The recreation area is only open to vehicles in summer and is often crowded, however the birding is best in the offseason which happens to be when it is closed to vehicles and few people use the area. We recommend parking at the trail head for the fitness trail and walking. The full loop takes 1 hour or more to walk and bird watch, so plan accordingly.

Wildlife to Watch: The lake attracts gulls, loons, grebes, and waterfowl in winter. The woods are often hopping with woodland birds. The best bird viewing is done from October through March by walking the fitness loop around to the day use area while scanning the lake.

In winter, a variety of waterbirds can be found including Horned Grebes, Red-breasted and Hooded Mergansers, Mallard, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, American Black Duck and Gadwall. Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, and Ring-billed, Bonaparte’s, and occasionally a Herring Gull are found as well. Common Loons and gulls roost for the evening in the middle of the lake off the northwest end of the recreation area. Lake viewing in the late afternoon can be good here, but is best at Cook Recreation Area.

Merlin are occasionally seen along the lake edge in winter.

Rare Birds: Eared Grebe (2010), Tundra Swan (Jan 2012)

For more information:

Army Corps of Engineers lake information

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.