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TENNESSEE WILDLIFE VIEWING TRAIL » Middle Tennessee
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Percy Priest Lake, Hamilton Creek 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 3.6 miles to the entrance to Hamilton Creek Rec Area on your left.

From I-24 south of Nashville, take exit 59, Bell Rd, and travel east for 3.9 miles to the intersection with Smith Springs Rd. Travel 1.3 miles past Smith's Springs Rd to the entrance of Hamilton Creek Rec Area on your right.

There are 3 lake access areas for wildlife viewing, including a public boat ramp, marina, and model boat / mountain bike trail.
Lat-Long: 36.107161, -86.629736, entrance to the park
Lat-Long: 36.111703, -86.62454, boat marina
Lat-Long: 36.110386, -86.617695, public boat ramp
Lat-Long: 36.104708, -86.62427, BMX park lake access area
Hours: day light hours
Seasonality: year round, but best fall through spring.
Fees: none

Site Description: Mature hardwoods and cedars dominate the uplands, while several lake viewing points are the main attraction to Hamilton Creek Rec. Area. The main part of Percy Priest Lake can be viewed from the public boat ramp, while the other access areas provide different views of the lake.


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 from the lake viewing areas with the boat ramps tending to be most productive.

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. Surf Scoter are rare, but likely occur annually.

Merlin are occasionally seen along the lake edge in winter.

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.