Location: Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, At Tennessee NWR, N of Big Sandy
Driving directions: Chickasaw Nature Trail is located in the Big Sandy Unit of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge. From Paris, TN, take HWY 69A toward Big Sandy, TN for approximately 13 miles. From Big Sandy, TN, follow the signs for 147-East/Ferry to access Lick Creek Rd. Stay left on Lick Creek Rd when it splits from 147-East. Follow Lick Creek Rd. for approximately 10 miles until reaching the Big Sandy Unit of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge sign and make a left to enter the refuge. Follow this main refuge road for approximately 2.5 miles and take the first left onto Lashlee Springs Rd. to reach the trailhead.
The loop trail is fully restored in 2008 with new benches, bridges and all new rock. The trail is fully interpreted and winds through many types of habitats focusing on a variety of wildlife viewing opportunities. The hiker will also have a brush with the past as the trail goes through an old gristmill and homestead site. Close by the trail is Bennett's Creek Observation deck with excellent winter views of bald eagles and waterfowl, Pace Point - one of the top ten birding spots in the state, and Mt. Zion Church - a historic 1850's era church.
Primary Surface: Crushed Rock
Secondary Surface: Crushed Rock
Maximum Grade: 14%
Elevation Low Point: 237
Elevation High Point: 434
Elevation Gain (cumulative): 187 feet
Year Designated: 1981
Supporting Webpages and DocumentsWebsite: Refuge website
Website: Trail maps
Website: Volunteer opportunities
For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.
Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge
1371 Wildlife Drive
Springville, TN 38256
NRT Ambassador Review
Chickasaw Nature Trail is located within the Big Sandy Unit of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge on a peninsula that juts into Kentucky Lake. At the refuge entrance, you can pick up the “Back to the Old 23rd Auto Tour” brochure that guides visitors on a driving tour of the community that thrived here before acquisition of the land in the 1940s during construction of Kentucky Dam, using pictures of homesteads and other structures that once stood here. Stop #10 is the Chickasaw Nature Trail with a parking lot provided for access to the trail. It is an easy loop trail (1.5 miles round trip) that winds through a reforested portion of an old home site and gristmill with interpretive signage . There is a wildlife observation deck and other scenic and historic points close by. Another stop on the driving tour includes an historic church and cemetery, which is the only structure remaining in the area. This unit is in a less visited portion of the refuge, so it’s nicely quiet and secluded and worth taking a day trip to explore further. As the area is a national wildlife refuge to provide protected habitat for waterfowl and other animals, there are special visitor guidelines in place to avoid disturbing wildlife. The area is only open during daylight hours and the trail may be closed during specific hunting seasons. It is recommended to contact the visitor center before heading out on the trail to plan ahead and prepare for your visit.
September 18, 2019
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