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Cove Lake State Park

Wildlife Viewing Area
Chuck Nicholson

Cove Lake is a lake that is rapidly filling with silt, but this filling process has created one of the largest freshwater marsh systems in east Tennessee. Nature trails and bike trails lead through open grasslands and woodlands. Nearby is the Devil's Race Track whose steep pinnacle rock affords a panoramic view. One trail takes hikers on a gentle path to Buckeye Spring.

During spring and summer, listen and watch for vireos, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Wood Thrushes, Yellow-throated, Black-and-White, Kentucky, and Hooded Warblers, and Ovenbirds in this area. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and White-throated Sparrows are present here during the winter. Both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles nest in large deciduous trees near the lake. In the winter, several hundred Canada Geese make this lakeshore their feeding ground. Other regularly occurring waterbirds include Great Blue Herons, Mallards and Wood Ducks year-round, and wintering Pied-billed Grebes, Gadwall, Ring-necked Ducks, and Hooded Mergansers. Several other ducks are occasionally present. One or 2 Bald Eagles have been regular winter residents in recent years, and Red-shouldered Hawks are present year round in the low wet woods.

Although uncommon, one or two pairs of Swainson's Warblers can be found nesting in the park during the spring and summer months. The secretive Winter Wrens and Hermit Thrushes may be seen occasionally in the woods during the cool seasons.

Cove Lake is accessed via I-75, exit 134. From exit 134, travel east on US 25W for one mile and turn left into park entrance.

Best Months and Seasons for Viewing

Spring and summer are best for viewing warblers and vireos, while winter provides the greatest opportunity to view waterfowl and eagles.

Best Time for Viewing

Early mornings are best for viewing birds.

Nearby Places