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Frozen Head State Park and State Natural Area

Scott Somershoe

Frozen Head State Park and Natural Area encompasses more than 24,000 acres of wilderness area and is named for a 3,324-foot peak in the Cumberland Mountains, the top of which is often shrouded in ice or snow in the winter months. The impressive entrance leads visitors into a vestige of densely forested, unspoiled mountain splendor — once common throughout the Cumberland Plateau. In addition to offering spectacular scenery and wildflowers, Frozen Head supports high breeding populations of several Neotropical migrant birds, including the Cerulean Warbler, as well as breeding populations of a few high elevation species which are rare in Tennessee outside of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Frozen Head contains many stands of the mixed mesophytic forest type, and some of these stands have several old growth characteristics. The park has over 50 miles of marked trails including one small loop dedicated to interpreting the park's natural areas. Additionally, there are regularly scheduled activities offered by the rangers at the park.

The main park road runs parallel to Flat Fork Creek and past mowed fields and low elevation hardwood and mixed forests. Acadian Flycatcher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Parula and Yellow-throated Warbler, and Louisiana Waterthrush are common during spring and summer along the creek. Check the fields and field edges for Brown Thrasher, American Robin, and Eastern Bluebird. Eastern Wood Pewee, Red-eyed Vireo and Yellow-throated Vireo, Wood Thrush, Black-and-White Warbler, Ovenbird and Scarlet Tanager are common in the roadside forests.

Cerulean Warbler can occasionally be seen - or more often heard - from the main park road. They are much more numerous along many of the park's hiking trails. The park's breeding populations of Veery, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Canada Warbler, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak are only observable by hiking to higher elevations. Ruffed Grouse can often be seen from the parks many hiking trails. The uncommon Swainson's Warbler may also occur in the area.

From I-40, take exit 347 in Harriman and travel north on Hwy. 27 to Wartburg. Turn right (East) on Hwy. 62. Travel 2 miles and turn left on Flat Fork Road. Travel 4 miles to the park entrance.

Best Months and Seasons for Viewing

Breeding Neotropical migrant songbirds are present during spring and summer.

Best Time for Viewing

Early mornings provide the best time to view singing birds.