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Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Refuge or Sanctuary
Duck River Bottoms – Cari Griffith

The Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1945 as a result of the impoundment of the Tennessee River to create Kentucky Lake in order to provide for wildlife and waterfowl habitat along the shoreline.

How to Get There

The Headquarters and Visitor Center is open 8 am - 4 pm Monday through Saturday. They are closed on all Federal holidays.


From Hwy 79 North of Paris, take Oak Grove Road South and follow directional signs 7 miles to visitor center.

1371 Wildlife Drive
Springville, TN 38256

Recreational Opportunities

The 21,348-acre Big Sandy Unit occupies the large peninsula between the Big Sandy and Tennessee rivers and shoreline on the western side of Kentucky Lake. The area is managed for wildlife habitat through forest and wet-soil wetland management and agricultural production for wildlife enhancement. The area is popular among hunters, fishers, bird watchers and other wildlife enthusiasts. Developed areas include an information kiosk at the entrance to the peninsula section, the Bennetts Creek Overlook, the Chickasaw National Recreational Trail, and several boat ramps. Portions of the unit are closed November 16 to March 15 to protect overwintering waterfowl.

Also a part of the Big Sandy Unit is the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters and Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is located at 1371 Wildlife Drive in Springville, TN. This is a great place to visit and offers helpful information for touring the Britton Ford Peninsula. The popular Britton Ford Hiking Trail is less than a mile from the Visitor Center. Also nearby is the V.L. Childs Observation Deck, providing panoramic views of the refuge and Tennessee River.

The 7,000-acre Big Sandy Peninsula, situated between the Big Sandy and Tennessee Rivers, is an unique area providing habitat for wintering waterfowl, nesting songbirds, migratory shorebirds and many other wildlife species including bald eagles. Pace Point, on the peninsula's tip, is considered one of the top 10 birding locations in the state. While you're here, visit historic Mt. Zion Church, check out the view from Bennett's Creek Observation Deck and hike the 1.2 mile interpreted Chickasaw National Recreation Trail.

Located five miles south of New Johnsonville, Tennessee off Hwy 70S is where the Duck River meets the Tennessee River. These bottomlands are some of the most fertile lands in the nation, and today home to thousands of wintering waterfowl, hawks, bald eagles, shorebirds and egrets. The area has an extensive system of refuge roads to view wildlife, and there is an info kiosk at the entrance. Visit the Pintail Point Observation Deck for excellent photo opportunities. This area is open year-round with some roads closed November 15 through March 16.

The Duck River Bottoms Scenic Overlook, located 7 miles southeast of Camden along Hwy 191 (Birdsong Road) and North Eagle Creek Road, encompasses stunning viewsheds at the mile-wide confluence of the Tennessee and Duck Rivers. Take a short hike on the .25-mile trail to see the river delta, including the unbelievable underwater species diversity, as more riverine species exist in the Duck River than in all of the rivers of Europe combined.

The 3,272-acre Busseltown Unit of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge encom-passes about four miles of shoreline on the west side of the Tennessee River, and another three miles or so on either side of the Cub Creek embayment. The area is managed for wildlife and waterfowl habitat. About 700 acres of the unit is row cropland managed under a farm cooperative program. The farmer takes his or her share, and the refuge share is generally left for wildlife. The unit also contains areas of bottomland forest and wetland areas. This is an excellent location for bird-watching and wildlife viewing. An information kiosk is located at the unit entrance, and there is a boat ramp near on the river. The unit is closed from November 15 to March 15 for waterfowl habitat.


Seasons Accessible

The Headquarters/Visitor Center is open 8 am - 4 pm Monday through Saturday and closed on all Federal holidays.

The Britton Ford Hiking Trail and Busseltown Unit is open seasonally from March 16 to November 14.

The V.L. Childs Observation Deck is open year-round.

Nearby Places