Tennessee's Backroads Heritage
A Southern Middle Tennessee Journey
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By County and City


bedford lake

Coy Gaither/Bedford Lake
Shelbyville, 37160

Located about 10 miles southeast of Shelbyville on Hwy 269. This 47-acre lake offers a launching ramp, fishing piers, and picnic areas. Outboards are not permitted and a fishing permit is required.

canoe on duck river

Duck River
Shelbyville, 37160

The Duck River is the longest and one of the most beautiful rivers in Tennessee. It originates near downtown Manchester at the meeting place of the Barren Fork and the Little Duck in Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park. The Duck River runs for 268.5 miles, twisting and turning its way across seven counties before emptying into Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River. This river is a natural treasure, supplying water for many communities along the river.

This natural area provides fishing, boating, camping and Duck River access for canoes and small watercraft. The Duck River is stocked with trout and other game fish. Visit the Normandy Fish Hatchery in the area. Group tours available with advanced reservations.

Normandy lake

Normandy Dam & Reservoir
Normandy Dam Reservoir and Fish Hatchery

365 Huffman Rd
Normandy, 37360
800-624-7406, 615-781-6622
www.tva.gov/sites/ normandy.html

Normandy Reservoir attracts bass anglers, campers, and boaters from a wide area. Barton Springs Recreation Area on the south shore of the reservoir is particularly popular.

The Duck River watershed is one of the most biologically diverse river systems in the nation. Over 500 species of fish, insects, and other aquatic life inhabit the ecosystem, including two species of mussels — the Cumberland monkeyface and the birdwing pearly — on the endangered species list.

Normandy is the largest of the non-power dams on tributaries of the Tennessee River. It is operated for flood damage reduction, water supply, and recreational opportunities. Normandy also provides water for a fish hatchery immediately downstream.


Old Stone Fort Bridge

Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park
732 Stone Fort Dr
Manchester, 37355

On US Hwy 41, 1 ½ miles off I-24. The Old Stone Fort is an earth and stone enclosure, built as a sacred site by prehistoric Woodland Native Americans almost 2,000 years ago. The picturesque waterfalls of both forks of the Duck River also attracted 19th century industries, the ruins of which are still visible. Amenities include 51 RV campsites. Nearby is May Prairie, a prairie remnant containing dozens of rare plants.



May Prairie
Tullahoma, TN 37388

May Prairie is a Class II natural scientific state natural area on 346 acres in Coffee County. It adjoins the Hickory Flat Wood Wildlife Management Area (WMA) which combined provides more than 1,000 acres of public land. The most impressive feature at May Prairie is the open grassland community that protrudes into the surrounding oak forest where the oak barrens begin.

May Prairie is one of the State’s most floristically diverse natural areas with 25 of its more than 300 plant species that occur here considered rare in Tennessee. May Prairie was discovered during a botany foray in 1947 by Dr. A. J. Sharp and colleagues from the University of Tennessee while stopping for lunch at the Prairie Café. They were told that a prairie could be found behind the restaurant.

There are hundreds of acres of restorable oak barrens associated with the natural area and the WMA. May Prairie is also recognized by the Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark.

Red barn

Rutledge Falls
Tullahoma, 37388

Located halfway between Tullahoma and Manchester. Follow signs for Rutledge Falls Baptist Church. Ice-cold spring-fed waterfall. Rutledge Falls serves as a gorgeous site for weddings but advanced permission must be requested as the Falls are on private property.

Machine Falls

Short Springs State Natural Area
Hwy 55, Country Club Rd
Tullahoma, 37388
931-455-4186, 615-532-0431

Located three miles west on Country Club Dr off Hwy 55. A 420-acre preserve that features waterfalls and walking trails. The natural area provides an excellent contrast between Highland Rim and Central Basin geology and vegetation. When descending along the Machine Falls trail, a visitor can observe exposed black Chattanooga shale at mid-slope, which is a formation that delineates the Central Basin from the Highland Rim. Thickets of mountain laurel grow on the upper slopes under a dry oak hickory forest canopy that is characteristic of Highland Rim vegetation. Short Springs is one of the very best Spring wildflower locations in the state showcasing Virginia bluebells, jack-in-the-pulpit, larkspur,and Dutchman’s breeches. Call for information on the annual Wildflower Walk.



The Bear Trace Golf Course at Tims Ford
Tims Ford State Park

891 Wiseman Bend Rd
Winchester, 37398

This premier “Bear Trace” golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus features 18 holes and is one of the premium golf courses located in Southern Middle Tennessee.


Tims Ford State Park
570 Tims Ford Dr
Winchester, 37398

Located off State Hwy 50 on the 10,700-acre Tims Ford Reservoir, this 3,546-acre park sits in the shadows of the Cumberland Plateau in south central Tennessee. Although the park is oriented toward fishing and water recreation, the park offers 12.95 miles of bike trail, 5.25 of them paved, 17.70 hiking trail, cabins, camping, swimming and a boat dock. The park also offers a Jack Nicklaus signature “Bear Trace” golf course.

walls of jerico

Walls of Jericho Wilderness Area
Winchester, 37398
615-781-6622, 615-532-0431

This 21,453 acre wilderness area is located in the states of Tennessee and Alabama with the entry point being located on the Alabama side. The area features picturesque cascades. There are hiking trails and horse trails. Both lead into the gorge. A tent only camping area is available at the bottom.


Elk River
190 Smithland Rd
Kelso, 37348

The Elk River rises on the edge of the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee and flows southwest through steep wooded hills and farm land to the Tennessee River near Wheeler Dam in North Alabama. It has good current, yet is a pastoral stream suitable for family recreation. It is also a scenic stream and is easy to float (Class 1). The Elk River offers excellent trout fishing in the upper stretch and smallmouth bass fishing is popular in the deep pools.

Chapel Hill

shooting range

Henry Horton State Park
4358 Nashville Hwy,
Chapel Hill, 37034

Located on US Hwy 31A, the park is on the old estate of Henry H. Horton, the 36th governor of Tennessee. It is located on the Duck River, the longest remaining stretch of free-flowing river in the State of Tennessee which supports the most diverse mussel fauna in the world. The 1,524-acre park provides a 65-room inn with 4 suites, rustic cabins and a campground. The restaurant seats 250 along with meeting room space to accommodate convention and family groups and an 18-hole championship golf course.


walking trail

Rock Creek Park and Walking Trail
310 Old Farmington Rd
Lewisburg, 37091

Rock Creek Park and Walking Trail are the latest additions to Lewisburg’s downtown attractions. The park features a farmers’ market pavilion, an outdoor stage, a bricked area honoring local veterans and leaders, an iron bridge, and several miles of walking track along the historic Rock Creek. Benches are placed appropriately along the walking trail for scenic enjoyment. The park is the site of several annual music festivals and/or holiday celebrations.

Keep Tennessee Beautiful ad


Franklin State Forest
Hwy 156 off Hwy 41-A
Sewanee, 37375

Travel for 6 miles on Hwy 156 off Hwy 41-A – located outside of Sewanee. This forest has over 6,700 acres featuring great horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and camping. Franklin State Forest offers a spectacular view of the area.

bedford lake

South Cumberland State Park
11745 US Hwy 41
Monteagle, 37356

The South Cumberland is composed of over 30,889 acres in nine separate areas, five of which are natural areas. The Visitors Center on State Hwy 41 between Monteagle and Tracy City has interpretive exhibits and provides information on each component of the Savage Gulf complex. The Stone Door and Savage Gulf complex contain spectacular vistas, waterfalls, and many miles of hiking and backpacking trails and beautiful forests. The Fiery Gizzard Trail connects Grundy Forest and Foster Falls. Hikers may observe nature, swim in Fiery Gizzard Creek and enjoy one of the nation’s most outstanding trails. Carter State Natural Area is part of a unique 18,000-acre enclosed valley sinkhole aptly named Lost Cove. Sewanee Natural Bridge is a remarkable sandstone arch that overlooks Lost Cove. Grundy Lakes, a day-use area near Tracy City, provides swimming, picnicking, fishing, hiking and a view of 19th century “Coke Ovens.”

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