Seven Islands State Birding Park

Region: East
2809 Kelly Place Northwest
Kodak, TN 37764
(865) 407-8335
4 reviews

Details

About

425 acres
Paved Trail: 1.2 mile one-way
Natural Trails: 8 miles
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Connects: French Broad River

Seven Islands State Birding Park is a beautiful wildlife refuge, encompassing 416 acres along the French Broad River. This peninsula of land features more than 8 miles of natural trails, rolling hills, and views of the Smoky Mountains. The diverse natural landscape of aquatic and grassland habitats makes this park a premier birding destination with over 200 species of birds sighted. In addition to being a wildlife refuge popular for hiking and wildlife observation, the park is also a research and educational facility, as well as a demonstration area for land use and habitat management techniques. Songbirds, hawks and waterfowl can be seen along the meadow trails and several old barns are a favorite refuge for Barn Owls. For paddlers and anglers, there is a small canoe/kayak launch that provides access to the French Broad River.

Features: greenway, waterway access, hikers, walkers/runners, bicyclists, fishing, paddling, bird watching, wildflowers

GREENWAY
Paved Trail: 1.2 mile one-way
Starting at the parking area, just past the gate, the paved greenway is sandwiched between pastoral fields of wildflowers and native grasses. At the end of the paved route, you’ll be at the bend of the French Broad River as it heads downstream to merge with the Holston to form the Tennessee River. Mowed meadow trails crisscross the greenway.

TRAILS
Natural Trails: 8 miles
Difficulty: easy to moderate
The Park features more than 8 miles of natural trails, rolling hills and views of the Smoky Mountains. The landscape ranges from upland hardwoods to river-bottom fields sown in native warm-season grasses. Songbirds, hawks and waterfowl can be seen along the meadow trails and several old barns are a favorite refuge for Barn Owls. Along the route, the trails crisscross the 1.2-mile paved greenway that bisects the park as it winds from the parking area to the water’s edge.

FISHING
Bordering the park, the French Broad River holds over 50 species of fish including crappie, bluegill, sauger and several varieties of bass. A small boat launch is available.

PADDLING
The boat launch area provides good waterway access. Scenic views of rising hills and pastoral farmlands border this wide river, broken by occasional islands and shoals. During the summer months, River Sports Outfitters, rents canoes and kayaks at the boat launch area on the weekends.

BIRDING
Seven Islands is an excellent birding location year-round, and is great for novice birders. The park encompasses 416 acres along the French Broad River in Knox County, approximately 19 miles east of Knoxville. Over 200 species have been recorded and approximately 75 species nest in the park. Songbirds, hawks, and waterfowl can be seen along the meadow trails and several old barns are a favorite refuge for Barn Owls. Common residents include Wild Turkey, Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Screech-Owl, Pileated Woodpecker and Eastern Meadowlark. Bald Eagles can sometimes be seen soaring over at any time of year. While it is certainly worth a visit during spring and fall migrations, the breeding season and winter must not be overlooked. In winter, numerous sparrows can be found, especially Field, Savannah, Song, Swamp, White-throated and White-crowned.

The park is located along the migratory path of many bird species and during the breeding season birds can be found nesting at the refuge. Popular sightings include purple martins and tree swallows. Easily heard singing well into the summer are common yellowthroat, yellow-breasted chat, summer tanager, blue grosbeak and indigo bunting. In winter, hundreds of sparrows can be found, especially field, savannah, song, swamp, white-throated and white-crowned. Barn Owls have nested in some of the barns in years past. Mornings are usually the best time for birding but late afternoons, before dusk can also be rewarding. Over 200 species of birds have been observed.